To the uninitiated, 1977 was the year when Mutya ng Pilipinas got hold of the Miss World franchise and when its first entry to Miss World was selected. The girl’s name is Anna Melissa Ofilada Veneracion or Peachy Veneracion for short. She went to the competition feeling confident of winning the country’s first crown in the London-based pageant. And she actually became a favorite among the delegates.
But somewhere along the way, government pressure prompted Peachy to walk out less than 24 hours before the finals. This is due to the growing clamor to sympathize with the anti-apartheid protests happening at the time when South Africa was represented by a white candidate. With a heavy heart, she gave up on what could have been her chance to shine bright in the Miss World stage. If it’s any consolation, there were nine others – Misses India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Liberia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Singapore, Swaziland and Yugoslavia – who walked out in different time frames of pre-pageant activities. In the end, Mary Stavin of Sweden was proclaimed Miss World 1977.
I’d like to assume that everything is already water under the bridge for Peachy now. More than two decades later, she would team up with fellow Mutya ng Pilipinas titleholder (1979’s Lorraine Schuck) and businessman Ramon Monzon to start Carousel Productions and what is now considered one of the Big 4 pageants – Miss Earth.
In my mind, I really thought we had a strong chance of winning Miss World back in 1977. But it still wasn’t meant to be. We had to wait thirty-six (36) long years before finally nailing the Philippines’ first courtesy of Megan Young last year. 😉