In line with the 28th Maritime Week at Our Lady of Fatima University (OLFU), the College of Maritime Education (CME) executed its first-ever Gininoong Marino 2023, a creative and loud celebration of the crewing industry that gradually opens more opportunities for female talents.
On 23 September 2023, the event capped off the week-long celebration of the college with the guiding theme “Marinong Filipino: Patuloy sa Pangangalaga sa Kalikasan [Filipino Marines: Continuing Environment Protection].”
Preceding the presentation of the candidates was an influential speech by the dean of the CME Dr. Francis Jay dela Cruz who reiterated the rationale of the event that is discernibly more than meets the eye.
Primarily, the maritime education leader recognized the diverse OLFU community, making it a safe space that promotes inclusivity among students, employees, and faculty members.
“Supposedly it was Ginoong Marino, Gininoo because we have students who chose to be with their identities as Gininoo,” said Dela Cruz as a way to acknowledge gay women, and women in general whom he flexed to become potential forces of the more welcoming seafaring industry.
The dean continued in expounding on the progressive trend in the industry whereby shipping and marine transportation companies are now gradually welcoming female cadets and seafarers.
“As of 2022, there are about eight percent of [global] crew which is composed of female,” pointed out Dela Cruz while also referencing the male-dominated industry since early years.
While there is definitely more work to sustain this progressive trend, the decisive dean proudly flexed OLFU’s continuing initiatives to welcome the same change in maritime education, also mentioning female graduates of OLFU who have since proven women’s reliable merit in the competitive naval industry.
“This just gives us a second look on the identity of seafarers around the world,” he concluded while equally recognizing the strict principle that is a “male-only crew” culture particularly in Japanese and Korean ships. In most European fleeting companies, female candidates are highly welcomed anyway, Dela Cruz added.
Accompanied by a popular TikTok hit, the thirteen participants of the Gininoong Marino 2023 first appeared in their OLFU uniforms where the audience comprising classmates, friends, and supportive parents erupted in roaring cheers.
The presentations of school, sports, and casual attire were among the criteria for judging including the talent showdown, and the question and answer portion that covered most of the pointing system.
Three varying personalities comprised the judging panel namely Alliona Marie Regis, Miss Teen Marulas 2023; Jay-Ar Sistona, College of Business and Accountancy (CBA) faculty member; and Irene Louise “Starr” Gelle, OLFU Marketing Manager.
The talent display of the participants further exemplified their diverse colors where they showed-off their skills in singing, dancing, among other creative pursuits.
During the Q&A section, candidates demonstrated their wit and hearts responding to fun yet broadly thematic questions touching the issues of the LGBTQ community, mental health among the youth, and hypothetical ones concerning the naval industry.
As a result, Creng Cruz, a second-year aspiring maritime ace, and Chrieshalle Sampoleo, a first-year naval transportation aspirant, were declared second runner-up and first runner-up respectively. Both candidates rallied for equality and respect for the LGBTQ community.
Campaigning for self-love and acceptance in the question and answer stint, third-year marine transportation student Caira Garay secured the first-ever Gininoong 2023 title.
The event formally closed the weeklong celebration of the National Maritime Week 2023 at OLFU. — Raymond Lumagsao