Saturday, January 29, 2022

Cebu Carnival and Other Beauty Queens - Philippines


This is Part 2 of my blogs on Cebu Carnival and Other Queens (updated 2022)

Here is part 1:

These are additional photos and information related to Cebu Carnival and Other Old Time Beauty Queens. Thanks to Alex Castro who has blogs on Philippine Carnival Queens.

Note: Photos precede the writeups.


1909 Reina de la Belleza of the First Philippine Free Press National Contest, Corazon Rosales Chiong Veloso was born February 25, 1889, died July 14, 1968. She was the daughter of the very wealthy Chinese Cebuano Nicasio Chiong Veloso and Genoveva Visitacion Rosales. She married Antonio Torres and was the mother of Helen Cu Unjeng. (The picture of Corazon when she is older is courtesy of Pilar Balce. The others are courtesy of Alex Castro.)


1912 Queen of Visayas in the Manila Carnival, Amparo Benitez Noel from Carcar Cebu. She was second among the 13 children of Maria Benítez and Jose Maria Borromeo. On coronation night, her consort was Juan Orbeta. She married Dr. Jose Ma. Borromeo, and they had 7 children: Milagros, Rosario Josefina, Dolores, Ramon, Jose Jr., Manuel, and Luis.


1927 Miss Visayas in Manila's Carnival Queen: Lourdes Rodriquez. She was Miss Cebu. She was the daughter of Celestino and Ignacia Lasala Rodriguez. She came in third in the Carnival Queen event and was named Miss Visayas. She married Buenaventura Veloso and they had five sons.



1931 Bito-on sa Babaye Rita Villaflor Pañares was in the court of 1931 Cebu Carnival Queen Concepcion Cuenco. Rita was the daughter of BartolomePañares and Manuela Villaflor of Barili. She married a UP Professor, Atty. Alvarez. Rita was valedictorian at the Inmaculada Concepcion and was a champion debater at the UP. Her huge portrait remains in her family's ancestral home in Barili.



1934 Miss Mindanao in the Cebu Carnival Queen Event, Daisy Pardo Hontiveros, was in the court of Cebu Carnival Queen Maria Lagrimas Ong. Daisy married National Artist Lamberto V. Avellana. She became an actress, director and writer. Born in Roxas City, Capiz, she elevated legitimate theater and dramatic arts to a new level of excellence by staging and performing in breakthrough productions of classic Filipino and foreign plays and by encouraging the establishment of performing groups and the professionalization of Filipino theater. Together with her husband, National Artist Lamberto Avellana and other artists, she co-founded the Barangay Theatre Guild in 1939 which paved the way for the popularization of theatre and dramatic arts in the country, utilizing radio and television.



1935 Cebu Carnival Queen courts showing various princesses.

1937 Miss Visayas in the Cebu Carnival Queen, Valeriana Alducente 



1939 Miss Luzon in the Cebu Carnival Queen

1940 Miss Luzon in the Cebu Carnival Queen, Milagros Lebumfacil. She was in the court of Queen Cristina Aberasturi. Milgaros married the elder brother of Imelda Marcos. 

I will continue to update this page, so check back.

Read also Positively Filipino's article on Cebu Carnival Queens :

 Cecilia Manguerra Brainard Official Website:  

Tags: #Cebuqueens #Carnivalqueens #Cebucarnival #manilacarnival #Philippinecarnival

Cebu, Philippines. Cebu society, Cebu beauty queens  

Cebu Carnival Queens Philippines from 1914-1941 (Updated 2022)

Cebu's Carnival Queens 1914-1941
Updated 2022 by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard (

 I did research for a couple of articles about Cebu's Carnival Queens. It's published in Positively Filipino, click here. In a nutshell, Cebu celebrated the Carnival similar to that in Manila. While Manila's Carnival started in 1908, Cebu started in 1914.

The Carnival was an extravanganza that included circus; parades; exhibits; vaudevilles; military displays; comedies; comparsas; costume and masquerade balls, including the popular Children’s Fancy Dress Ball. But the highlight was the coronation of the Carnival Queen. Before the queen’s crowning however, there was a huge buildup, starting with the recruitment of the candidates, judging or counting of ballots, and so on. The Carnival Queen events were thematic (Arabic, Greek, Hindu, Egyptian, Chinese, etc.) allowing for exotic and extravagant costumes for all, including the queen’s court, which had a king consort, damas (maids of honor), and sometimes page boys and attending girls. Since there were nightly events, participants needed many outfits.

My articles will provide more information and I will provide the links later on, but here are the Cebu's Carnival Queens from 1914-1941. Thanks to Isidra Reyes and Alex Castro who has blogs about the Philippine Carnival. including Cebu Carnivals. If you have pictures of Cebu Carnival Queens, please let me know.

Cebu’s Carnival Queens from 1914-1941 

Note: their photos come before their writeup.



1914 - Enriqueta Lasso de Vega Aldanese: (photos above) Daughter of Carlos Owens Aldanese and Carmen Figueroa Lasso de Vega, Enriqueta was a Spanish-English mestiza from Sibonga, Cebu. In 1914, she was also named Dia del Espanol Queen. In 1918 she became queen for both the Manila and Zamboanga Carnival. Orphaned at a young age, she lived with her older brother, Vicente, in Zamboanga. She attended Inmaculada Concepcion in Cebu and an Italian Convent School in Hong Kong. She married Jose Paris, an electrical engineer who worked for the Luzon Stevedoring Company. They had three children. Her husband died of a heart attack during the War and Enriqueta took care of her children on her own. She lived to be in her 80s.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Author Cecilia Brainard Gives a Talk on UBEC: CEBU REIMAGINED, Cebuano Studies Center


Hi, I'm giving a zoom talk for the Cebuano Studies Center, as part of their Vicente Sotto Lecture Series.  I'm hoping you can forward this information to teachers, students, and those interested in Philippine literature. If you're in the media, I hope you can plug this lecture in your column.

It should be a lively talk about the background of my mythical setting Ubec, and I'll have a few slides about Cebu and some people who inspired my writing. 

Thank you. And I hope you are all safe.. 

From the Cebuano Studies Center:

After a brief hiatus, the Vicente Sotto Lecture Series will resume with a lecture by renowned writer Cecilia Brainard on February 19, 2022 from 10:00 -11:30 AM, Philippine time.

NOTE: Philippine time; Sat. Feb. 19, 2022, 10-11:30 a.m. is California time: Fri, Feb. 18, 2022, 6 -7:30 pm.

In her lecture titled "Ubec: Cebu Reimagined" Cecilia Manguerra Brainard talks about how she created her mythical setting of Ubec, which she uses in many of her short stories and her three novels: When the Rainbow Goddess Wept, Magdalena, and The Newspaper Widow. She explains how creating this mythical setting freed her up to reimagine Cebu and its inhabitants. She talks about some of the fictional characters that were inspired by people of Cebu.

Click this link to register: Zoom details will be sent to your email once registration closes. 

#Philippineliterature #Cebuanoliterature #Filipinoliterature #Filipinoauthor #Philippineauthor 

Monday, January 17, 2022

Remembering Dr. Herbert Zipper World War II Survivor


In around 1992 I met an elderly gentleman Dr. Herbert Zipper, who had been a Jewish composer-conductor in Germany in the 1930s when Hitler was chancellor. Zipper was picked up and sent to Dachau where he organized an orchestra that gave clandestine concerts from an abandoned latrine. He was released from Buchenwald and he went to Manila to marry the love of his life Trudl Dubsky. Zipper became the conductor of the Manila Symphony Orchestra.


When the Japanese invaded Manila, he was interrogated and held prisoner for five months. Upon his release, he worked for the underground. A few weeks after Manila's Liberation he held the famous orchestra on the ruins of Manila.
I met him in the 1990s because he was looking for a publisher for his wife's World War Two watercolor caricatures. A big publisher had accepted the work for publication in 1964-65 but backed out for what seemed to be political reasons. Crossroads School went on to publish Trudl Dubsky Zipper's book.
I've been watching World War Two documentaries and just realized what a privilege that was to meet Dr. Zipper.
Further, I felt proud that the Philippines had provided refuge to some 1,200 Jews just prior to the brunt of World War Two, the Zippers among them.

Read more

 World War Two Heroes in Cebu Philippines

Capt. Federico Arias Reyes 

Alfonso Escaño Corominas, Sr.

Dr. Colonel Emilio Veloso Osmeña 

Conrado Colina Tudtud

James M. Cushing

 Cecilia Manguerra Brainard Official Website:  

 tags: #Philippines #pacificwar #WWII #Worldwartwo #Philippinewar #Cebuwar


tags: #WorldWarTwo #WWII #Manilasymphonyorchestra #Manilaners , Jews in Philippines 

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

In Memoriam F. Sionil Jose Philippine National Artist for Literature


Author Cecilia Manguerra Brainard writes a tribute for Philippine National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose who passed away last January 7, 2022:

The article appeared in Yahoo News and Sunstar Cebu with more pictures:


 "After several years of not seeing Frankie Jose, I met him again in Cebu in 2013 at the opening of the musical production of his short story “Progress.” Hendri Go was the man behind the show about an unappreciated government clerk. Hendri had invited me to the musical.

The program went well, and afterwards, I went up to greet Frankie. I was feeling a bit guilty because I had not seen him nor Tessie for well over a decade, and indeed the first thing he said, was something like, “Where have you been?”

I had launched my first two books at Solidaridad, the iconic bookshop owned by Frankie and his wife Tessie. The first launch in 1988 (for Woman with Horns and Other Stories) had been arranged by Cebuana writer Lina Espina Moore, who had taken me under her wing. In 1991, I also launched the Philippine edition of my first novel, Song of Yvonne (aka When the Rainbow Goddess Wept) at Solidaridad; I recall that was the day Mt. Pinatubo had exploded, so the evening had a strange and memorable quality with fine dust falling outdoors and blanketing streets and cars. Despite the volcanic eruption, the top floor of Solidaridad where the launch was held was packed; events at Solidaridad were always somewhat bohemian, cultured, and exhilarating.

I was surprised that he and Tessie cared whether I visited them or not, given how busy they were. The two of them were like royalty amongst Manila’s literati and intelligentsia; and they had numerous events and people to see. Aside from that, they had Solidaridad to run; they published books; Frankie headed PEN Manila. By this time, Frankie had authored some thirty books, with his five-book Rosales Saga novels published and translated by big international publishers. He had a string of awards including the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism, Cultural Center of the Philippine Centennial Award, the Chevalier dans O’order des Arts et Letters, Pablo Neruda Centennial Award, and the National Artist for Literature...." 
Read on in the Yahoo link please. 

Tags: Philippine literature, Filipino literature, Filipino authors, Philippine authors, Filipino novelists, In memoriam, Tribute 

Monday, January 10, 2022

F. Sionil Jose's Article about Cebu and Cebuanos - Hail, Cebu


l-r:  F. Sionil Jose, Cecilia Brainard, Tessie Jose, photo taken 2013

I read this for the first time. I am deeply touched. I did not know that National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose had written about me in his Hindsight Column, September 7, 2014.

"The café is also a meeting place of the Cebu culturati and it was there where I met again old acquaintances like Resil Mojares and Cecilia Manguerra Brainard.
"Cecilia dropped by recently for a tête-à-tête. An excerpt of her next novel was published by Joel Pablo Salud in his Graphic magazine but she did not know about it so I gave her a copy. The novel — her third — is a fictionalized account of a real event: a murder that has haunted her. It is also a story of the violence and conspiracy that happens in the best of families. She is writing it, she said, like a mystery novel and it was at this point that we talked about the narrative — how so many writers, in their attempt to be original, have abandoned the narrative for flashy and fractured prose which soon numbs the reader who then stops reading. I shared with her this thinking: the narrative is what grabs the reader and compels him to read to the very end. How often have I dropped a book, lovingly reviewed by other writers, adorned with obtuse prose and technique but so wanting in tension, I got bored. Cecile belongs to that special tribe of Cebuanos, rooted in the land and writing about it..."

Please read the entire article about Cebu and Cebuanos here:

 tags: Philippine literature, Filipino literature, Filipino writers, Cebuano writers

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Rest in Peace, F. Sionil Jose Philippine National Artist in Literature


Photo taken August 2016 at Solidaridad, l-r: F. Tessie Jose, F. Sionil Jose, Cecilia Brainard

 From the Varsitarian, UP:  BREAKING: National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose has passed away.

Jose, 97, died in his sleep Thursday evening at the Makati Medical Center where he was supposed to undergo an angioplasty Friday, Jan. 7, according to his wife, Tessie Jovellanos Jose.

I just learned about Frankie Jose's passing and am still processing this. I feel really really sad. Instead of trying to put words into my sorrow now, I'm posting some joyful pictures with him. Rest in peace, Frankie! My sincerest condolences to his wife Tessie, their children, Cesar, and the other Solidaridad staff, and all those whom he mentored and supported who are now feeling deep grief. ~ Cecilia Brainard

July 6, 2019 book launch of When the Rainbow Goddess Wept at Solidaridad, with l-r: standing: Tillic Lorayes, Cynthia Posa, Virgilio Reyes Jr., Cecilia Brainard, Paulo Angelo Lopez Apolinar, Charlson Ong ; Seated l-r: Nelson Navarro F. Sionil Jose, Amado Ma. Guerrero.

Photo taken June 24, 2017, book launch for Brainard's novels Magdalena and The Newspaper Widow: seated l-r: Paul Matcott, Cecilia Brainard, National Artist F. Sionil Jose; stand l-r r: Brenda Matcott, Cynthia Posa Maribel Paraz, Lynley Ocampo.