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The 6 Filipina Miss International titleholders

The 6 Filipina Miss International titleholders

LAST October 27, Bb. Pilipinas-International 2016 Kylie Fausto Verzosa nailed the country’s sixth Miss International crown in Tokyo, Japan, fortifying the Philippines’ position as the top Asian country in the international tilt that was inaugurated in Long Beach, California in 1960
(Only Venezuela, with 7 Miss International winners, is ahead of the Philippines).

Here is a throwback into the glorious years of our six Miss International champions:
1964 – Gemma Teresa Guerrero Cruz, daughter of journalist Carmen Guerrero Nakpil, was 21 years old when she won as Miss International Beauty on August 14, 1964 in Long Beach, California, where she bested 41 other contestants worldwide, including 1st runner-up Linda Ann Taylor of the USA, 2nd runner-up Vera Lucia dos Coutos of Brazil, 3rd runner-up Tracy Ingram of England and 4th runner-up Maila Ostring of Finland.

A descendant of national hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal, Gemma became the first Filipina and Asian winner of the tilt that was inaugurated in 1960 (won by Miss Colombia Stella Marquez who later married Jorge Araneta of the illustrious Filipino clan and the chairperson of Bb. Pilipinas Charities Inc. for the greater part of its 53-year history.

Gemma donated her $10,000 cash prize as Miss International to Boys Town and Girls Home.
She won the right to compete for Miss International as the winner of the Miss Philippines 1964 pageant organized by the City of Manila.

Gemma went on to become Director of the National Museum under the Marcos administration, Secretary of Tourism under the Estrada administration, and columnist for Manila Bulletin. She has authored and co-authored 6 books on Philippine history and other related topics.

1970 – Bb. Pilipinas-International 1970 Aurora McKenney Pijuan was 20 years old when she was crowned as Miss International 1970 at the World Exposition fairgrounds in Osaka, Japan on May 16, 1970, topping the field of 46 beauties worldwide, including 1st runner-up Margarita Briese of Argentina, 2nd runner-up Katherine Papworth of Australia, 3rd runner-up Toshie Suda of Japan and 4th runner-up Susan Greaves of New Zealand.

Aurora’s victory was a joyous moment for Filipinos because Gloria Diaz was also the reigning Miss Universe at that time. Her victory at Expo’70 helped attract more visitors to the Philippine pavilion that eventually became one of the 10 most visited pavilions at the exposition.
Aurora had a short stint in showbiz, her most memorable films being “Si Popeye Atbp.” Where she played Olive Oyl to Ariel Ureta’s Popeye; and “Sunugin ang Samar.”
Aurora went on to marry golfer and basketball coach Tomas “Tommy” Manotoc by whom she had a son, ABS-CBN sportscaster TJ Manotoc and a daughter named Mavis. The marriage ended in divorce with Tommy eventually marrying Imee Marcos.

Aurora had failed bids to run for public office; she is currently an active member of Gawad Kalinga, a movement that helps poor families in rural areas.

1979 – Mimilanie Laurel Marquez, was only 15 years old when she was crowned as Miss International 1979 on November 12, 1979 in Tokyo, Japan. She topped the field of 47 beauties worldwide and is, to date, the youngest winner of the tilt.

Melanie was given a rousing homecoming where she led a tilbury parade at Ayala Avenue in Makati City along with her runners-up Anna Maria Rapagna of the USA, Elisabeth Schmidt of Austria, Kate Elizabeth Nyberg of Finland and Hideko Haba of Japan.

Melanie went on to become a successful actress and model. She won as Face of the 80s in New York, eventually representing the Philippines at the face of the 80’s world finals where she finshed as 1st runner-up.

She produced and starred in her own bio-film “The Untold Story of Melanie Marquez” that won for her the Best Actress trophy at the Metro Manila Film Festival in 1987.
Melanie was voted as “The Most Beautiful Miss International” at an Internet poll in 2000. After marrying her fifth husband Adam Lawyer, she joined the 2005 Mrs. World Pageant where she was one of the 10 finalists.

Melanie had six children, including her eldest with former actor and Senator Lito Lapid, and a daughter with businessman Frederick Dee.
2005 – Precious Lara Quigaman was 22 years old when she won as Bb. Pilipinas-International 2005 and eventually Miss International 2005 in Tokyo, Japan on September 26, 2005 where she topped 61 other delegates worldwide for the country’s 4th Miss International crown.
Her runners-up were: the Dominican Republic’s Yadina Geara, first; and Finland’s Susanna Laine, second.

Born in Taguig City, Lara grew up and BiƱan, Laguna, and later schooled in Manama, Bahrain and Bristol, England where her parents were working.
Lara eventually entered showbiz where she has done mainstream and indie movies. She has also co-starred in several teleseryes.

Lara married actor Marco Alcaraz on July 8, 2012 in a Christian wedding ceremony at Hacienda Isabela in Indang, Cavite. They have a 3-year-old son.
2013 – Bea Rose Monterde Santiago was 23 years old when she became the fifth Filipina to win as Miss International in Tokyo, Japan on December 17, 2013, where she bested 66 delegates worldwide including 1st runner-up Nathalie den Dekker of the Netherlands and 2nd runner-u Casey Radley of New Zealand.

Bea was the third Filipina to win a major world beauty title in 2013 following the victories of Mutya Datul as the first Asian Miss Supranational and Megan Young as the first Filipina Miss World.
Born in Muntinlupa City, Bea grew up in Cataingan, Masbate and later schooled at York University in Toronto, Canada where her mother was working.

She was named as the Prettiest Filipina in 2010, Mutya ng Pilipinas-Overseas Communities 2011, Miss Tourism Queen of the Year International 2012 top 10 finalist and Bb. Pilipinas-International 2013 en route to her victory as the 5th Filipina Miss International.
Bea continues to be a much sought-after model and events host.

2016 – Kylie Fausto Verzosa, 24, from Baguio City, was crowned as the 56th Miss International in Tokyo, Japan on October 27, 2016, when she topped the field of 69 delegates worldwide including 1st runner-up Alexandra Britton of Australia, 2nd runner-up Felicia Hwang of Indonesia, 3rd runner-up Brianny Chamorro of Nicaragua and 4th runner-up Kaityrana Leinbach of the USA.
Kylie is a pre-school teacher who was crowned as Bb. Pilipinas-International 2016 at the 53rd national beauty pageant at the Big Dome last April, winning on her second attempt after a semi-final finish last year. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at Ateneo de Manila University, Kylie went on to volunteer at the Natasha Goulbourn Foundation where she teaches people about mental health.

With Kylie’s victory, the Philippines now has 15 winners in so-called “grand slam” pageants as follows: 3 Misses Universe, 1 Miss World, 6 Misses International, 3 Misses Earth, 1 Miss Supranational and 1 Miss Tourism Queen International.

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