Gemma Cruz-Araneta

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Gemma Cruz-Araneta is the first Filipina to win the Miss International title in 1964. She is also an author and columnist.



This international beauty pageant titlist was born Gemma Teresa Guerrero Cruz. She is the daughter of well-known journalist Carmen Guerrero-Nakpil and Capt. Ismael Arguelles Cruz, who was the grandson of Maria Rizal. Aside from her filial relation with the national hero, Gemma is also connected to another prominent figure in Philippine history and politics - Leon Ma. Guerrero, who was her uncle. She received her Bachelor's Degree at the Maryknoll College in 1963.

Personal life

Gemma married Antonio Araneta and they are blessed with two children: Fatima and Leon.

Beauty Queen

Gemma represented the Philippines in the Miss International pageant through the sponsorship of the City Government of Manila. She is known as one of the most intellectual, articulate and kind-hearted beauty queens in the country. Apart from the honor of the title, Gemma also received 10,000 U.S. dollars as a prize from the pageant, which she generously donated to the Boys Town and Girls Home.

Career in Public Service

Gemma was appointed by late President Ferdinand Marcos as the Director of the National Museum in 1968. She was also a historical writer during that time. After the declaration of Martial Law in 1972, Gemma and her family left the country and lived in Mexico City until 1989. She continued serving the public even outside the country by being the project chief of the Centro de Estudios Economics y Sociales del Tercer Mundo, which was an advisory to then President of Mexico, Luis Echeverria. She also worked as Chief Program Assistant of the United Nations Development Program.

In 1998, she was appointed by then President Joseph Estrada as secretary of the Department of Tourism. She was elected director and president of Heritage Conservation Society of the Philippines in 2003 and was re-elected in 2006.


Gemma, a writer in her own right has six books published under her name: Makisig, the Little Hero of Mactan; Hanoi Diary; Beauty and Fashion for the Filipina; Sentimiento: Fiction and Nostalgia; Katha at Salamisim; El Galeon de Manila:un mar de historias; and Stones of Faith. At present, she continues to write for different daily publications.

Fashion Icon

Her grace and elegance is undeniable and she is often regarded as one of the country's best-dressed and icons in fashion and style.

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