A Filipino woman won a major international beauty pageant when Gemma Cruz won Miss International title. She was also the first Asian to win the title.
Born on September 30, 1943, Gemma Cruz is known as Gemma Cruz-Araneta after her marriage.
Araneta belongs to a distinguished family in the Philippines. Her paternal great-grandmother was Doña Maria Mercado, the sister of the Philippine’s national hero, José Rizal. Her mother is writer and journalist Carmen Guerrero Nakpil, and her maternal uncle is writer and diplomat León María Guerrero III.
She won the Miss Philippines pageant, sponsored by the City of Manila in 1964, and earned the right to represent the country at the Miss International pageant.
Araneta has also authored or co-authored several books.
Former President Ferdinand Marcos appointed her Director of the National Museum in 1968. She was concurrently a member of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines. Later, she was appointed Secretary of Tourism by President Joseph Estrada on June 30, 1998. She held the position until January 20, 2001.
Pic: Manila Star