Back in 2014, I relinquished my crown. My journey ended as Miss SCUBA Philippines 2013. I got to meet the lucky woman who represented the country in the Miss SCUBA International Finals in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia that November.
For those who weren’t able to witness, 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 through Facebook where I first heard of Miss SCUBA and without second thoughts, I went to the screening alone with the dream of finally getting a dive license. However, 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 that 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 my own. On December 8, 2013, I left Manila to with a wallet that was almost empty, a luggage bag filled with thrifted clothes and my borrowed 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 with 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 after arriving in Kota Kinabalu while I was patiently waiting for another flight, yellow rays started creeping in, slowly taking over the gray clouds which hovered the skyline 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 view gave me courage and made ready me for the start of competition.
I opened both heart and 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, I found myself standing together with three other finalists. It was the announcement of winners, I was the only one with no special award of which worried me a lot. In a split second, my name was called. It was a surreal unexpected moment of triumph. They called me, “Miss SCUBA International First Runner-up”.
Since then, I was able to help communities and contribute in the protection of the marine environment. To my mother Noemi and sister Carrie for the unfailing love, to Sir George for helping me with my dive license, to Aquamundo Sports 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 was giving up familiarity but I also knew a new doors of opportunities were on my way. After that night, I became a co-host for Miss SCUBA International 2014 and in 2015, I became the second national director for Miss SCUBA Philippines and ended up chosing the lady who would become Miss SCUBA International 2015 and the year after the next lady I chose won another First Runner up place for the country.
Cliche as it sounds but every ending is indeed just the beginning of something else.
Have you ever had to say goodbye to an opportunity or someone? How did it go?