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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Miss Philippines International winners

The 49th Miss International pageant finals was held in Chengdu, Sichuan, China last November 28, 2009 with Mexico’s Anagabriela Espinoza taking home the title. The Philippines was represented by a Bicolana beauty in the person of Melody Gersbach who landed as one of the 12 semifinalists. She competed for the crown won four times by the country, Gemma Cruz in 1964, Aurora Pijuan in 1970, Melanie Marquez in 1979 and Precious Lara Quigaman in 2005.
Until 1968 when Nini Ramos won, the country was represented in the international pageant by a Miss Philippines, not a Bb. Pilipinas-International, a title which Nini was the first holder (her niece Pamela Bianca Manalo was this year’s bet in the Miss Universe contest).
From 1960 to 1964 , the Miss Philippines was sponsored by Boys Town Philippines to which Gemma Cruz donated her cash prize when she won in Long Beach, California. The first Miss International in 1960 was Stella Marquez Zawadsky of Colombia and later married to Mr. Jorge Araneta. The first Miss Universe from Finland, Armi Kuusela, also married to a Filipino, Virgilio Hilario. Here’s the flashback to Miss Philippines winners who represented the country in Miss International:

1960 – Edita Resureccion Vital (Miss Philippines), Josephine Brown (Miss Luzon), Editha Fargas (Miss Visayas) and Carminda de Leon (Miss Mindanao). The pageant was held on June 25, 1960, the first ever national pageant held at the Big Dome. Among the judges were 1952 Miss Universe Armi Helena Kuusela and businessman/movie-stage actor Virgilio Hilario. A month before the pageant, Editha won Miss Philippine Press Photography.
1961 – Pilar Arciaga (Miss Philippines), Concepcion Tan (Miss Luzon), Zenaida Ututalum (Miss Visayas) and Gloria Borromeo (Miss Mindanao). The pageant was held on February 26, 1961 at the International Fair Auditorium in conjunction with the 1961 Philippines International Fair. Pilar joined the Miss Manila Red Cross search in 1960.
1962 – Cynthia Lucero Ugalde (Miss Philippines), Lalaine Bennett (Miss Luzon), Adelaida Canda (Miss Visayas) and Juliet Pardo (Miss Mindanao). Cynthia was Miss PAF 1958 and 1961 Miss PPP. The pageant was held on July 7, 1962 at the Philamlife Auditorium. There were only seven hopefuls, outnumbered by the board of judges (11) headed by Manila Councilor Carmen Planas.
1963 – Monina Medenilla Yllana (Miss Philippines ), Leonor Testa (Miss Luzon), Sonia Orendain (Miss Visayas) and Violeta Alisoso (Miss Mindanao). The pageant was held on July 7,1963 at Philamlife Auditorium. 1960 Miss International Stella Marquez headed the panel of nine judges. Sylvia Gumabao (1963 Miss PPP) and Vida Hernandez (1963 Miss Luzon to Lalaine Bennett, 1963 Miss Philippines Universe and 4th runner up in that year’s Miss Universe pageant) were among the 10 finalists. Monina was also one of the seven Pink Camay Girls of 1961. Sonia was 1963 Miss PPP 1st runner up, one of the 15 finalists in the 1964 Bb. Pilipinas pageant and a 1965 Miss Ever Girl finalist. Violeta was 1963 Junior Miss Philippines of Cebu City.
1964 – Gemma Teresa Guerrero Cruz (Miss Philippines), Edna Rosanna Keyes (Miss Luzon), Alice Rosal Barr (Miss Visayas) and Erlinda Mendoza (Miss Mindanao).The pageant was held on May 30, 1964 at the Alba Supper Club, the only national pageant held at high noon in a night club. Gemma, who was No. 13 in a field of 16 contestants, was crowned Miss Philippines before 2 pm. She was MOPC (Manila Overseas Press Club) muse. Rosanna was a 1964 Bb. Pilipinas finalist while Alice was 1965 Miss Ever Girl.
1965 – The search was declared a failure because no candidate came up to the standards set by the previous year’s winner, Gemma Cruz. Instead, Isabel Barnett Santos (1965 Bb. Pilipinas 1st runner up and Miss Photogenic) was handpicked by the organizers, National Youth Foundation, to represent the country in the 1965 Miss International pageant.
1966 – No local and international pageants.
1967 – Margarita Lebumfacil Romualdez (Miss Philippines), Tessie Lastrilla (Miss Luzon), June Frances Roco (Miss Visayas), Evangeline de Leon (Miss Mindanao and Miss Friendship) and Patsy Sevilla (Miss Manila). Sponsored by the Textile Mills Association of the Philippines, the pageant was held on April 4, 1967 at the Philamlife Auditorium. Margarita, daughter of pre-war campus beauty queen Milagros Lebumfacil, beat eight other finalists and was crowned by Gemma Cruz. Margarita also bagged the Imelda Award and Miss Philippines Textile during the finals. Margarita was one of The Five Prettiest Girls of 1966 picked by the Bachelors Club. She also joined the search for 1966 Calendar Girl. June was a Miss Intercollegiate Girl of the Philippines (chosen by the College Editors Guild) and 1965 Bb. Pilipinas 3rd runner up and Miss Talent.
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