Gemma Cruz-Araneta

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Gemma Cruz–Araneta
Born Gemma Teresa Guerrero Cruz
(1943-09-30) September 30, 1943 (age 74)
Title Miss International 1964
Beauty pageant titleholder
Hair color Black
Eye color Brown
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. She 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 Philippines' 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. She donated the US$10,000 prize money she won as Miss International to Manila Boys Town and Girls Home, a home for indigent and out of school youth in Marikina City. 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 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 the Manila Bulletin.

In 2003, she was elected director/trustee and president of the 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