The Melody I knew
Gerry Diaz (The Philippine Star) - August 24, 2010 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - In September of 2008, I first met Melody Gersbach in Naga City at the screening of the Miss Bicolandia pageant, where I was a judge. Boy Abunda, chair of the Board of Judges commented on how beautiful she was and asked her if she had any plans of joining a national pageant and Melody answered very shyly that yes, she did. Thus I wasted no time talking to her and her mom to convince her to join Bb. Pilipinas. It took all of three months of exchanging text messages and calls before Melody finally agreed to go for it. And when she did I wasted no time one Saturday lunchtime and picked her up at their Gasthof Restaurant in A.Venue in Makati Avenue. Together with her mom Bot and sister Maggie, I introduced her to Jonas Gaffud of Mercator Models for training. And as the cliché goes, the rest is history.

Melody, who hails from Daraga, Albay, was the eldest of two daughters of Wolfgang and Bot Gersbach. She graduated from the University of Asia and the Pacific but spent her high school days at the Saint Agnes Academy in Legazpi City and grade school at the Chevalierís School in Angeles City.

She won a string of beauty titles — the 2008 Mutya ng Magayon crown, 2009 Miss Bicolandia, 2009 Bb. Pilipinas International and finished among the Top 15 semi-finalists at the 2009 Miss International pageant in China.

It was a total shock when I got news from Bob de Vera of Naga City last Saturday while I was having a business lunch with a client. The outpouring of grief was overwhelming, especially on the Net. Melody’s website was flooded with messages and so were the Facebook accounts of her family and friends. It was very touching to receive messages expressing grief and sympathy from as far as Saudi Arabia.

I want to say thanks to Valenzuela councilor Shalani Soledad for sending a text message expressing her shock and sadness on hearing the news and sending her sympathy and prayers to Melody’s family.

It was very sad and painful to see Melody die at a very young age. I just console myself with the thought that she died happy because she fulfilled her childhood dream of being a national beauty queen before she died.

Not too many people know that at the time of her death she still had two dreams that remained unfulfilled. She was about to enter showbiz through television but certain constraints prevented her from doing so. This was her ultimate dream — to compete in the Miss Universe pageant. Maybe Melody could have added another crown, if she had more time. She had plans of competing in Miss Germany for the chance to participate and hopefully win the Miss Universe crown. According to her mom, Melody was already told that she could compete for Miss Germany as long as she had a German passport and that she was still within the maximum age requirement.

Now that Melody had lost that chance, maybe Venus Raj will make it a triple win in the 2010 Miss Universe pageant today, for the Philippines and for Melody, her best friend and mentor. It was Melody who invited Venus to join the Bb. Pilipinas pageant and she was very proud when she told me about that. Melody added that Venus has a very big chance to win not only the Bb. Pilipinas crown but the Miss Universe title as well.

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