Gemma, Gloria, Megan to receive Ako Ay Filipino Award


    THE country’s pioneer world beauty queens –Gemma Cruz Araneta, Gloria Diaz and Megan Young Daez – are among the awardees for Arielle Agasang Ako Ay Filipino: A Filipino Fashion Charity Gala & Tribute to the Most Influential Personalities of the Year 2020-2021.

    The awaited event, launched and initially scheduled last year, will finally push through at the Centennial Ballroom of The Manila Hotel on April 24, 2021.

    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.

    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 in Long Beach, USA to Manila Boys Town and Girls Home, a home for indigent and out-of-school youth in Marikina.

    Gemma has held the positions as director of the National Museum, member of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines and Secretary of Tourism. She has authored and co-authored seven books on Philippine history and other related topics.

    Gemma’s paternal great grandmother was Doña Maria Mercado, the sister of the Philippines’ national hero, José Rizal. Her mother is writer and journalist Carmen Guerrero Nakpil, and her maternal uncle is writer and diplomat León María Guerrero III.

    Gloria Maria Aspillera Diaz (born March 10, 1951), professionally known as Gloria Diaz, is a Filipino actress, model, and beauty queen who rose to fame after being crowned Miss Universe 1969, becoming the first Filipina to hold the Miss Universe title.

    Gloria was scouted to join the 6th Binibining Pilipinas in 1969 and won, earning the right to compete for the 18th Miss Universe in Miami Beach, Florida. When she made it to the top 5 at the finals on July, 19, 1969, she charmed the judges with her answer to the final question about the “man on the moon,” and became the very first Filipina to win the Miss Universe crown. News of her victory (and her measurements) were communicated to the Apollo 11 crew members during their space mission.

    Gloria soon after carved a prolific career as an actress, and was launched in Celso Ad Castillo’s “Pinakamagandang Hayop sa Balat ng Lupa” in 1975 which was a commercial and critical success.

    She continues to share her thespic talents and has so far won accolades as Best Supporting Actress from FAMAS for “Sagrada Familia” (2010) and “Batang West Side” (2002), STAR for Movies for “Sakal, Sakali, Saklolo” (2008) and “Nasaan Ka Man” (2006), URIAN for “Batang West Side” and Metro Manila Film Festival for “Rizal” (1998).

    In 2019, Gloria made a special guest appearance in the second season of the Netflix series “Insatiable” with Dallas Roberts and Debby Ryan.

    Megan Lynne Young-Daez (born February 27, 1990) is a Filipino-American actress, model, television presenter, and beauty queen who won the Miss World Philippines 2013 title and was later crowned as Miss World 2013. She is the first Filipina to win the title of Miss World.

    Megan topped the record field of 127 contestants from as many countries worldwide at the Nusa Dua Convention Center in Bali, Indonesia on September 28, 2013 to win the coveted Miss World crown that has eluded Filipina delegates for 47 years.

    After her reign as Miss World, Megan continued her association with the Miss World Organization and was dubbed as its “favorite” titleholder, having hosted the Miss World in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017; and the Mr. World Contest in 2014, 2016 and 2019 (held in Manila).

    Megan married her long-time beau, actor Mikael Daez, last year.

    Gemma, Gloria and Megan are among the more that 100 awardees, selected by a distinguished screening committee from different sectors of society, who are lined up to be given tribute for their exemplary contributions to the community.

    The inaugural “Ako ay Filipino” aims to raise funds for the construction and improvement of the infrastructure, service facilities and other sacred spaces for the devotees of Our Lady of Assumption Parish in Lavezares, Northern Samar, the event’s chosen beneficiary for the year 2020-2021.