Sunday, December 16, 2012


SARMIENTO-PANLILIO NUPTIALS. The celebrated wedding of noted town beauty Luz Sarmiento and businessman Jose Panlilio took place at the grand San Guillermo Church in April 1934. They built their home in Bacolor and became active participants in various socio-civic activities of the town.

The Commonwealth years were a period of plenty for Bacolor and many of its residents, already known for their artistry and gentility, enjoyed new-found affluence reaped mostly from their rich agricultural lands. The Panlilios were among the most prominent, led by the patriarch Don Domingo Panlilio who took special pride in his children: Jose (Pepe), Francisco (Quitong) and Encarnacion (Carning). Unfortunately, they would be orphaned early.

On the other hand, were the more modest Sarmientos-- Cipriano and Ines (nee Lugue of Apalit)—who would be blessed with girls noted for their beauty, but most especially their elder daughter named Luz (born 23 July 1934). Lucing’s grade school years were spent at the local St. Mary’s Academy, after which she attended Assumption Academy in neighboring San Fernando for her higher education.

While a student of that school, Luz was elected Miss Bacolor 1933 and was a runner-up at the Miss Pampanga 1933 search. In 1934, the premiere magazine, The Philippine Free Press, conducted its own Miss Free Press search , and Luz was named Miss Pampanga, based on pictures sent to the publication. That same year, however, she again decided to try her luck at the Manila Carnival of 1934, with the full support of her newspaper-sponsor, La Opinion.

 With such credentials, it was no wonder then that young men came in droves to woo her. But in the end, she chose a kabalen—the tall and very eligible Jose “Peping” Panlilio, no less. Lucing and Peping were married at the San Guillermo Church on April 1934. Sister Angelina stood as the maid of honor, while Encarnacion and Araceli Sarmiento stood as bridesmaids. Best Man was Peping’s brother, Francisco, attended by ushers Aquilino Reyes and Mariano Liongson, The principal sponsors included Mrs. Sotero Baluyut (the governor’s wife) and Dr. Clemente Puno, who was the sanitary division president of Guagua, Bacolor and Sta. Rita at that time.

The couple made their home in Bacolor, taking residence in the magnificent Panlilio-Santos mansion, which featured painted portraits of the family’s ancestors (Jose Leon Santos and 2nd wife Ramona Joven) by the 19th century master Simon Flores.They had one child, Jesus Nazareno, was born on 9 January 1935.

The couple’s prominence grew as their businesses expanded that came to include landholdings and various commercial estates. Peping passed away in 1961, but Lucing carried on. She became a well-respected community leader known for her business savvy that enabled her to sustain and grow the family enterprise through War and illness.

 As an ardent devotee of the La Naval Virgin of Bacolor, it was Lucing who propagated further this Marian devotion, improving the image with gifts of vestments, jewelry and carroza. To this day, "La Naval de Bacolor" is an annual religious spectacle that Marian devotees eagerly await. The grand dame of Bacolor passed away in August 1998.

 Today, at the Museo De La Salle in DasmariƱas, Cavite, several rooms in the re-created Santos-Joven Panlilio House, which was saved from the lahar inundation by her grandson Jose Ma. Ricardo, are dedicated to their memory.

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