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Eveline Chainus Guirey: The First Igorota Beauty Queen

Eveline Chainus Guirey was a daughter of a Benguet baknang, an Igorota who also went by her Christian name, Flora Pacalso.

Eveline Chainus Guirey (Flora Pacalso), the first Igorota beauty queen from Benguet
Eveline Chainus Guirey (Flora Pacalso), the first Igorota beauty queen from Benguet

Eveline Chainus Guirey was a daughter of a Benguet baknang (well-to-do man, equivalent to an English country squire), an Igorota who also went by her Christian name, Flora Pacalso.

Born in 1902 in Gumatdang, Itogon, Chainus was schooled by missionaries at the Bua public school near Baguio. She was just 13 or 14 when she was elected Queen of the Benguet Carnival, becoming the fair's major attraction and drawing crowds of up to 8,000 people. As part of her royal duties, Chainus was invited to go to the Manila Carnival with her court, and her presence elicited a lot of buzzes.

Eveline Chainus Guirey
Eveline Chainus Guirey

After her education, she was sent to Manila to take up a nursing course at St. Luke's Hospital. But she contracted tuberculosis from which she never recovered. She died with Episcopal Bishop Florencio Mosher by her side. Schools were closed, classes were suspended and a large crowd--including VIPs like Mayor E. J. Halsema, Mt. Province Gov. Luna, Vice Gov. de Guzman, Chief of Police Joseph Keith, and Jim Wright of the Trinidad School Farm attended her funeral on Oct. 5, 1920, which was prefaced by a requiem mass.

A decade later, J.J. Murphy established a motion picture theater along Session Rd. and named it Alhamar-Chainus, in her memory. Contrary to a popular belief, Chainus is not the subject of a statue of a Benguet girl that stands in the Italian Garden of Camp John Hay, erected long before her death.

Eveline Chainus Guirey
Eveline Chainus Guirey



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