I judged the Miss Scuba Philippines Pageant! Cebu beauty queens, ocean conservation.

mermaid skirt, costume

Why am I waving like a beauty queen? Because I was a judge in the 2014 Miss Scuba Philippines contest, held at Pacific Cebu Resort

Unlike typical pageants, Miss Scuba has the meaningful goal of promoting marine conservation. All the contestants learn to dive, and are questioned on how they’d preserve the ocean ecosystem.

beauty queen wave, waving

Let me tell you, it was difficult to crown a winner from the 12 contestants. Read on, and I’ll show you what went down at this unique Filipino beauty pageant.

pacific cebu resort lodge

Hong Kong-based hotel group sáv Hospitality hosted Miss Scuba Philippines at Pacific Cebu Resort. Since the resort is right on the water and home to a diving school, it was a perfect fit.

mermaid skirt, fashion

What I Wore: didn’t plan this outfit in advance, but somehow it came together and fit the ocean-theme of the pageant.
Crop top: Show Me Your Mumu Lil Miss Crop Top in teal green (get it on sale, they also have it in black).
Skirt: The bottom half is actually a scarf with a fish-scale pattern, similar to this tie-dye maxi skirt.
Browse more mermaid-styles by clicking the images below:

princess jasmine costume, cosplay

Princess Jasmine meets The Little Mermaid. The shell hair accessory is a gift from the Nalusuan Island marine sanctuary that we visited.

cebu swimming pool, vacation

Before heading to the pageant, I waded in one of the hotel’s three swimming pools. (There’s one just for the diving school — you can see it in this post.)

pacific cebu resort spa

Spa treatments are available at all hours — the resort can even send a masseuse to your room. But if you’re a DIY type, there is this self foot massage from smooth white rocks.

miss scuba contest

To get to the pageant, I walked down a jungle path lit up with torches. At the entrance, I posed for photos with the Miss Scuba backdrop, and left a drawing of my Scottish Fold cat. 

travel tv crew, equipment

My film team and I also posed for a nice souvenir: Polaroid photos to take home. (Images in this post by Eric Bergemann and Melissa Rundle.)

miss scuba competition judges

I went to my judge’s head table, and found my place card. The other pageant judges included the mayor of Lapu-Lapu, and sáv Hospitality founder/CEO Edwin Chuang.

2014 miss scuba pageant contest

The sáv team did an impressive job with the stage design, lighting it up in colors with a big screen in the back.

filipino beauty queens, models

Here come the Miss Scuba contestants! They wear sashes that indicate their hometown in the Philippines. Amazing how they can walk in those heels, and toss their heads just so.

This contest is held in English, since it’s an international pageant (founded in 2011). The winner of this regional round will go onto the Miss Scuba finals in Kota Kinabulu, Malaysia on November 28.

philippines traditional dance

Between the pageant segments, there were singers and performers, such as this happy number by the University of Cebu Dance Company.

swimwear pageant contestants

So hard to give a score for each lady! There are typical sections like the swimsuit contest, but the most important criteria is how well the contestant advocates for marine conservation.

asia beauty queens, runway walk

Pageants are a huge deal in the Philippines, and many young women spend a year in beauty queen training. They learn how to walk, carry themselves well, and speak eloquently — and all of them do their own hair and makeup.

witch costume theater

In the Talent contest, their personalities come out. Some danced, some sang, some drew pictures. This contestant did a theatrical monologue, complete with evil queen cackling! 

beauty contest talent piano

It was fun to get to know these young ladies during my stay in Cebu. I learned a lot about their daily life and pop culture — such as their love of “chika time” or girl chatting, and karaoke. Celine Dion’s “All Coming Back to Me” was stuck in my head because I heard several people bawl it out!

evening gown contest, miss scuba

A quick change, for the evening-wear presentation. Everyone wore long, sparkling dresses that reflected the colors of the ocean. 

asia beauty contest, pageants

They make it look easy… but the competition takes a lot of dedication. I was impressed by their unshakable poise. (Love this lady’s long blue ball gown — shop more styles like this below.)

beauty competition question answer

Pick an envelope, and it’s time for the question and answer. Since Miss Scuba is a spokesperson for “saving oceans through beauty,” they were quizzed on how they’d educate the public on marine conservation.

miss scuba 2014 contestants

Cebu’s “Prince of Ballad” Philip Mancol serenaded all the contestants, while I handed in my final scores to be tallied up.

miss scuba philippines winner

Congrats to the winners of Miss Congeniality, Miss Photogenic, Bets Evening Gown and Swimsuit. They received a sash and cash prize.

amanda arbitrario, miss scuba winner

Confetti rained down for Amanda Arbitrario, winner of Miss Scuba 2014! Last year’s winner, Christine Paula Love Bernasor, gives her the tiara, while the mayor of Lapu-Lapu and Edwin cheer.

miss scuba contest winners

Amanda stands with Princess and Reygin, the second and first runner-ups. Congratulations to all!

sony dslr fireworks

We ended the night with cocktails at the afterparty by the beach. Fireworks exploded above us — I’ve never seen them from so close.

pacific cebu resort, sav hotels

It was an honor to be a judge in Miss Scuba, a beauty pageant with the goals of protecting the planet’s oceans, promoting safe diving practices, and inspiring the next generations.

Above is a selection of brands and styles featured in this post. Select the images for more details, and to shop.

Does this story make you think differently about beauty queens?



  1. Melissa R
    Posted December 1, 2014 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    So much fun and you look supa fierce!

  2. W Weeks
    Posted December 1, 2014 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    When are you in NOLA. I haven’t been to New Orleans in years. I hope the Westgate Gallery is still there, but I have a feeling it’s not

  3. Susan
    Posted December 1, 2014 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    mermaid top….want it

    • lacarmina
      Posted December 1, 2014 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

      it’s on sale, it’s a good moment to get it! ;)

  4. Paula
    Posted December 1, 2014 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    Cebu is awesome! I’m glad you had a great time!

  5. Julia R
    Posted December 2, 2014 at 3:20 am | Permalink


  6. kaz
    Posted December 2, 2014 at 3:20 am | Permalink


  7. Ann
    Posted December 2, 2014 at 3:20 am | Permalink


  8. Ms Tea
    Posted December 2, 2014 at 5:18 am | Permalink

    Little Mermaid

  9. Rose
    Posted December 2, 2014 at 1:19 pm | Permalink


  10. Enrica R
    Posted December 2, 2014 at 1:20 pm | Permalink


  11. Wickerwing
    Posted December 2, 2014 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Everyone look beautiful. Interesting pageant idea.

  12. Fatima
    Posted December 2, 2014 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Fabulous creative look of the day. Check My blog?

  13. Gail J
    Posted December 3, 2014 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    I love your outfit! And the event looks fun!

  14. Sty
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 3:04 am | Permalink

    Goodcoverage of Philippines, thank you for visiting

  15. Hige Keziah Maligayo
    Posted December 5, 2014 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    Thank you Miss Carmina it’s so nice meeting you ! Btw I found tons of my photo here :)

    • lacarmina
      Posted December 6, 2014 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      Thank you dear!! I can’t wait to show you the video too, it’s coming right up! xoxo

      • Hige Keziah Maligayo
        Posted December 6, 2014 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

        Oh my Im excited ! I haven’t saw any video yet during the pageant :) Thank you and Your welcome Miss Carmina ! xoxo

  16. Varia
    Posted December 5, 2014 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    fab sparkly dresses :)

  17. Fred
    Posted December 7, 2014 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    That’s cool, you get to do cool things around the world don’t u. ;)

  18. Euri
    Posted December 7, 2014 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    Oh! I love your outfit! :D

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