When it was launched in 1926, it so captured the imagination of the public & generated so much excitement & publicity that it actually caused the demise of the Manila Carnival Queen era but that's getting ahead of the story.
|Miss Philippines 1953 during Phil Intl Expo|
It was originally meant to be an added attraction for the annual Manila Carnival with the sole purpose of increasing the number of visitors and generate more income for the organizers.
| Manila Carnival 1932|
Photo by Viktor Mussik
Many prominent Filipinos and Americans volunteered their services as members & chairs of the various organizing committees. The Manila Carnival reflected the gaiety and the halcyon times during pre- World War II.
| Manila Carnival 1932 |
Photo by Viktor Mussik
All provincial governors were then briefed on the guidelines & selection criteria so they could select the most qualified ladies to represent their respective provinces. The inaugural nationwide search for the first Miss Philippines was launched with much fanfare and was met with resounding approval by provincial authorities.
Overnight, municipalities and cities all over the country mounted their own preliminary searches that would culminate with the selection and crowning of a provincial bet for the national contest finals.
|Bohol's bet for Miss Philippines 1926|
Our very own province of Bohol was represented by Ascencion Gaviola of Jagna. During the contest duration, Ascencion and the rest of the provincial candidates were accommodated at the houses of selected families.
Unlike Manila Carnival Queen which relied on public balloting, the selection for Miss Philippines was done by a panel of judges.
The highly- anticipated Miss Philippines Pageant which generated a lot of excitement commenced with the parade of the beauty delegates who rode in flower-decorated cars. After passing through the major thoroughfares of Manila, the girls transferred to their own lighted “chariots”, each bearing the name of their respective provinces upon arrival at the Manila Grand Carnival Auditorium, Luneta Park. They were then wheeled around the auditorium to be viewed by the crowd and the judges who rendered their decision in a secret balloting.
| The First Miss Philippines |
Anita Agoncillo Noble
The race was so tight that President Manuel L. Quezon stepped in to offer some Solominic wisdom.
Apprised of the situation, the President invited the contestants the next day at the Manila Hotel.
He stipulated that they be dressed in simple baro’t saya and wear no make-up, and that another judge be added to break the deadlock.
The judging continued the next day—the girls were judged how they ate lunch!
| Miss Pearl of the Orient Seas|
Named as Miss Luzon was Miss Manila Rosario Genato, Miss Visayas was Miss Samar Aurora Reyes & Miss Lanao Bala Amai Miring was named Miss Mindanao.
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THE END OF AN ERA The end of of the Manila Carnival in 1939 marked the end of an era in Philippine history even as the dark clouds of a world war hovered all over the country.
The 36 following ladies who participated in the inaugural search for Miss Philippines were Miss Agusan: Leonila Reyes. Miss Albay: Miss Baguio: Cristina Victoria, Miss Bataan: Rosa Reyes, Miss Batangas: Anita Noble, Miss Bohol: Ascension Gaviola, Miss Bukidnon: Isabel Melendez, Miss Bulacan: Leonor Tantoco Reyes, Miss Camarines Sur: Andrea Baduria, Miss Capiz: Rosario Picazo, Miss Cebu:, Miss Davao: Lucille Maxey
Miss Ilocos Norte:, Miss Ilocos Sur: Rosario Cadiz, Miss Iloilo: Aida Kilayko, Miss Isabela: Ernestina Pardel Nieto, Miss Laguna: Loreto Relova, Miss Lanao: Bala Amai Miring, Miss La Union: Manuela Ortega, Miss Leyte: Aurora Reyes, Miss Manila: Rosario Genato, Miss Marinduque: Rosario Cayetano, Miss Masbate: Elia Sanchez, Miss Misamis: Amparo Nery
Miss Negros Occidental: Margarita Lacson, Miss Nueva Ecija: Miss Nueva Vizcaya: Martha Maddela, Miss Palawan: Carmen Fernandez, Miss Pampanga: Rosario Hernandez Panganiban, Miss Pangasinan: Corazon Sison, Miss Rizal: Remedios Santos, Miss Romblon:, Miss Sulu: Scott Rasul, Miss Surigao: Sol Soriano, Miss Tarlac: Isolina Palma, Miss Tayabas: Nita San Agustin And Miss Zamboanga: Carmen Fargas.
Just like politics, beauty pageants in the past were not as democratized as today and only the well-born and the daughters of the elite competed or were chosen to be contestants.
Today, social background & logistical support take a backseat to the girls' readiness & preparation and that means a rigid training regimen that can rival those of athletes. Of course, beauty camp affiliations do matter also.
Ninety years have passed since the first Miss Philippines Pageant was launched . More than an affirmation of the nation's fixation and fascination with beauty queens, these pageants are actually a celebration of beauty and how we love and adore our women.
Special Thanks to blogger alex r. castro