A misty-eyed look at Miss Caltex beauties

FUNFARE - Ricky Lo () - June 8, 2011 - 12:00am

One beauty (and brains) contest sorely missed by beauty-watchers is the Miss Caltex (Philippines), launched in 1961 and scrapped in 1969 much to the sadness of its followers. Caltex usually picked five finalists from whom the winner is chosen after they went around the country promoting, yes of course, Caltex. The five finalists, as Funfare’s “other beauty expert” Celso de Guzman Caparas puts it, “combined the modesty and femininity of the traditional Maria Clara with the poise, knowledgeability and sophistication of the modern Filipina.” And, if I may add, they are brainy, too.

Miss Caltex 1963 (from left): Amparito Llamas, Vicky Trinidad, Elsa Payumo (winner), Lina Iñigo and Etta Silos

“Don’t you wish Caltex revives the annual search?” asked Celso. Yes, why not?

Here’s a fond lookback at the Miss Caltez Honor Roll, courtesy of Celso:

• Mila Amunategui, Miss Caltex of 1962, amassed a total of 863,010 votes. Finalists were Tessie Lizaso (706,960 votes), Shirley Cuyugan (428,020 votes), Magdalena “Maggie” de la Riva (313,540 votes) and Esther Zuluaga (113,880 votes). First Lady Luz Magsaysay crowned the winner on Jan. 26, 1962, at the ABS studios on Dewey Boulevard. Mila’s prizes included a free round-the-world trip courtesy of Air France and a P5,000 contract with Caltex. Maggie became a multi-disciplined actress/artist. She starred in Ang Langit Ay Para Sa Lahat (1967) opposite with Vic Vargas. Maggie’s harrowing experience was turned into a movie The Maggie de la Riva Story, God…Why Me? (1994) starring Dawn Zulueta, directed by Carlo J. Caparas who co-produced it with wife Donna Villa under their own Golden Lions Films.

Miss Caltex 1965 (from left): Maria Victoria Pamintuan, Elnora Conanan, Susan Suarez (winner), Wilhelmina Dulla and Gladys Baban

• Elsa Payumo, Miss Caltex of 1963, was crowned on Dec. 16, 1962, in an hour-long musical extravaganza covered by television and nationwide radio hook-up at the ABS Studios. The 5’4”, 22-year-old UP Voice Culture student from Dinalupihan, Bataan, got 121,464,020 votes besting other finalists: Lina Iñigo (53,717,700 votes), Vicky Trinidad (48,386,780 votes), Amparito Llamas (44,386,780 votes) and Henrietta “Etta” Silos (35,843,480 votes). Elsa received a 1963 Hillman car, P2,000 cash award, a P6,000 contract with Caltex and a complete wardrobe designed by Manila’s leading couturiers. Amparito, then fashion model and Philippine Bank of Commerce teller, became the wife of French business magnate Michel Lhuillier and mother of Monique Lhuillier. Lina was also 1960-61 Miss Intercollegiate Girl of the Philippines and the mother of Cheska Iñigo (Bagets 2). Etta (now Mendez) was once an MTRCB chief.

• Amelia Reyes, Miss Caltex of 1964, garnered 99,569,000 over the other finalists: Cecile Espiritu, Leticia Gonzales, Carmen Araneta and Hortencia Cacho. The 23-year-old UP Foreign Service graduate was crowned on Dec. 17, 1963. She received a 1964 air-conditioned Rambler (the first in the Philippines that time), an Air Master air-con, a Revere tape recorder from Vasquez Brothers, a Stant-O-Matic Singer sewing machine, a bedroom set from Baltao Company, an Envoy Sterling stereo set from Celestial Electronics Corporation, an Elitone transistor radio from Elizalde Trading Corporation, an Underwood portable typewriter, a complete wardrobe from Philippine Couture Association and a Far East tour. (Cecile was also one of Philippines’ Fairest Ten of 1964.)

Miss Caltex 1964 (from left): Leticia Gonzales, Hortencia Cacho, Amelia Reyes (winner), Elsa Payumo (winner), Carmen Araneta and Cecile Espiritu

• Susan Suarez, Miss Caltex of 1965, polled 575,147,700 votes, a record high in the history of the contest. Finalists were Elnora Conanan, Wilhelmina Dulla, Maria Victoria Pamintuan and Gladys Baban. The proclamation and coronation night was held on Dec. 4, 1964, at the Rizal Theater in Makati. It was highlighted with a musical extravaganza titled Saranga. Susan received a 1965 Chevy II four-door sedan, P2,000 cash prize, P9,000 worth of contract with Caltex, Zenith television set, Air Master air-con, a complete wardrobe from the Fashion Guild of the Philippines and a tour of Southeast Asia with the other four finalists via Thai International Airways and American President Lines.

• Cecilia Borja, Miss Caltex of 1966 from Cagayan de Oro, then 21, was crowned on Dec. 14, 1965, at the Rizal Theater in Makati, aired over Channel 9. Her proclamation followed a musical extravaganza called Wild! Wild! topbilled by Gloria Selga and Bobby Gonzales. The four finalists were: Lourdes Ledesma, Maria Cristina del Gallego, Rosky Balahadia and Marilyn Recio. Cecilia’s prizes include a Fiat car, P2,000 cash, a one-year contract with Caltex and a month-long trip along with the finalists to Thailand, Hong Kong, Formosa (now Taiwan) and Japan.

Miss Caltex 1966 (from left): Marilyn Recio, Rosky Balahadia, Cecilia Borja (winner), Maria Cristina del Gallego and Lourdes Ledesma

• Barbara Cervantes, Miss Caltex of 1967, beat other finalists Clavel Asas, Fenny Cantero (now Mrs. Kit Tatad), Mary Lou Kessel and Medalla Macariola. The 21-year-old Business graduate from Surigao del Norte was crowned on Dec. 15, 1966, at the ABS-CBN Studios. Guest performers were Pilita Corrales, The Bayanihan, and Amelia Apolinario & the Allegro Dancers. Among her prizes were P2,000 cash, a gold watch, a typewriter, an air-con and a transistor radio.

• Aurora Patricio, Miss Caltex of 1968, was crowned on Dec. 14, 1967, at the Rizal Theater, televised over Channel 9. Other finalists were Rosario Cervantes, Elizabeth Dinglasan, Ma. Elena Domingo and Mary Ann Ojeda. Among Aurora’s prizes were P2,000 cash, a brand-new car and a round-trip ticket (with chaperone) to the USA. Then 21, the towering (5’8”) Aurora was a B.S. Sociology cum laude graduate from UST. She was a fashion model before she won the crown.

Miss Caltex 1967 (from left): Medalla Macariola, Mary Lou Kessel, Barbara Cervantes (winner), Fenny Cantero and Clavel Asas

• Amy Gustilo, Miss Caltex of 1969, was crowned on Dec. 13, 1968. Other finalists were Mary Ellen Rutherford, Marilyn Tan, Maria Carmen Lopez and Corito Rivera who were chosen by a panel of judges that included Gemma Cruz, Miss International 1964. Amy’s prizes included P2,000 cash, Ford Cortina GT car, Kolski piano, gold Tissot watch, P500 savings account by Filipinas Bank & Trust Co., Sharp portable radio and Tupperware products.

• Zenaida Benedicto, Miss Caltex of 1970, was crowned on Dec. 19, 1969, at the ABS-CBN Studios in Quezon City. Other finalists were Nina Lim, Yasmin Kiram, Emilie Tiongson and Ma. Luisa Matti. Yasmin was a Bb. Pilipinas 1968 semi-finalist. Ma. Luisa joined the Bb. Pilipinas 1970 pageant; she’s the mother of actress Amanda Page.

(E-mail reactions at rickylo@philstar.net.ph or at entphilstar@yahoo.com. You may also send your questions to askrickylo@gmail.com. For more updates, photos and videos visit www.philstar.com/funfare.)

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