21 agosto 2010

Ex-beauty queen dies in road collision

By Celso Amo

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LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines  – Former beauty queen Melody Gersbach and two companions were killed in a vehicular accident in Barangay Pawili in Bula town, Camarines Sur yesterday morning.
Gersbach, 2009 Binibining Pilipinas International, is the best friend of Venus Raj, who is representing the Philippines at the Miss Universe beauty pageant in Las Vegas on Aug. 23.
Superintendent Eliciar Bron, spokesman of the Philippine National Police in Bicol, said the Toyota Innova van with license plate NDQ-364 where Gersbach and her companions were riding was hit by an RS Guevarra passenger bus with license plate EVG-121 at around 11:40 a.m.
Authorities said Gersbach, 24, was on her way to Naga City for the Miss Bicolandia beauty pageant.
Due to the impact of the collision, Gersbach, fashion designer Alden Orense and driver Santos Ramos died on the spot. Another companion of the beauty queen, Ronald Lita, is now being treated at the Bicol Medical Center in Naga City.
Meantime, Bron said four passengers of the bus that was driven by Wilson de los Santos of Barangay Agos, Bato, Camarines Sur, were also injured and were brought to the Bicol Medical Center for treatment.
De los Santos surrendered to the Pili police but is now under the custody of the Bula police.
The bodies of Gersbach and her two companions were brought to a funeral parlor in Bula town.
Upon learning of the incident, Melody's father Wolfgang, a German, and her mother Marina immediately went to Bula.
"She hugged me so tight and kissed me twice on the forehead before she left," Adelita Manuel, Melody's grandmother, told The STAR in an interview at the Gasthof restaurant owned and operated by Melody's mother.
Another restaurant named Wilcommen, located along Alternate Road here, is owned by Melody's father. The restaurant was inaugurated last Friday and observers said Melody wore a beautiful white dress to the event.
Manuel stays in the same room with Gersbach in their house in Barangay Culiat here.

"She said, 'Take care' before she left. She was wearing a printed, layered pink dress and sandals when she left the house at about 8 a.m. yesterday," he said.
The beauty queen had a schedule in Manila tomorrow.
"Only God knows why life was so short for a talented and beautiful young woman like her. She was a very nice and sweet young lady," Manuel said.
Manuel said she was the one who took care of Melody while she was a child in Frankfurt, Germany. Melody's mother worked as a nurse there while her father was a chef.
Melody has a brother, Manuel, and a sister, Magnolia.
"Melody was even crowned Miss Teen Philippines in a beauty pageant in Germany," said her grandmother.
Melody finished a management course at the University of Asia and the Pacific in 2006.
"I don't know what Venus Raj will do when she comes to know that her best friend is gone," Manuel said.
She said Melody was the one who encouraged Raj to take part in various beauty contests after they competed together at a beauty pageant in Tabaco City during the Tabak Festival in 2008.
Melody was also Miss Bicolandia 2008.
Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc. chairperson Stella Marquez Araneta expressed their deepest condolences to the Gersbach family.
"Her death, unfortunate and untimely, has left everyone at Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc. deeply saddened. Her passing will not only leave a void in our lives, but also in the hearts of everyone who knew her," Araneta said in a statement. - With Cet Dematera and Mike Frialde


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