The Petit Fairs of Camiling
a premiere town of Tarlac lying next to Pangasinan, was
once a part of Paniqui. It was declared an independent town in 1838, with Don
Vicente Galsim serving as the first gobernadorcillo. The town, with a name
derived from the ‘kamiring’ tree that once grew abundantly there, is rich in
history and tradition. Camiling is the birthplace of prominent Filipino
personages such as U.N. Diplomat and General Carlos P. Romulo, U.P. President
Onofre Corpuz and of course, Dr. Jose Rizal’s young love, Leonor Rivera.
In the 1930s, amidst a time of
peace and plenty, Camiling held its own ‘petit carnivals’ in conjunction with
the town fiesta that was held annually from May 6, 7, and 8. The first recorded
provincial fair of Tarlac was held in 1927, same year as the town fair of
Concepcion. Camiling followed suit in 1930, with a mini-fair that adapted
certain successful elements of the grand national carnival in Manila.
pictures from that event show the lavishness of the petit fair, aping
successfully the costumed pageantry of the Manila Carnival. Reigning queen over
the festicities was Queen Pura I, a namesake of the very first Carnival royale
of Manila (Pura Villanueva).
1933, the chosen Queen was a pedigreed beauty named Remedios Romulo Kipping. If
her name sounds familiar, it is because the lovely Camiling Queen is a direct
descendant of Leonor Rivera-Kipping. Leonor was a second cousin of Dr. Jose
Rizal; they had met while he was but in her early teens. Unfortunately, their
love did not prosper owing to Rizal’s departure for abroad to escape arrest and
Leonor’s mother’s objection over her controversial suitor. Leonor was the
inspiration of the character “Maria Clara
” in Rizal’s “Noli
” and “Fili
Leonor, instead, married the British engineer Charles Henry Kipping, whom
she had met while staying in Dagupan. A lone child of their union, Carlos Jr.,
married Lourdes Romulo, sister of Carlos P. Romulo. They had four children
namely, Carlos III, Linda, Araceli and Remedios, the future Queen of the
Camiling Fair. Remedios was a student of Sta. Catalina de Manila, a school run
by Dominican sisters, when she was elected to reign as the monarch of the
fiesta. At her coronation, she was dressed as a Russian Empress.
The Camiling petit carnival that year had a grandiose mixed European-theme as
these pictures show, reflecting the rise of this premiere commercial town,
which, in prominence and affluence, ranked second only after the Tarlac capital.
Remedios later married Cesar Jimenez, with whom she had 6 children: Miguel,
Meddie, Anna, Rita, Jimmy and Josefina.