MISS CALTEX was one of the most successful corporate event mounted by Caltex, producing
winners who were all acclaimed for their beauty, personality and achievements. This 1963 batch
of finalists include the eventual winner, Elsa Payumo,
One of the most prestigious and successful corporate events of the ‘60s decade is the search for MISS CALTEX PHILIPPINES, the brand ambassador of one of the leading oil and gas companies of the Philippines. It was designed primarily to promote Caltex Philippines and make it more accessible and familiar with the general public, by giving the company a beautiful face, and an amiable, articulate voice.
Running for eight long years, the MISS CALTEX quest was looked at as among the prestigious beauty searches in the country, known for attracting ladies of good standing in society, student achievers, career professionals and daughters of de buena familia.
Eligible to join are single women over 21 years of age, 5’2” or more, Filipino citizens with at least 2 years of college education, and of upstanding character. They should also not be related to any Caltex dealer, and free to travel and participate in all Caltex-sponsored activities.
The premium image of the contest was also due to its array of fabulous prizes, which includes foreign and local trips aboard American President Lines, and via intrenail airlines like Air France, and Thai Airways. Semi-finalists were flown in free, courtesy of Philippine Airlines.
Cash prizes were much bigger than other pageants, for the winners also received savings accounts from Philippine Banking Corp. For example, the first MISS CALTEX winner romped off with a cash price of Php 5,000 in 1962, a tidy sum at that time. The finalists were given free wardrobe, a monthly allowance of Php 500, travel insurance, appliances and jewelry pieces.
|1965 MISS CALTEX SEARCH AD,|
The Coronation Night was televised from the ABS Studios along Dewy Boulevard, and later at Makati’s Rizal Theater was conducted with class, pageantry and with musical extravaganza. The winner was determined by public voting through the use of newspaper coupons—which pre-dated today’s audience text voting. The last two editions had a distinguished panel of judges which picked the winner. It was no wonder then that MISS CALTEX rivaled the mainstream pageants of their time, including the premiere Bb. Pilipinas Pageant that began in 1964.
The very first MISS CALTEX 1962 search yielded 5 finalists: Esther Zuluaga, Mila Amunategui, Tessie Lizaso, Shirley Cuyugan and Maggie dela Riva. First Lady Luz Magsaysay crowned the eventual winner-Mila Amunategui (now Abad, she would have a long career as a top Philippine Airlines executive).
Elsa Payumo was crowned MISS CALTEX 1963, singled out from co-finalists Lina Iñigo (now, Winebrenner, former Bayanihan dancer and PR girl), Vicky Trinidad, Amparito Llamas (now Lhuiller) and Henrietta Silos (now Mendez, former MTRCB chair). Payumo would work for many years in the travel industry; she is now involved with a religious/healing ministry.
MISS CALTEX 1964, was U.P. Foreign Service graduate Amelia “Ammy” Reyes, who won over Cecile Espiritu, Leticia Gonzales, Carmen Araneta and Hortencia Cacho.
|1965 MISS CALTEX, Susan Suarez, with finalists.|
MISS CALTEX 1965 was Susan Suarez, who polled close to 600 million points, a contest record. Other finalists included Elnora Conanan, Wilhelmina Dulla, Maria Victoria Pamintuan (now Celdran, mother of David and Carlos Celdran) and Gladys Baban. The finales were held at the posh Rizal Theater in Makati.
Cagayan de Oro’s Cecilia Borja (now Chiongbian, won the MISS CALTEX 1966 title, ahead of Lourdes Ledesma, Maria Cristina del Gallego, Rosky Balahadia (a Bayanihan dancer soloist) and Marilyn Recio (who would become a successful PR executive).
Barbara Cervantes of faraway Surigao del Norte emerged as MISS CALTEX 1967, outpointing Clavel Asas, Fenny Cantero (now Mrs. Kit Tatad), Mary Lou Kessel and Medalla Macariola.
MISS CALTEX 1968 was the statuesque Aurora Patricio, a U.S.T cum laude graduate, who competed alongside Rosario Cervantes, Elizabeth Dinglasan, Ma. Elena Domingo and Mary Ann Ojeda.
For the first time, a jury that included former Miss International Gemma Cruz MISS CALTEX 1969, won by Amy Gustilo (now Lopez, a Christian music composer). Other finalists were Mary Ellen Rutherford, Marilyn Tan, Maria Carmen Lopez and Corito Rivera. Gustilo donated all her cash prize and everything she earned from her one-year reign for the education of poor Ifugao children in Bontoc.
Zenaida Benedicto (now congresswoman, wife of Harry Angping, former Philippine Sports Commission chair) has the distinction of becoming the last MISS CALTEX 1970. Other finalists were Nina Lim, Yasmin Kiram (a Muslim princess) , Emilie Tiongson and Ma. Luisa Matti (mother of actress Amanda Page.
By then, the novelty of using pageants was wearing off. All sorts of beauty contests—including corporate titles--proliferated, which followed the beauty-cum-personality formula. The cost of mounting the annual promotional events was also staggering. Also, the victories of Gloria Diaz and Aurora Pijuan in international pageantry overshadowed that of MISS CALTEX. The contest was discontinued, but the image that MISS CALTEX left behind—that of being the most prestigious, most highly-regarded pageant based on the quality of contestants alone—remain as its best legacy.
AMY GUSTILO PHOTO (Miss Caltex 1969): https://ichoosehappynow.wordpress.com/tag/amy-gustilo-lopez/
Sunday Times Magazine, Nov. 14, 1969