The 1st post-war (1947) Miss Phl search
Did you know that the Filipinos’ fascination with beauty queens dates more than one century back? According to a report by Funfare’s “other beauty expert” Celso de Guzman Caparas, “From 1908 to 1939, Filipina national beauty queens were proclaimed and hailed as Carnival Queens in conjunction with a two-week Manila Carnival
Fair showcasing our country’s progress in agricultural, commercial and industrial under the American colonial rule. The pageantry was known for its pomp, elegance, splendor and extravaganza.” Here’s Celso’s throwback piece: Pura Garcia Villanueva was crowned as the first Carnival Queen in 1908. Her daughter Maria Kalaw also reigned in 1931. (Maria KalawKatigbak served as chairman of the Movie & Television Review and Classification Board.) Iluminada Mojica Tuason was the last to be crowned Carnival Queen in 1939.
Two years after the World War II, the first-ever Miss Philippines search was sponsored by Philippine Airlines in 1947, won by Evangeline de Castro of Baguio City. Two of the runnersup, Miss Luzon Pacita Francisco of Manila and Miss Mindanao Gloria Maigue of Cavite, became actresses. Miss Visayas was Matilde Salgado.
Pacita’s film career was launched in 1948 in UPA Productions’ Ang Vengador with Rogelio dela Rosa as leading man. It was shot in Hollywood with Sidney Salkow as director. Screen-named Olivia Cenizal, Gloria was introduced in Premiere Productions’
Palahamak, directed by Artemio Marquez, which topbilled Jose Padilla Jr., Leila Morena, Carol Varga and Lauro Delgado. Olivia later married composer/actor/director Josefino Cenizal.
In that 1947 pageant, there were 23 other finalists: Naty Almeda of Laguna; Esperanza Albano, Ilocos Norte; Luz Asensi, Mindoro; Angelina Arenas, Isabela; Jean Bellings, Manila; Teresita Buñag, Sorsogon; Lourdes Blanco, Manila; Pepita Eraña, Manila; Marichu Crisol, Albay; Marita Diaz, Manila; Belen Gonzales, Zamboanga; Rita Kanaan, Iloilo; Remedios Ledesma, Iloilo City; Celia Lupisan, Manila; Sylvia Lim, Manila; Mary Lou Ramos, Manila; Paching de la Rama, Cebu; Matilde Salgado, Capiz; Virginia Sanchez, Manila; Lina Taguinod, Cagayan; Luisa Teves, Negros Oriental; Lydia Villanueva, Negros Oriental; and May Warne, Rizal.
The coronation night was held on Aug. 18 at the Manila Hotel with Ruby Roxas (daughter of Pres. Manuel Roxas) doing the honors of crowning Evangeline.
Among Evangeline’s prizes was an allexpense paid trip to the USA that brought her to Oakland, San Francisco, Honolulu and Hollywood where she had a screen test and appeared on a radio program, Queen of
the Day, with an estimated six million listeners. Evangeline also attended the 1947 Miss America contest, won by Barbara Jo Walker, in Atlantic City. Her runners-up went on a pleasure trip in the Orient. All of them were flown, understandably, by PAL.
Guest of honor was 1947 Miss Guam Delfina Carbullido who arrived in the country on Aug. 12. Delfina and Evangeline left Manila on Aug. 20 for the USA.
The pageant’s board of judges was composed of Mrs. Claro M. Recto, Col. Manuel Nieto, Vicente Rufino, Fernando Amorsolo (who would be named National Artist for Painting in 1972) and Guillermo Tolentino (named National Artist for Architecture in 1973).
Evangeline de Castro, 1947 Miss Philippines, crowned by Ruby Roxas Matilde Salgado, 1947 Miss Visayas Pacita Francisco, 1947 Miss Luzon
Gloria Maigue, 1947 Miss Mindanao Evangeline with 1947 Miss America Barbara Jo Walker