Inspiring Pinoys

Albayana Nurse-Diver to defend PH’s Miss Scuba International Crown


Bernard Supetran
Bernard Supetran | Nov 15, 2016

Cindy Madduma won the country’s first title in the new pageant which aims to put the global spotlight on the fragile marine ecosystem of the planet. As Miss Scuba, she became the global ambassadress in the protection and preservation of the underwater world, and attended top dive expos participated in by the Philippines.

Read more: A Diver’s Paradise: Exploring the Depths of Anilao, Batangas

On Nov. 19, 27-year old nurse-trainer-diver Meryl Angeline King who hails from Polangui, Albay will defend the crown in Malaysia, and attempt to continue the country’s winning streak in international pageants in recent years.

Angel, as she is fondly called, she was chosen to be this year’s delegate by the Cebu-based Miss Scuba Philippines screening committee led by Christine Paula Bernasor, MSI 2014 runner-up. A volunteer nurse for community service, she is also a trainer for children at the La Vie Institute for Personality Development in Las Pinas City.

To prepare for the beauty and brains tilt, she underwent an Open Water Diving Certification Course at the Bauan Divers Sanctuary in Batangas.

In an interview with this writer at the Sipadan Mabul Resort (SMART) in Semporna town in Sabah, Angel she joined the MSI because of its unique advocacy for the conservation of marine resources, which comprises two-thirds of the earth.

Watch: Dive & Dance Underwater: Only in the Philippines

Growing up near Bicol’s coastal areas, she has developed a special affinity with the ocean and the ecosystems related with it.

To bring home the crown for the Philippines for the second time around, she’ll be banking on her vast experience in local and international pageants to stand out in the 16-nation competition.  Angel was the country’s bet to the Miss Tourism World in 2012 held in Bangkok, Thailand and was also Miss Global Philippines - Tourism Ambassador.

She has also raked in a couple of awards in local searches in the Bicol region, the most recent of which is the Miss Bicolandia where she placed fourth-runner up in 2014. In 2012, she bagged top honors at the Mutya ng Pulang Anggi of Polangui, Albay; Mutya ng Tabak in Tabaco City, Albay; and Miss Bicol Tourism in Iriga City, Camarines Sur.

“I hope to take part in underwater and coastal clean-ups, and help formulate marine conservation programs in Albay Gulf regardless of the outcome of the pageant. I will be an ambassador for the ocean, who will advocate for its promotion and protection,” she enthused.

She dreams of “retiring” from pageantry, and embark on more meaningful projects so she can put to practice her stewardship of God’s creation.

With prayers from family and churchmates back home, she is confident she will bring home the bacon and continue to put the archipelago in the world’s center stage as a prime scuba getaway.

Albay local officials led by Governor Al Francis Bichara, Polangui mayor Cherilie Mella-Sampal, and Congressman Joey Salceda are supporting her candidacy.

The five-year old MSI is a brainchild of Malaysian hotelier Robert Lo, owner of SMART in Semporna town in Sabah, one of the world’s top scuba diving destinations.

The pageant covers lectures on marine conservation from the World Wildlife Fund, community-related outreach activities, cultural exposures, coastal and underwater clean-ups, and recreational dives in the famed Sipadan and Mabul islands.

Coronation Night will be on Nov. 19 at the Magellan Ballroom of the Sutera Harbour in Kota Kinabalu. For updates, follow Miss Scuba International fan page of Facebook.

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