6 comments on “Flashback Friday: “Ang Unang Reyna”

  1. As we bask on the tag “Beauty Pageant Powerhouse” let us remember that the illustrious template the first Filipina beauty queen etched in Philippine history was simply in keeping with the traditional role of women in society. Suppressed by the Spanish colonial masters, still, the vestiges of the prominent role of women in the pre-historic Philippines kept on emerging epoch by epoch and Pura Villanueva showed the country and the world in 1908 how to use the pageantry platform to showcase the inherent holistic beauty of the Filipina.

    History books tell us that pre-colonial social structures of the Philippines accorded women a high status. This bilateral kinship system gave women enormous power within a clan. They were entitled to property rights, engage in a trade and could exercise their right to divorce her husband. In the absence of a male heir, they could also become village chiefs. Before the arrival of the Spanish invaders, Filipino women could also achieve status as high priestesses, astrologers or herbalists.

    I hope this documentary gives Philippine pageantry the historical and cultural dimension to the annual search for that confidently beautiful social and environmental advocates to take on the prestigious title of “Miss Philippines”.

  2. but the winner of the first nationwide search for Miss Philippines was Anita Noble who represented Batangas and bested almost 40 girls from all over the country

  3. Come to think of it prior to the arrival of European…. pre-colonial Filipinos already had their own diverse versions of pageants…. in some cases, suitors battle against the warior princess on stage… some do belly dances to seduce potential suitors… but my favorite is the Singkil which is not just a dance we know today but it is actually a huge performance done during special events when leaders of Ancient empires gather at our islands to forge strong political alliances and unite empires… What better way, by Marrying the most eligible members of royalty and nobility… And how do they meet? Through a festive occasion where princesses perform a complex dance interpretation of our local version of the Ramayana… I believe the multi-lingual Princesses takes turns to perform each segment of the Hindu epic… Each one gives their most artistic way to show grace under pressure…. like doing the fan dance and/or belly dancing in their beautiful gowns/costumes in coordination w/ at least 4 rythmicaly slamming bamboo poles below their feet while doing their best to charm the audience with their wit, poise, grace… and while doing all their other artistic chops like singing, poetry, etc… I don’t know what else they do to excel in this ancient form of pageantry but the little history we know already proves that our ancestors would have slayed in any of todays international pageants.

  4. Like Closer2Fame said before, the concept of pageantry – of putting a community’s beautiful individuals on display in some sort of show – had its roots in the quest for upward social mobility (for example, the “binukot” that was the poor man’s loveliest daughter literally “set aside” to be offered to a wealthy family, somewhat like H’Hen Nie). The idea to make it “more relevant or meaningful” perhaps only came later when the pageant became a charity fund raiser. And thus the birth of ADVOCACY.

  5. Excellent documentary! This just proves that the Philippines is the veritable trailblazer in world pageantry— way before the Miss World and Miss Universe came into being, way before the notion of beauty pageantry as a platform for noble social advocacies was conceived. Pura Villanueva showed the Philippines and the world the template of what a real beauty queen should be— brains and brawns, not just physique. Coming from the province, she conquered Manila and she spearheaded many causes for women empowerment on the national level.

    Now the world will understand why the Philippines is “pageant crazy”. Beauty pageantry is deep-rooted in its culture since Spanish colonial era. Revolutions come and go but beauty pageants flourished—from local town fiestas to provincial fairs to national carnivals. If there is one thing the world can learn from Philippine pageantry, as pioneered by Pura Villanueva, it is the fact that pageantry is an effective platform for noble advocacies

  6. Finally…

    I have long dreamed that media would do a feature of the first ever Filipina beauty queen. Kudos to Howie Severeno’s team for coming up with this documentary–however short it is–and tells us how being a beauty queen empowers and makes relevance to this time.

    Ms. Pura Villanueva had advanced her causes through Miss Manila Carnival platform, and she continued to empower women by pushing our right to vote. I think this is the most valuable advocacy a beauty queen has ever worked on, as we women exercise it today.

    Ms. Villanueva had long visioned and done it into fruition the thing we women are still fighting for — equality. And, yes, Howie has substantially connected Ms. Pura Villanueva’s love for our country with our very own Catriona.

    That’s all.

Comments are closed.