"The 1941 Filipina in sports"

The January 5, 1941 issue of The Sunday Tribune magazine featured various sports–archery, golf, fencing, pistol and rifle shooting, badminton, and swimming–and the Filipino women who picked one or two of the above sports seriously or playfully. The publication picked “girls from high society for proficiency in sports and games [that] seems to have become a prime requisite for popularity in the higher life.”

In archery, the featured Filipino women are Nieves Singson Encarnacion and Sally Unson, and they were glaringly compared. The captions were very descriptive: “Miss Encarnacion uses the rifleman’s method–holding her shaft like a rifle, and pointing it straight at the target. At these tests, archers find out if their arrows are straight or crooked.”

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The Sunday Tribune (January 5, 1941). The 1941 Filipina in sports [Image, screen capture]. Retrieved from https://issuu.com/filipinasheritagelibrary/docs/1941-01-05_the_sunday_tribune_?e=18015266/70725958

The two were also featured for the sport of fencing as they were fully equipped and the “picture of self-control, confidence, grace and strength.” More creative photo captions: “It takes lightning thought and as swift muscle movement to parry a thrust like this one demonstrated by Miss Encarnacion. Once upon a time, knowledge of fencing was essential to the life of man. Today, it is remotely necessary insofar as it contributes to a sportsgirl’s poise, grace, suppleness, and strength, and to her self-control, judgment, initiative, and quick thinking.”

In the shooting ranges, the Tribune Magazine presented seasoned Emma Jaranilla, her sister Rosel, and her friend Lourdes Farrales practising at the NRPA, while debutantes were featured: Miss Chona Recto for badminton and Miss Conchita Liboro for golf, and both for swimming. 

Interestingly, the unnamed writer of the magazine article included a 1925 photo of the “popular co-eds of the U.P. splashed in the university swimming pool adequately covered in bathing suits which look today more like overcoats or over-alls” to show how much fashion has changed in 1941, 15 years later. 

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