Wednesday, February 24, 2010

*184. Miss Mindanao 1936: CLEOFE BALINGIT of Macabebe

TALL & TAN & YOUNG & LOVELY, THE GIRL FROM MACABEBE. Smalltown beauty Cleofe Jaime Balingit makes her Macabebe town proud with her 4th place finish at the 1936 Miss Philippines pageant of the annual Manila Carnival. 1936.

There is something about Macabebe girls that merits more than a fleeting look. Such is the case with smalltown beauty Cleofe Balingit, the accomplished daughter of a former Macabebe Scout Felix Balingit and Juliana Jaime. Long before the actual 1936 Miss Philippines Contest, this winsome colegiala, was already involved in civic work, lending credence to her “beauty with substance” reputation. She was a favorite welcome official of the town. On 10 September 1933, she was part of the entourage (led by Gov. Pablo Angeles) that welcomed Gov. General Frank Murphy ( 1890-1949) to the fiesta of Macabebe.

As the reigning Miss Macabebe, "Soping" again, was a frontliner at the 1935 town visit of U.S. Senator and Col. Rice William Means (1877-1949) of Denver, Colorado. The former Spanish-American War veteran and Commander in Chief of the Philippine Army (1913) had already left politics in favor of a publishing career (he was the publisher of the National Tribune and Stars & Stripes from 1927-1937) when he paid a much-publicized visit to Cleofe’s hometown. Like a true hostess, Cleofe showed him around town, treating her VIP guest to the unique brand of Kapampangan hospitality.

It came as no surprise then that she was chosen to carry Pampanga’s colors in the national beauty finals of 1936. The Manila Carnival that year, held from February 15 to March 1, was being touted as “the biggest annual event of the Orient”. Bolstered by her impressive credentials and strongly supported by the local newspaper “Ing Catimauan”, Cleofe duplicated Carmeling del Rosario’s feat the year before—winning the Miss Mindanao title in an all-mestiza finals.

At the Coronation Night, she was escorted by her fellow Kapampangan, Ricardo Paras. The winner was Mercedes Montilla of Negros Occidental followed by Amparo Karagdag (who later became an actress and a favorite dancing partner of Pres. Manuel L. Quezon) and Helen Bennett. Returning to Pampanga after her reign, she married Dr. Mariano Bayani of Apalit. She became even more active in socio-civic causes, most especially the Pampanga Chapter of the Girl Scouts and the local Red Cross, indefatigably raising funds and pursuing related advocacies. She died in 1981 of natural causes.


Ray Balingit said...
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Ray Balingit said...

Thank you for posting this article. Proud to be a Balingit of Macabebe and close relative to Auntie Cleofe J. Balingit.

Ray Balingit
Now living in California USA.