CHARLOTTE, North Carolina–
For our Mother’s Day special, please meet the Miss Tagoloan winner of 1938, who celebrated her 100th birthday last April 25th. Born in 1920, Nice Casino was 18 years old when she sat on her throne, and she looked in every way a beauty queen as Miss Tagoloan. Beauty title holders in modern times are nowhere close to how she projected her image, even with the aid of social media and YouTube.
Ever since I came to know this nice lady, I kept asking myself, why is her name Nice? Her eldest daughter Dorothy Antillon said it was the family doctor who suggested the name “Nice.” At 100 years old, she still looks really nice at her age. She lives up to her name, Myrna C. Cosin said. “She is really a nice person. I know her to be generous.”
A cousin,Gina Laluna Burias expressed the same sentiments about Iya Nice, saying she is “manghitagun.” Myrna remembered something about Iya Nice that I recall myself. She said she would always ask visitors if they ate already (nakakaon na ka?) when they drop by her home.
This simple question brings back a thousand memories of the past, as you can see. As I’ve told so many times in my blogs and articles, I joined the local mainstream media right after I worked as a stenographer at the 6th Municipal Circuit Court of Tagoloan-Villanueva in Misamis Oriental. One time, I recalled that there was a request from Sir Oloy, the late husband of Iya Nice, to deliver transcripts to the house. It was a Saturday morning, and to be honest I had no money, so I went to their house to deliver the transcript and collect payment. Sir Oloy was not there, but the helper ushered me in and Iya Nice came out and asked me, “Nakakaon na ka?” I was hungry, so I ate the sandwich and suman (sticky rice) and drank the coffee she offered.
Iya Nice was born in the town of Balacanas in Misamis Oriental before Tagoloan was divided into towns. Now, Balacanas is part of the Villanueva town. She was born to Tirso Casino Sr. and Dorotea Valdehueza, both native Tagoloanons. This mother of three witnessed two world wars, married businessman Teodulfo “Oloy” Cosin Yap, and is grandmother to three beautiful granddaughters.
As mentioned by writer Robert Fulghum in his book 16 Things Everyone Learned in Kindergarten, afternoon or siesta naps are one of the secrets to longevity. Iya Nice is a product of this practice, along with spending time listening to favorite songs like “No Other Love.” Her memory is still sharp, as she can clearly recall scenes from the 1939 American epic historical romance Gone with the Wind.
In a Facebook post of another Tagoloanon ,Jong Casino (Jong chronicles the people and events of Tagoloan through his photography) recalled that Iya Nice was a member of the town’s Tourism Council and the Puriculture Center. Dorothy remembers Nanay having a close relationship with Iya Epoy Mabulay of the Puriculture Center. Iya Nice goes to church at the 6 AM mass, which I also attend.
“She has always been there for us. She inspires us in so many ways. Growing up, she was a firm disciplinarian, but she was always fair with the three of us [siblings],” Dorothy said. With three granddaughters named Aaftine Antillon, Anneliese Antillon Galeano, and Natasha Perez, Iya Nice is living the good life.
I wish to visit her one day, after this COVID-19 pandemic, for information on events and people in my hometown, which I plan to publish because she still has a good memory. I am sure Consuello Sueng S. Caballero also has her fair share of memories to add to this tribute, but I went ahead to pay my own due to deadline constraints.
For questions and comments, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also tune into my podcast/online broadcast dubbed “Barangay S” at the Facebook page of 105.5 Bay Radio Way Kurat Balingasag on Mondays and Wednesdays through Fridays every week from 7AM to 8AM Philippine time.