Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Filipina image in advertisements 100 years ago (1912)

We found five advertisements in the almanac for 1912 using images of the Filipino woman. 

La Campana had the Filipina in the traditional formal dress, a terno, scattering sweets and biscuits from her bag.  This was a confectionery and pastry maker; it made all kinds of sweets, biscuits and syrups.  They also ran a restaurant (a gran salon or big hall) on Rizal Avenue in Sta Cruz, Manila that offered lunch and refreshments. 

This Filipina was inviting the menfolk to go to La Asamblea at 141 Rosario St in Manila for their headgear (straw, felt and wool hats, etc.; buntal hats, hats from Baliwag, Bulacan and Calasiao, Pangasinan).  This shop of Canuto Fernandez also offered a variety of footwear, various kinds of perfume, fans, pipes made of amber; the ad didn't say whether these were for both men and women. If customers wanted better fit for hats bought there, adjustments were offered free.

The Filipino woman in the upper class of Philippine society rode horses in style too and dressed like her European counterparts.  This ad wanted horse riders, both the señoras y caballeros, to buy their riding boots at El Brillante, located at 110 Carriedo St in Manila.  Calzado medida could have meant "the boot that fits".  

The Cojuangco and Legarda ladies of recent times rode imported horses using modern riding garb when they went racing in national and international games. This picture reminds though of the rich leading ladies of classic Pinoy TV soap operas that are set in large haciendas, usually sugar estates.

The woman in long, flowing gown with scepter and tiara, opening a cabinet full of treasures (jewelry, precious stones and articles of value) could have just been an allegorical figure representing the Ildefonso Tambunting and Filomena Concepcion pawnshops.  Tambunting was in Plaza Sta. Cruz, and Concepcion was on Azcarraga (today's Claro M. Recto).  Tambunting is still around.  We haven't seen a Concepcion; it's a Lhuillier that stands in major towns and cities around the archipelago today.

The representations of the real Filipinas were in the background, one in dire financial straits pawning her piece of jewelry to a rich lady.  The ad probably was telling those in need to go to the pawnshops rather than to their richer kin, neighbor or landlady. 

There wasn't a University Belt yet at that time so there were still no students running to pawn some valuables at the above pawnshops after they've spent their allowances from their hard-working parents back home in the provinces.

A nude Filipina?  Probably, the advertiser was inspired by "pearl of the Orient," Rizal's endearing term for his country.

The top line in Spanish which translates to "the shell was opened and produced this oriental pearl" meant that the store La Concha at 82 Escolta was selling muchas bellezas nacarados, plenty of pearly beauties.  

By the way, the local name for the shell enclosing the nude is taklobo, an endangered specie, a large number of them can be seen in the conservation farms of the University of the Philippines Marine Institute.  These are not pearl farms however.  Today's Mikimoto pearls are produced in some farms in Mindanao using oysters.

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