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EMMA ZAMORA, Queen Emma, 1932 Manila Carnival

1932 MISS PHILIPPINES. Emma Zamora of Quiapo, the Hongkong educated beauty who took the Carnival by storm, led a short but a full life, passing away at the very young age of 30. Her reign is remembered for the many dignitaries she met, including the Governor General of French Indo-China.

Emma Zamora y Gonzales, the 1932 Miss Philippines, was often described as having the perfect face, oval shaped, with languid eyes, a fair complexion and small pouty lips. Combine that with her pedigree—the Zamoras came from Manila’s aristocratic Quiapo district—and so it came as no surprise that Emma was crowned our sixth MissPhilippines in the annual Manila Carnival.


Emma was the eldest of three children, born to Manuel Zamora andJosefina Gonzales. As an only girl, she was naturally pampered and was sent to the French Convent in Hong Kong at age 18. She returned to Manila for her debut and immediately, the tall, willowy beauty caught the fancy of Manila’s alta sociedad and was immediately enlisted by the powerful Bachelors’ Club as their official candidate to the country’s most prestigious contest of Filipina pulchritude.


She swept competition away with the British-Chinese-Filipina beauty Rosalina Lim coming in second as Miss Luzon, Aleli Guzman as Miss Visayas and the comebacking beauty from the 1930 Carnival,Violeta Lopez, as Miss Mindanao. Emma’s moment of glory was the talk of the town, for the Coronation motif was Siamese. The exotic costumes were truly a feast for the eyes. Emma was attired like a Thai royal with a stupa-inspired, gem-encrusted headdress that doubled as a crown. She carried a feather fan and wore a sleeveless beaded gown with winged decorations on the shoulders reminiscent of kinarees (angels) from Thai mythology. Her entourage wore similar, simple Thai costumes.


(text by Alex R. Castro of Manila Carnivals 1908-1939)

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