Gemma Cruz-Araneta

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Gemma Cruz–Araneta
Beauty pageant titleholder
Born Gemma Teresa Guerrero Cruz
(1943-10-01) October 1, 1943 (age 73)
Hair color Black
Eye color Brown
Title(s) Miss International 1964
Miss International 1964

Gemma Teresa Guerrero Cruz-Araneta (born September 30, 1943) is a Filipino politician, writer, director, and beauty queen who won Miss International 1964 becoming the first Filipino and Asian to win the title. Araneta received an "Outstanding Manileña" and a "Golden Heart" Presidential decoration from President Diosdado Macapagal .


Araneta's paternal great-grandmother was Doña Maria Mercado, the sister of the Philippine's national hero, José Rizal.[1][2] Her mother is writer and journalist Carmen Guerrero Nakpil, and her maternal uncle is writer and diplomat León María Guerrero III.

Rise to fame[edit]

She earned the right to represent the country by winning the Miss Philippines pageant, sponsored by the City of Manila in 1964. Araneta donated the US$10,000 prize money she won as Miss International to Manila Boys Town and Girls Home, a place where indigent and out of school youth are housed, in Marikina City, Philippines. This led the Congress to pass a resolution to exempt her from paying taxes.[3][unreliable source?]


Gemma Cruz-Araneta
Secretary of Tourism of the Philippines
In office
July 1, 1998 – January 19, 2001
President Joseph Ejercito Estrada
Preceded by Mina T. Gabor
Succeeded by Richard J. Gordon

Araneta first entered public service in 1968 when then-President Ferdinand Marcos appointed her Director of the National Museum. She was concurrently a member of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines. She was appointed Secretary of Tourism by President Joseph Estrada, a position she held from June 30, 1998 to January 20, 2001.[4] She resumed her writing career in 2001 and has now a bi-weekly column editorial section in Manila Bulletin.

In 2003, she was elected director/trustee and president of Heritage Conservation Society of the Philippines and was re-elected in February 2006.[5]

On May 16, 2005, Araneta started hosting a daily radio program, Krus Na Daan (Filipino for "Crossroads") on DZRJ 810 and a weekly television show, "Only Gemma!" on Rajah Broadcasting Network.[6]

To date, Araneta has authored and co-authored six books on Philippine History and other related topics, namely:[citation needed]

  • Makisig, the Little Hero of Mactan
  • Hanoi Diary: Beauty and Fashion for the Filipina (co-author)
  • Sentimiento: Fiction and Nostagia
  • Katha at Salamisim
  • El Galeón de Manila: Un Mar de Historias (co-author)
  • Stones of Faith
  • Rizal's True Love

In April 2010, Araneta was named as one of the members of the Board of Regents of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila.


  1. ^ Teodoro, Luis. "Dynasty". Archived from the original on 2007-08-20. Retrieved 2007-06-07. 
  2. ^ "Rizal Family Tree". Archived from the original on 2008-03-15. Retrieved 2008-03-19. 
  3. ^ "Congratulations to Precious Lara Quigaman". Retrieved 2007-06-07. 
  4. ^ "Link broken as of 2008-03-19". Archived from the original on 2007-03-23. Retrieved 2007-06-07. 
  5. ^ Picornell, Jaime (2006-08-02). "Casa Gorordo Museum reopens on Aug. 21". Cebu Daily News. Retrieved 2006-06-07. [permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "Link broken as of 2008-03-19". Retrieved 2007-06-07. 
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Iceland Guðrún Bjarnadóttir
Miss International
Philippines 1964
Succeeded by
Germany Ingrid Finger
Political offices
Preceded by
Mina T. Gabor
Secretary of Tourism
1998 – 2001
Succeeded by
Richard J. Gordon