Tuesday, February 12, 2013

*323. BEAUTIFUL BABIES OF 1929


YOU'VE GOT THE CUTEST LITTLE BABY FACE. Carlos "Bolet" Salvador Gomez Jr., firstborn child of Carlos Ramiro Gomez Sr., and Paz Dionisia Dizon. He is descended from the Masnou-Gomez family that expanded to include other well-known clans like the Nepomucenos, Mercados, Abad Santos and Dycaicos. 

Nestlé dairy products were known to Filipinos as early as 1895, imported by Sprungli and Co. Bear Brand Milk (“Marca Oso”) was the first milk brand to be enjoyed by Filipinos, made popular due to brilliant marketing. For example, the brand had its own float during the first ever Manila Carnival of 1908, one of the first examples of clever promotional gimmicks in the Philippines.

It was only in 1911 that Nestlé and Anglo Swiss Condensed Milk Co. was established formally in the country. This paved the way for the introduction of more milk products—and more unusual marketing initiatives.

Milkmaid Sweetened Condensed Milk was one such milk brand from Nestlé that made full use of promotional premiums and print advertising. To drive sales, it gave away collectible tableware marked with their familiar icon—a Swiss milkmaid. Another popular gimmick that engaged its audience was its search for the country’s most “Beautiful Babies”, a print campaign launched in the late 1920s. Readers were encouraged to send pictures of cute babies and the chosen “beautiful babies” appeared on the pages of The Philippine Free Press, the leading newspaper of the day.


One lucky winner in 1929 was a bouncing Kapampangan baby boy, Carlos Salvador Gomez Jr., of Mabalacat, Pampanga. Born on 7 February 1929, Carlos or “Bolet” is the firstborn of Carlos Ramiro Gomez Sr. and Ma. Paz Dionisia Dizon. The senior Carlos is the son of Salvador Ma. Leon Pedro Gomez, a prosperous sugar planter, and Amalia Teresa Gomez---first cousins— both descended from the Spanish Masnous of Valladolid. In fact, Amalia is the granddaughter of Fray Guillermo Masnou OSA, a former priest of Angeles, who fathered a child with Sto.Tomas-born Patricia Mercado. Their son, Esteban Gomez, is Amalia’s father.

In the 9 November 1929 print ad, the healthy-looking Carlos Jr., is featured alongside other winners, Roque Abentino (San Juan, Rizal), Lourdes Domecillo (Cebu, Cebu) and Marciano Romero Jr. (Nueva Ecija).

Carlos Jr.’s siblings included Romeo Ismael, Ben Hur Angel, Carmelo Pompeyo Melchor, Mar. Julieta Arlette and Pedro Edgardo Tadeo. When Carlos Jr. came of age, he married Zenaida Novak Feliciano of Magalang on 14 March 1950. They had 10 children: Butch, Stella, Marc, Gina, Nella, Gabby, Lisa, Carla, Noel and Paola. Carlos Jr. died of brain aneurysm at age 68 on 31 October 1997.

The imposing gated white house (renamed "Tubigan")  where the Gomezes currently reside still stands, beautifully preserved along the national highway in Barangay San Francisco. It was bought by the late Kokoy Romualdez, brother of former First Lady Imelda Marcos, who married into the Gomez family. Once sequestered by the government, it has since been returned to the Gomezes. It is a reminder of a time now gone, when the world was younger, more innocent, just like the little Mabalacat boy Bolet, once adjudged as one of the country’s most beautiful babies for 1929.

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