MANILA— The Bb. Pilipinas International 2021 has chosen its representative to the Miss International pageant to be held in Yokohama City, Japan this November. The winner is Hannah Arnold from Masbate.
The event made some pageant followers take a nostalgic trip down memory lane to recall the previous Filipino beauty queens who brought home the Miss International crown.
Gemma Cruz-Araneta, Miss International 1964
Gemma Cruz-Araneta, now 77, was the very first Filipina and Asian to win the Miss International crown.
She made history not only in the pageant circle but in the entire nation having been the first Filipino beauty queen who won in a major international pageant besting 39 other candidates in the Miss International 1964 held at Long Beach, California, USA.
Gemma is a great granddaughter of Dona Maria Mercado, the sister of our national hero Dr. Jose Rizal.
She became a public servant after her stint in the Miss International. She was appointed by former President Ferdinand Marcos as a director of National Museum. She also became an member of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.
During the administration of former President Joseph Estrada, Gemma held the position of the Department of Tourism secretary from June 1998 until January 2001.
She also became a book author and radio host.
Gemma is now a columnist of the Manila Bulletin.
Aurora Pijuan, Miss International 1970
After six years, in 1970, the Philippines had a second Miss International when Aurora Pijuan brought home the crown from Osaka, Japan.
Her winning the title paved the way for the Philippines to be the first country to bag the second Miss International.
It also paved the way for Aurora to join showbiz and was able to do some films.
Aurora went on to marry golfer and basketball coach Tommy Manotoc but they divorced after several years. They have two children Mavis and Tomas Jr.
Now, 71, Aurora is very vocal on her Twitter account about her political views about the administration.
Aurora is currently and active member of Gawad Kalinga, a movement which aims to help and support the poor Filipinos particularly during calamities.
Melanie Marquez, Miss International 1979
It was another significant win for the Philippines when Melanie Marquez was crowned Miss International 1979 because she was the youngest title holder at the age of 15.
This became her passport to enter showbiz and the fashion world and was always the toast of fashion designers on the catwalk. Towering the height of 6 feet, she also won first runnerup in the Supermodel competition held in the U.S. in 1986.
Basketball star and actor Joey Marquez is his half-brother. Their father was film director Artemio Marquez Sr.
Winwyn Marquez, the Reina Hispanoamericana 2017 is her niece and Miss World Philippines 2019 Michelle Dee is her daughter.
Although Melanie is not loaded with projects, she remains active in showbiz and has appeared in some teleseries.
She is now 56 years old.
Precious Lara Quigaman, Miss International 2005
It took 26 years before the Philippines bagged the next Miss International crown and this was when Precious Lara Quigaman was bestowed the title Miss International in the pageant held in Tokyo, Japan on September 26, 2005.
Precious joined the Binibining Pilipinas pageant twice. The first was in 2001, but failed to make it until she joined the Binibining Pilipinas for the second time in 2005 and represented the country in the Miss International and won the title.
Precious also joined showbiz and most of her projects were at ABS CBN.
She was married to actor Marco Alcaraz in 2012. They have three sons.
Precious, 38, is still active in showbiz and some of her recent projects were “The Killer Bride” (2019-2020) and an episode in “Maalaala Mo Kaya” this 2021.
Bea Rose Santiago, Miss International 2013
Bea Rose Santiago, 31, was the fifth Filipina to win the Miss International. She won over 66 candidates during the pageant held at Tokyo, Japan on December 17, 2013.
Prior to this, she became the Mutya ng Pilipinas Overseas Communities 2011.
The she joined the Mss Tourism Queen of the Year International 2012, and was included in the Top 10.
She eventually joined showbiz and played supporting roles in some projects, also in ABS-CBN.
In 2018, she wad diagnose to be suffering from chronic kidney disease.
She is currently based in Canada where she is undergoing dialysis five times a week while preparing for her kidney transplant.
Kylie Verzosa, Miss International 2016
The sixth Filipina winner of Miss International was Kylie Verzosa, 29.
She was crowned in Tokyo, Japan on October 27, 2016 besting 69 other candidates from different countries.
After her Miss International reign, Kylie also joined showbiz like her pageant sisters and was able to do some TV and film projects.
She worked with Coco Martin in 2017 in movie “Ang Panday” where she met Jake Cuenca who played a villain.
In 2018, Kylie and Jake worked in an afternoon TV series of ABS-CBN “Los Bastardos” where they developed a relationship until today. (ECD/MTVN)