Pura V. Kalaw

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Purificacion "Pura" Villanueva Kalaw[1] (27 August 1886 – 21 March 1954) was a Filipina beauty queen, feminist, journalist, and writer.

Early life

Purificacion Garcia Villanueva was born in Arevalo, Iloilo City, and the daughter of Emilio Villanueva and Emilia Garcia. Her mother was born in Palencia, Spain. At age 22, Pura Villanueva became the first "Queen of the Manila Carnival."[2]


In 1906, Pura Villanueva organized a suffrage group, the Asociacion Feminista Ilongga.[3] Her efforts led to the first suffrage bill reaching the Philippine Assembly in 1907.[4] She also wrote a column for the weekly newspaper El Tiempo, and edited the woman's page. Later she edited the Spanish-language section of Woman's Outlook, a pro-suffrage publication (Trinidad Fernandez Legarda was the English language editor). She was also president of the Women's Club of Manila.[5]

Books by Pura Villanueva Kalaw included Osmeña From Newspaperman to President (1946),[6] How the Filipina Got the Vote, Outstanding Filipino Women, Anthology of Filipino Women Writers, The Consumer Cooperatives in the Philippines, The Filipino Cookbook, and A Brief History of the Filipino Flag.[7] Her 1918 booklet Condimentos Indigenas was "one of the earliest cookbooks" published in the Philippines.[8]

In 1951, Pura Villanueva Kalaw was honored with a Presidential Medal, presented by Elpidio Quirino, for her work on behalf of women's rights in the Philippines.[9]

Personal Life

Pura Villanueva married lawyer and editor Teodoro Maniguiat Kalaw in 1910. Their children included Maria Kalaw Katigbak, a senator, and Purita Kalaw Ledesma, an art critic. Their daughter-in-law Eva Estrada Kalaw was also a senator. Pura Villanueva Kalaw became a widow in 1940. She died on 21 March 1954 at the age of 67.[3]

Her daughter Maria Kalaw Katigbak published a biography, Legacy: Pura Villanueva Kalaw: Her Times, Life, and Works 1886–1954 in 1983.[10] Pura V. Kalaw was one of the suffragists featured in a 2016 exhibit at the Philippine Embassy in Washington D. C.[11]

There is a school in Quezon City named for Pura V. Kalaw.[12]


  1. "A Short History on the Women’s Suffrage in the Philippines", Yahoo!, SunStar, 9 March 2021. 
  2. Alex R. Castro, "1908, Queen of the Orient, Pura Garcia Villanueva, part 1" Manila Carnivals, 1908–39: A Pictorial History of the "Greatest Annual Event in the Orient" (11 August 2008).
  3. 3.0 3.1 Artemio R. Guillermo, ed., Historical Dictionary of the Philippines (Scarecrow Press 2012): 223. Template:ISBN
  4. Kumari Jayawardena, Feminism and Nationalism in the Third World (Verso Books 2016). Template:ISBN
  5. Hazel M. McFerson, Mixed Blessing: The Impact of the American Colonial Experience on Politics and Society in the Philippines (Greenwood Publishing 2002): 173. Template:ISBN
  6. Pura Villanueva Kalaw, Osmeña From Newspaperman to President (1946).
  7. Pura Villanueva Kalaw, A Brief History of the Filipino Flag (Bureau of Printing 1947).
  8. Doreen G. Fernandez, "Enriqueta David Perez and the Codification of Philippine Cooking" in Harlan Walker, ed., Cooks and Other People: Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery, 1995 (Oxford Symposium 1996): 118. Template:ISBN
  9. "Ilongga Suffragettes" The News Today (27 September 2007).
  10. Maria Kalaw Katigbak, Legacy: Pura Villanueva Kalaw: Her Times, Life, and Works 1886–1954 (Filipinas Foundation 1983).
  11. "Exhibit on Filipinas in DC who pushed for PH women’s suffrage" Inquirer (22 June 2016).
  12. Pura V. Kalaw Elementary School, Milagrosa, Quezon City.

Original Source

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