SUPPORTERS and friends of Bb. Pilipinas International Melody Gersbach filled the Heritage Park in Taguig City Thursday evening to pay their last respect to the beauty queen.
Melody was killed in a vehicular accident last August 21 when the van she was riding collided head-on with a passenger bus in Camarines Sur.
Aside from Melody, Santos "Dodong" Ramos and Alden "Owen" Orense, the driver and make-up artist of Gersbach, respectively, also died in the incident.
A short mass was heard on the chapel followed by Eulogy and the releasing of 24 butterflies.
Melody's friends described her as very accommodating and not afraid to do things. The beauty queen, they added, has innate sense of humor.
Her best friend Tel Mistal told Sun.Star that someone will never feel insecure to be around Melody even though she's beautiful and very intelligent.
Their friendship dated since fourth grade and they've always been each other's emergency blanket.
“As a friend she's always there for me, kahit itext ko yan kahit nasa Bicol or Manila. Napaka-humble,” Tel said of Melody.
The last time Tel saw Melody was the week before the fatal incident happened.
But she was able to talk to the beauty queen over the phone the night before the accident.
“Kasama ko pa sya last Sunday, nag attend kami ng party sa Angeles tapos sobrang saya nya, as in sobra talaga. Kaya wala talaga akong napansin na sobrang kakaiba,” she said.
Tel is thankful to Melody for being her best friend and for understanding and not leaving her even though the beauty queen moved to Manila.
Though putting a brave face, Melody’s mother Marina still couldn't hide the pain of her daughter's death.
During a sit down interview with her, she told Sun.Star that Melody was like the princess of the family not because of her looks but because she's like a darling.
“She's such a wonderful child. I treated her like a princess because she's my first born baby girl. Lahat ng attention talaga sa kanya kasi mukha talaga syang doll. She's very disciplined and always correct.”
Her mother was also hands down on how humble her daughter was even though she made a name for herself in Manila.
“I never saw her na sobrang nagbago dahil nanalo sya sa Bb. Pilipinas. She was the same Melody who went to school, who enjoyed life and who treasured every moment of it.”
When asked about the days before the accident, Marina shared that there's no drastic change in Melody's behaviors but she noticed that sometimes the beauty queen will be very quiet then the next day will be very cheerful.
“Napaka-opposite nung gestures nya. We attended a party then she was dancing on the floor, which she never did before. Then when I drove her to the airport, she was very quiet. That's the last time I saw her."
Saturday morning, Melody texted Marina to inform her that she's on her way to Naga to finish his commitments there.
But that morning, Marina was feeling restless the whole time until someone called her and relayed the unfortunate news.
“I even told her na take care of yourself and call me once she gets there,” she said.
Marina is saddened because the last time she talked to Melody, the beauty queen shared to her plans after her contract with Bb. Pilipinas Charities Incorporated expires.
Melody wants to join showbizness but not as an actress but as a host. She plans to strengthen Miss Bicolandia, a pageantry where she joined and won in 2009.
“It's a big lost. She should have been starting a good career," she said.
It was actually Melody's dream to have a billboard in the long stretch of Edsa, which she achieved after Bb. Pilipinas.
According to Marina, being a beauty queen is on Melody's system already and she was born to be one.
"Never mo syang maririnigan na pagod na sya. It's her passion, its her dream, its her life. Never mo syang maririnigan nagsasawa na sya," she said.
That is why when Melody told her mom that she will help kababayan Maria Venus Raj to join this year's Bb. Pilipinas, she never doubted Melody's decision.
“Sabi nya, mom I'm going to Bicol and convince Venus to join. She can tell it that Venus can make it and she tried to locate her,” Marina added.
Venus, the fourth runner-up in the recently concluded Miss Universe 2010, dedicated the competition to Melody.
Venus said Melody was beside her when the controversy about her papers is the talk of the town.
When asked on her reaction that Venus dedicated the title to Melody, Marina was happy that her daughter helped someone achieve her dreams.
“I'm so happy and thankful to her. She's very simple like Melody. She never pretends to be someone else. It's very flattering to hear something that big from her. She's still the same Venus I met in Bicol and the same person who went to Las Vegas to compete," she said of Venus.
The Gersbach family is also overwhelmed by the number of people who attended the wake of Melody in Heritage Park.
When asked how her daughter wants to be remembered by her friends and families, Marina said: "She wants to be remembered as someone who's cheerful, honest and down to earth, not because she's a beauty queen or the title she has."
Melody will be buried in Holy Mary Memorial Park in Angeles City, Pampanga on Saturday, August 28, after a 9 a.m. mass. (Glaiza Jarloc/Sunnex)