When we were in the house of Mg. Solome, Eling came to see Jojo as Abra’s beauty queen and remarked to us that she is very beautiful! Groaciana Barreras, our neighbor and former classmate, also came to see Jojo and also appreciated her beauty. She also recalled when she got promoted with me from Section B to Section A as sophomores of the Abra High School in 1932. I had then forgotten that event in my life.
Another prominent Abranian who came to see Jojo was Dr. Purugganan, husband of Mg. Conching Valera who owned FARMACIA VALERA. He said that he heard the speech of Jojo on the radio and wanted to see if Abra’s Beauty Queen is really beautiful. He concluded saying: NAPINTAS NGA TALAGA! (She is really beautiful, really.)
Then Soling Buenafe, my sister in baptism, gave a party with lechon for Jojo wherein all the toga Daydaya (easterners) were invited, consisting mostly of our relatives with Pat. There, everybody commented about Jojo’s beauty and how LUCKY we were for having such beautiful children. Praise the Lord!
As a matter of fact, Governor Petronilo Seares made a prediction in 1970, good until now, 1993-1997, saying: DETOY TI UMONA KEN MAOOI NGA PINANGABAK TAYO A TAGA ABRA ITI NATIONAL BEAUTY CONTEST. (This is the first and the last that we Abranians will ever win in a national beauty contest.)
And Congressman Carmelo Barbero made this observation: ITA LAENG TI PINAGKAYKAISA TI DUA NGA PARTIDOS TI ABRA ITI PINANGSUPORTAR TAYO AMIN KEN JOJO NGA CANDIDATO TAYO. (This is the only time that the two political parties of Abra ever united, to support Jojo’s candidacy as ours.)
As a matter of fact, Vice-Governor Paterno Aquino, Fina’s former husband, told us that 10% of all government employees’ pay was deducted from the payroll every month to support Jojo’s candidacy.
Hence, when, as the winner of the crown, Jojo returned to Abra by plane with Congressman Barbero, there was a town fiesta, with all school children and employees and townfolks lining the street from Tangadan to Bangued, with banners and small flags, all shouting MABUHAY SI MISS RED FEATHER! as she rode in an open car with Governor Seares and Congressman Barbero and Mayor Bringas leading the procession of cars, with sirens blaring, church bells ringing, and firecrackers exploding.
A big banquet was held in the Provincial Building, where Governor Petronilo ordered in his booming stentorian voice: “AGROKBAB TAYO AMIN KEN REINA JOCELYN SIBAHAN PRIMERO.” Everybody except Pat and me bowed their heads and curtsied before our daughter Jojo.
This was followed by visits to the different Abra municipalities, starting with TAYUM, LAGANGILANG, DOLORES, SAN JOSE, PATOKANNAY, BUCAY, PILAR, MANABO, and SAN JUAN, where parades were held and programs presented in their plazas honoring Jojo as the FIRST ABRA NATIONAL BEAUTY QUEEN. News about her was on the RADIO daily.
There could be no greater honor received by any person of Abra since then until now. Praise the Lord! JBS
Jojo was also brought inside the classrooms, where the students stood up cheering her: MABUHAY MISS RED FEATHER! She was accompanied by Fina.
She was invited to speak in the Abra Valley College where a program and demonstration of Karate was held. I was asked by College President and Founder, Agapito Borgonie to say something, and I said, “Abra is a very fortunate province and blessed by God with Brains as when Mr. Borgonie was appointed as the youngest Principal in the Philippines and with Brawn as when the Mayor of San Jose, Major Soludonio Javier, won the first National Sangol contest in the Philippines, and now with Beauty! We should thank God for all these wonderful blessings He has given us.
The College of the Sacred Heart also invited her. Since that was my alma mater, I was asked to say something. I said: Being a graduate in the Class of 1935, I belong to this school like you. Jojo has a brother who is a PMA graduate and was Mister Easter King of the Philippines of 1963. He was crowned in Baguio, the summer capitol of the Philippines, with Susan Joaquin as his Easter Queen. He is now a Captain in the Philippine Navy. Jojo also has a brother who is a Seminarian in the Christ the King Seminary. God has blessed our family with wonderful children, because Jojo has a sister who is an Accountant now in Philadelphia.
Then she was asked to visit the Seminary in Pidigan, Abra, where she told the students that she has a brother who is also a Seminarian in Tagaytay. (Later on Toots, Jojo’s brother Ernest was made to teach in this Seminary.)
The Jaycees, who also supported her candidacy, held a party for her. They asked Pat and me how we made beautiful children like Jojo. I said: If a husband and wife love each other such that the two of them become ONE, then their offspring turn out beautiful.
Pat said, Everything comes from God and He has blessed us with beautiful children as God’s gifts.
Jojo made a speech broadcast through the radio thanking everybody for their full-hearted support. All ears and eyes were on Jojo when she became “Miss Red Feather.”
The Abra School of Arts and Trades, formerly Abra High School, where I was enrolled for the first and second years, also requested our visit. This school received a lot of equipment from the Subic Naval Base and Clark Air Base, including generators and vehicles. The one who introduced us was my former classmate who was one of the officers of the school, hauling free items from the U.S. Military Bases. I made known to the students that I was a student there for two school years, with Mr. Belmes as my classmate.
Then the Ilocos Sur Jaycees, headed by Chavit Crisologo, invited us and met us with fireworks and a band at the Isirioco Bridge, then paraded Jojo in Vigan, ending in a Banquet after visiting Burnay and the Crisologo and Creirino Museums.
They asked me to say something. I said: My father, Florencio Sibayan, was born in Barrio Kapangpañgan of Vigan, Ilocos Sur. I still have lots of relatives there. And so Jojo is not only Abra’s representative but also Ilocos Sur’s as well for having her roots from Vigan.
Jojo’s Philippine Air Force plane circled Vigan and Bangued first before landing, with all the people cheering as the plane buzzed the towns. With her in the plane were Congressman Barbero, Mrs. Atty. Leanar Keyes of the National Coordination Office of USAPD, and Mrs. Corisercie Bautiste Lopez, Head of San Carlos Hospital. Governor Seares and the Mayors met her at the Tangadan Tunnel with Pat and me.