Tuesday, February 18, 2014

*363. PAMPANGUEÑAS AT LA CONCORDIA

CAPAMPANGAN CONCORDIANS. Kapampangan internas of La Concordia College, most from well-known families of the province, are shown in this 1928 photo at the school grounds.

 In the 20s and 30s, class pictures were taken and classified not just by grade levels or sections, but also by the provinces from where the students came from. This custom of regional classification arose at the same time as school clubs were being formed based on one’s provenance. In the early days of the U.P. , there were officially-recognized clubs such as the Pampanga High School Club, which counted as its exclusive members, only PHS alumni.

 I have seen many group pictures bearing captions as “Seminaristas de la Pampanga”, “Pampango-Speaking Students at Philippine Normal School”, and most recently, this snapshot of a bevy of young Kapampangan ladies, identified as “Pampangueñas at Concordia”. This picture, which dates from 1928, not only identified the La Concordia students by number, but also the towns from which they originated.

 Colegio de la Inmaculada Concepcion de la Concordia was a school founded by Dña. Margarita Roxas de Ayala in 1868, built on her estate located on Pedro Gil in Paco. She donated this land for the erection of a girl’s school which was run by the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. The school, with its initial staff of “imported”teachers, attracted students like Rizal’s sisters—Olimpia, Saturnina and Soledad, and other children of prominent families, from nearby provinces, Pampanga included.

 This photo shows young Kapampangan “internas” (student boarders) whose surnames reveal their privileged background. Detached from the comforts of their homes and familiarity of families, these girls were sent to Manila, with their board and lodging paid for monthly by their parents, with the goal of giving them proper education, befitting young women of their generation.

 So, whatever happened to these La Concordia Girls of 1928. I tried my best to find out what happened after their school years in one of Manila’s elite girls’ schools, guided by the names written on the back of the photo.

Fil-Am Barbara Setzer (1) and her younger sister Estela (15) were both from Angeles. Their parents were George Seltzer, and American, and Maria Dolores Lumanlan, who were married sometime in 1912. All 6 children (including Mercedes, Frank, John and Clara) were born in Angeles. Barbara was their second eldest, born on 4 December 1912. She died in San Francisco, California. Benita Estela Seltzer or Estela (born 21 March 1918) was just 10 years old when this picture was taken; she too, moved to the U.S. when she came of age.

 Catalina Madrid (2) is listed as having Macabebe as her hometown while Girl #3 is unidentified. Another Macabebe lass is Gregoria Alfonso (10); Alfonso descendants continue to reside in the town to this day.

 Araceli Berenguer (4) comes from the prominent Berenguer family of Arayat; she has three other kabalens in this photo, Maria Tinio (16), Flora Kabigting (6) with a familiar surname now associated with the halo-halo that made the town famous, and Rosario Dizon (13), who grew up to be a national Philippine Free Press Beauty of 1929.

 Little is known of Salud Canivel (5) who is from Candaba as well as Girl No. 14, identified only as Natividad R. Margarita Coronel (7) comes from the well-known Coronel family of Betis, Guagua. After La Concordia, she went to the University of Santo Tomas, where she excelled in Botany. A rare angiosperm she collected in Betis in 1934 is included today at the UST Herbarium. 

Loreto Feliciano (8) and her younger sister, Luz (17) are natives of Bamban, Tarlac. Loreto is better known as the wife of the late Robert ”Uncle Bob” Stewart, the pioneer TV broadcaster who founded DZBB Channel 7, and host of the long-running TV show, “Uncle Bob Lucky 7 Club ”. 

The Nepomucenos of Angeles are represented by cousins Pilar (9) and Imelda (12). Feliza Adoracion Imelda Nepomuceno (b. 29 Nov. 1912) was the daughter of Jose Fermin Nepomuceno with Paula Villanueva. She married Dr. Jose Guzman Galura later in life. 

Her first cousin Pilar, (Maria Agustina Pilar Nepomuceno, b. 13 October 1911) was the daughter of Geronimo Mariano (Jose Fermin’s older brother) and Gertrudes Ayson. As Miss Angeles 1933, Pilar represented the town in the search for Miss Pampanga at the 1933 Pampanga Carnival and Exposition. She later married Dr. Conrado T. Manankil and a daughter, Marietta, also became Miss Angeles 1955.

 What we know of their later lives as adult women suggests that they did fairly well, making good accounts of themselves as mostly successful mothers and homemakers. But in 1928, they were just a bunch of young Kapampangan La Concordia interns, bound together by a common tongue and culture—sweet and giggly as all other typical girls of their age---with the prospects of the future still far, far away.

9 comments:

JM Lee said...

Wow! I am so surprised by this post. My mother, Filomena Armengol, of French-Spanish descent, was also an INTERNA in La Concordia. One of her closest friend there was girl number 4 - Araceli Berenguer. I used to look at my Mom's photo album of olden days, and these girls are all in there! Though my mother's French-Spanish father settled in the Bicol Region, she was sent to the La Concordia, and this was how she became friends with these girls. As well, other girls from different schools would also meet with the La Corcordians during picnics and other social activities. Hence, my mother became very close as well to Elsa Oria and Azucena Vera Perez. They met on December 8, 1930, during La Concordia's Immaculate Concepcion Day celebration. Elsa was an intern at Colegio de Santa Rosa while Azucena was an intern at Santa Scholastica. They became friends for life. Incidentally, Bob Stewart's wife LORETO FELICIANO, was also from La Concordia because she was also very close to my Mom. My mother told me that Elsa Oria, later on, became one of the most popular actresses and singers in the Philippine movie industry. When Elsa passed away in California in the 1990s, I drove my Mom there to attend the wake. In 2004, my mother had passed on here in Canada.

alex r. castro said...

Small world, indeed!! Yes, Elsa Oria became a successful, box-office actress known as "the Singing Sweetheart of the Philippines".

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