1965 Gemma Cruz
1970 Aurora Pijuan
1979 Mimilanie Marquez
2005 Precious Lara Quigaman
2013 Bea Rose Santiago
2016 Kylie Verzosa
Will our 7th Miss International be crowned soon? Will Atty. Bea Patricia Magtanong be the one to bring us that honor and follow the glorious trail started by the six women above?
We will all know during Tuesday night’s finals of Miss International 2019 LIVE from Tokyo Dome City Hall in Bunkyo district, Tokyo, Japan.
The reaction of Gemma Cruz after winning Miss International 1964 in Long Beach (Photo credit: Tony Paat of Worldcupbeauty)
Gemma's Official Portrait (left) and winning moment as Miss International 1964 (Photo credit: Tony Paat of Worldcupbeauty)
One of Gemma's photos back in 2011 (Photo credit Emerson Cebanico)
Gemma surrounded by her court (clockwise from her right): 1st Runner-up Linda Taylor from the USA, 2nd Runner-up Vera Lúcia Couto dos Santos from Brazil, 3rd Runner-up Tracy Ingram from England and 4th Runner-up Maila Maria Ostrïng from Finland
Miss International 1964 Gemma Teresa Guerrero Cruz has already been featured, talked about and interviewed in many pageant sites, TV and broadsheet media. But there doesn’t seem to be enough when it comes to posting about the very first international pageant of a Filipina. Even if the achievement took place way before a big majority of people here (excluding your blogger who came to this earth a few days before the victory took place) were born.
While the win preceded my nearly-lifelong passion for pageants by five years, it still doesn’t take away the thrill of looking back from time to time. I will always love the fact that she was at her smartest and most elegant at the time, aside from being uniquely statuesque for an Asian candidate during the mid-60s. What’s more, I remember her delightful writer of a mother Chitang Guerrero Nakpil who chronicled the whole memorable stint in Long Beach as part of a long-forgotten locally-published book (by National Bookstore) about Filipino achievements abroad. (A personal copy of the same got lost during one of the great floods of the 70s when my first collection of pageant memorabilia got swept away from our Bulacan ancestral house).
At the moment, Gemma – who is a real-life descendant of our National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal – is connected with the Heritage Conservation Society as Chairperson and member of the Board of Trustees, while serving as Vice-Chairperson of the Manila Historical and Heritage Commission (MHHC). She also continues to be an Editorial Columnist of the Manila Bulletin.
Miss International 2013 Bea Rose Santiago of the Philippines
When it comes to beauty pageants, the real measure of success is in the number of crowns won. True, placements count. But since a runner-up or semifinal position is quickly forgotten, the only vivid memory left is the candidate who actually wears the sparkling head gear symbolic of a first-place finish.
In Miss International history, five years were dominated by the Philippines, only one less than the strong Venezuelans. And it is for this reason that Bea Rose Santiago’s victory last Tuesday night is not just a mere addition to the collection, but an indelible seal of approval in the continued success of Filipinas in the international pageant arena. She is the latest inductee to the illustrious group of Gemma Cruz (1964), Aurora Pijuan (1970), Melanie Marquez (1979) and Precious Lara Quigaman (2005) and will go down memory lane as the lady who made the Christmas of 2013 merrier for the Philippines.
Truth be asked, what more can we ask for? This year has been a most spectacular period for all our beauty queens. We are basking in the glowing reputation of being not only an Asian powerhouse but a World force to reckon with in beauty competitions. Should we start upping the ante of expectations? Or is it better to get back to the drawing boards to see how longer we can sustain the momentum? Or before doing that, do we need to look first at how we can re-educate some Filipinos who bash their own representatives while competing instead of giving even some semblance of constructive support?
I say, let’s do it all. Now is not the time to rest on our laurels. Just like the five ladies above who defied odds to bring honor to the country, let us undertake to bring down all the barriers that could possibly spoil the missions of our 2014 representatives. That way, the Philippines will not only be tagged a land of beautiful people, but also a place where the pageant fans and supporters are united behind each of their own. 🙂
Reigning Bb. Pilipinas-International Melody Gersbach was honored with a send-off by the Bb. Pilipinas Charities, Inc. to the Miss International 2009 to be held in Chengdu, Province of Sichuan, China. The lovely Fil-German Bicolana is 23 years old, stands 5’6″ and measures an eye-catching 34-24-34. Her main objective is to capture a 5th Miss International crown for the country and follow the footsteps of victorious Filipinas in the same pageant – Gemma Cruz (1965), Aurora Pijuan (1971), Melanie Marquez (1979) and Precious Lara Quigaman (2005.)
Melody Gersbach waves to well-wishers during her send-off to Miss International 2009.
Melody will be joining around 60 other representatives from around the world as they compete for the crown currently being held by Alejandra Andreu of Spain. Finals will be on November 28.
With Melody's fresh face and disarming features, she is sure to make heads turn in Chengdu, China.
Melody Gersbach's aim is to become the 5th Filipina to win the Miss International crown.
Best of luck to Melody! As people say, bring home the bacon!
Images above are courtesy of Melvin Sia of OPMB Worldwide Forums.