Illuminada Mojica Tuason

Illuminada Mojica Tuason was only child of Rogelia Mojica of Indang, Cavite and an unnamed Tuason of Manila.  Her father died early and her mother remarried Jose Rosales of Butuan, where the family owned a piano business.  Jose Rosales (a direct descendant of Datu Mansibawan, royalty of Bukidnon) became an intelligence officer for the Bureau of Customs and maintained a residence in Manila at 1315 Cristomo Street, Sampaloc.  Lumen had several half-siblings from her mother’s second marriage: Loida, Perla, Angel, Josefa, Angelina, Rogelio and Fe.

The Manila Carnival, a much-awaited annual festival during the American Occupation of the Philippines, attracted the participation of daughters of  de buena familias from all over the country.  In 1939, Lumen became the Queen of the last Manila Carnival.  The carnivals from 1937 to 1939 were renamed the Philippine Exposition; and consequently, the Carnival Queen became “Miss Philippines”.  As Ms. Philippines, Lumen was considered a fashion icon of her day and was frequently photographed in haute couture gowns. She was on the cover of many magazines, such as the Sunday Tribune Magazine (February 1939) and was an endorsement model for Coty Cosmetics.

A young ROTC officer from the University of the Philippines, Ramon Calleja Fernandez, was assigned to be her consort for the pageant.  They met again two years later when Ramon, now a young lawyer (eventually, an associate justice of the Supreme Court) represented Lumen’s aunt in court.  Their chance reunion led to a romance, and eventually, a wedding in 1941.  Their union was blessed with three children:  Erlinda, Ramon and Pilar.  Lumen’s attempt to deliver of a set of twins, tragically ended her life in 1949.


Hover over thumbnail to view description.  Click to see the larger image.

   Lumen's coronation as the 1939 Manila Carnival Queen was the cover of the Sunday Tribune Magazine in February 1939.      

Family History Research Notes

1. Contrary to articles on- and off-line, Lumen’s maiden name is spelled with an “S”, not a “Z”.  This was confirmed by Ronello Fernandez Bernardo via email, dated 05 June 2010.
2. “Bokingo-Rosales Piencenavel-Villanueva Branch“.  Butuan Global Forum.  Date published: 06  Apr 2007.  Date accessed: 11 May 2010.
3. Castro, Alex.  “Miss Philippines of the Philippine Exposition”.  Manila Carnivals 1908-1939. Date published: 06 Sep 2009.  Date accessed: 10 May 2010.
4. Castro, Alex.  “King Consorts of the Manila Carnival Queens”.  Manila Carnivals 1908-1939. Date published: 06 Dec 2009.  Date accessed: 10 May 2010.
5. “Manila Carnivals 1908-1939“.  Date accessed: 10 May 2010.
6. “Manila Carnivals 1908 – 1939”.  Mekeni Land. Date published: 21 Sep 2006.  Date accessed: 10 May 2010.
7. Illuminada Mojica Tuason’s Family Tree can be found on

3 thoughts on “Illuminada Mojica Tuason

  1. Hello,

    I just stumbled upon this site while looking up Filipino surnames. I’m a 25-year-old second generation Pinay living in the US. My sister and I are trying to pick up the task of tracking our family’s genealogy before all our elders are gone and our tree is completely beyond recognition.

    Seeing your years of well-organized and thoughtful research is a complete inspiration. As of now we only know the names up until 3 generations back, and with very little photos or bios of these ancestors. And one of our struggles right now is learning how to trace pre-Spanish surnames. I’ll keep searching the website, but if you have any tips or resources off-hand and how you got started, I would love to learn more.

    Maraming Salamat!

    1. thanks for the kind words, aileen! a few years ago, i was exactly where you and your sister are. i wish you inspiration and good luck as you trace your roots. let me know if i can help. 🙂

  2. Hi my grandfather was Ambrocio Mojica from Banaba Cerca. I’ve heard of stories that my mother was a cousin or a second cousin of Lumen Mojica. My mom told us that she went with Lumen studied dressmaking in Realistica Fashion in Manila.

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