Saturday, July 13, 2013

In Memoriam:1974 Miss Universe Amparo Munoz


The Philippines' love affair with the Miss Universe pageant began in 1969 when Gloria Diaz became the first Filipina to win the Miss Universe crown. 

It was cemented in 1973 when another Filipina named Margarita "Margie" Moran won the country's second Miss Universe in Greece but the country's fascination and love for Miss Universe reached a feverish pitch when it hosted the 23rd edition of the pageant in Manila in July 1974.

It was held at the Folk Arts Center which was constructed in less than 70 days.

Miss Universe 1974 was held in Manila on the early morning of July 21, 1974 before an estimated live audience of 10,000. 

It made history as the first Miss Universe Pageant to be held in Asia 

The pageant opened with the traditional Parade of Nations featuring all the contestants in their national costumes

After the Parade of Nations, the names of the 12 Semi- Finalists were revealed by iconic pageant emcee, Bob Barker


Miss Universe 1974 Top 12 Semifinalists: Aruba - Maureen Ava Vieira, Australia - Yasmin May Nagy, Colombia - Ella Cecilia Escandon, England - Kathleen Ann Anders, Finland - Johanna Raunio, India - Shailini Bhavnath Dholakia.

Panama - Jasmine Nereida Panay, Philippines - Guadalupe Sanchez, Puerto Rico- Sonia María Stege Chardón, Spain - Amparo Muñoz, USA - Karen Morrison, Wales - Helen Elizabeth Morgan

Miss Finland Riitta Johanna Raunio

Miss Iceland Anna Bjornsdóttir
Miss Korea Kim Jae-kyu

PINOY PRIDE The 1974 Miss Universe Pageant showcased not not only the beauty of the 65 beauty delegates but also the splendor and culture of the Philippines through the performances of the Bayanihan and Ramon Obusan Dance Troupes.

There was even a musical number featuring the candidates  wearing the Filipiniana and singing the Ilocano folk song "Pamulinawen" said to be President Marcos' personal favorite.

 Even Bob Barker was in Barong Tagalog

After the Personal Interviews, the Swimsuit Competition followed with all the 12 girls in identical Catalina Swimwear.

The Evening Gown Competition set amidst a spectacular backdrop of dazzling lanterns made from capiz shells and glittering lights hanging from trees in an enchanting garden complete with a huge fountain that spewed out real water. 

So real that the bottom half of Miss Philippines' gown got accidentally wet. Most of the ladies'm gowns were so fashion- forward and so contemporary that they can still be worn today.  

 notice the partially- wet gown of Miss Philippines? 


That year's Top Five is considered as one of the most beautiful set of finalists in Miss Universe. Miss Finland would eventually triplicate her feat in Miss Universe with 2nd runners up victory later in Miss Europe and Miss International

The whole Philippines fell in love with the blue- eyed blonde beauty of Johanna Raunio just as Filipino Virgilio Hilario fell in love and later got married with the very first Miss Universe Armi Kuusela of Finland also

Johanna later did a mermaid movie in the Philippines entiltled Lorelei 

Miss Finland - Riitta Johanna Raunio
Miss Spain-Amparo Munoz 
Miss Colombia - Ella Cecilia Escandon
 Miss Wales - Helen Elizabeth Morgan
 Miss Aruba - Maureen Ava Vieira 
Aruba became the buzzword that year in the Philippines when a dusky and sultry Island girl from Aruba named Maureen captivated the Filipino male's fantasy

After the pageant, Maureen Ava Viera stayed behind in the Philippines and married a scion of a very wealthy Filipino family


Our very own Guadalupe Sanchez, a 17 year old International School student. who made the Top Twelve didn't advance to the Magic Five most probably because of her being the host country's delegate.

Had she entered the Miss Universe pageant in another year, she could have easily landed in the Top Five or even win the crown. Who knows?

Guada became a top model after her reign as Bb. Pilipinas Universe.

She is now Mrs. Malcolm McLauchlan, married for 29 years. She is 56 years old now and still very beautiful. She and her husband have been based in Beijing for the past few years and are busy with their restaurant complex business

Miss Philippines- Guadalupe Sanchez 
But she made her country proud with her outstanding performance

After one very casual final interview where personality and charm were given more weight, Margie Moran made her Farewell Walk before her very proud countrymen.



Bob Barker then announced the final results in reverse order:

4th runner up was Miss Aruba, Maureen Ava Viera

3rd runner up was Miss Colombia, Cecilia Escandon

2nd runner up was Miss Finland, Joanna Raunio


Miss Spain Amparo Munoz was proclaimed Miss Universe 1974 with Miss Wales Helen Morgan named 1st Runner Up

 with First Lady Imelda Marcos
Trivia: Amparo Munoz never completed her reign because of irreconcilable differences with the pageant organizers
Helen Morgan was 1974 Miss World for less than a week 
By that time, Miss Morgan had already won the Miss World crown, only to relinquish her title just a few days after winning it after it was revealed she was an unmarried mother.

Here's the link to  The 1974 Miss World Scandal

Muñoz was never officially dethroned and the title was not offered to any of the other runner-ups.

In fact, it was 1972 Miss Universe Kerry Anne Wells of Australia who crowned the 1975 Miss Universe in San Salvador City, El Salvador


Amparo Muñoz, became an instant celebrity after she was crowned Miss Universe 1974 in the Philippines when the international beauty pageant was held here. 

After a lucrative acting and modeling career, she had bouts with respiratory cases and finally succumbed  to a lingering illness at her home in Malaga, Spain.

She was 56 years old. 

Amparo would always be remembered not only by Filipinos but by pageant fans from all over the world as one of the most beautiful Miss Universe winners ever to be crowned

Photo Credits:

Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended. These photos are for pageant fans' viewing pleasure

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Extra Special Blog Feature

Part 1: The Tragic Story of Amparo Munoz

  no fairy tale ending SPAIN CONQUERED THE PHILIPPINES AGAIN. Whenever discussions and debates center on who is considered as the ...