Yesterday, I relinquished my crown, my journey ended as Miss SCUBA Philippines 2013. I got to meet and find out which lucky woman will be flying to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia this November to represent our country. I would like to share the moment I had last night as I said goodbye. For those who weren’t able to witness it, here is the farewell speech that I wrote on a whim.
For as long as I can remember, I always had a love for the ocean but I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth. It was in Facebook where I first heard of Miss SCUBA and without second thoughts, I went to the screening alone with the dream of having the chance to get a diving license. I did not win Miss SCUBA Philippines 2012 instead I won as a runner-up, Miss SCUBA Philippines Marine Tourism 2012. Losing however did not stop me from what I wanted, I was lucky enough to have met the international organizer, Mr. Robert Lo and before 2012 ended, I was appointed to represent the country for Miss SCUBA International 2013. At first, I hesitated, thinking that it was unfair for the rest who would want to represent the country but I eventually knew it was the opportunity that I have been waiting for.
Just like a ship on a grand journey, I went against several waves to be Miss SCUBA Philippines 2013. I had to sacrifice time and put effort to find sponsors and supporters. On December 8, 2013, I left Manila to with an almost empty wallet, a luggage bag filled with secondhand and borrowed clothes and my dive equipment. I knew that my life will never be the same once I board the plane. I was worrying about how my stay would be and what would become of me after. I left my country and only a handful of people knew what I was about to do.
With little support, I felt like an unarmed dwarf forging a battle against giants. The next day while I was patiently waiting for another flight, yellow lights started creeping in, slowly taking over the gray covered clouds hovering and just right out of the glass window of the airport, Mt. Kinabalu greeted me with her grandiosity. It reminded me to think big, that very sight gave me courage and made ready me for the start of competition. I opened my heart and my mind and got rid of my fear. Each day was filled with laughter shared not only among candidates but with everyone involved with the pageant. The whole competition seemed like a long vacation.
Fast-forward and I found myself standing together with four other finalist where I was the only one with no special award and in that split second, my name was called. It was a surreal unexpected moment of triumph when they called me as Miss SCUBA International First Runner-up. Since then I was able to help communities and contribute in protecting the marine environment. To my mother Noemi and sister Carrie for the unfailing love, to Sir George for helping me with my diving license, to Aquamundo for providing my dive gears and to Edwin Uy for letting me don his creations for the MSI competition, to my Miss SCUBA International Family, SERALHCO, SAV Hospitality and to everyone who was with me during this journey, I am forever grateful.
I am walking in front of you now as a proof that failure is a natural part of success, road blocks are meant to test you and passion always gets you through. To the next Miss SCUBA Philippines, the dream is yours for the taking, be brave.
I was sad and happy that night because I knew a new door of opportunities will be coming. I will be part of the Miss SCUBA International 2014 at Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia as a guest and a co-host. I am also looking forward to new projects with them in the future. Cliche as it may sound but every ending is just the beginning of something else.