My Journey as Miss Seaway 2019

by Jessa Marie Dela Cruz (as published in Seaway Magazine Issue 238, August 2020)

The last month of 2019 brought me a lot of happiness. It was a tail-end kind of victory but being crowned Ms. Seaway was a perfect way to end the year before ushering in 2020.

It was my first time to join a beauty contest, which was organized by maritime media group Seaway Magazine, and I won. It was overwhelming considering the other candidates were all beautiful and smart and like me, representing their respective manning agencies.

Döhle Seafront has chosen me to be their representative and though it was really such a pressure at first, the support of the company was uplifting. I was not only representing them but the Filipino seafarers that our company recruits, trains and sends to man vessels that carry all the essential cargos that fuel the global economy.

It was also my 2nd year with the company, but the experience taught me so much about the maritime industry. How all the tasks given contribute to the development of the industry and provide a continuous supply of the most sought after crew to man those vessels that keeps the global economy afloat, our Filipino seafarers. My company takes this seriously and this has been ingrained in us since day one of my employment.

My company is a solid home for all our staff and employees and for our seafarers. It’s like a “home away from home” that takes care of them before they go onboard or before they go back home after months of being on a vessel. Our office building is like a second home for everyone, with facilities all designed for the comfort of the staff, and most of all provides a temporary place to stay for our crew when they work on their documents or if they upgrade their skills while training. They take care of our physical health as well as our mental well-being. Spiritually, we are also well fed with regular Masses and rosary prayers every Wednesday. We always include in our prayers the welfare of our seafarers and their families. Döhle Seafront is not just a simple manning agency. It’s a home for our seafarers. And this makes me feel proud to be a part of it.

Jessa Dela Cruz quote 1 2020

COVID-19 impacted not just a few but the whole global population. One of those hardest hit are our seafarers who were stranded on their vessels for far longer than what is safe. Those back home are faced with the possibility of not ever going back onboard because of the lockdown. It was a “humanitarian” crisis.

My journey to become Ms. Seaway was as much an eye opener as it taught me very valuable lessons. As in any contest, it was stressful as it was uplifting. It made me face my lifelong fears and my own prejudices. I even cried after the press conference. Back then I realized I should really toughen up because if I can cry on those times, how much more if bigger challenges confront me? I am sure there will be more.

The practice and rehearsals were also unforeseen challenges thrown our way and it’s a battle of will and exhaustion really. My willpower won of course and the organizers and trainers were all part of my realization that experiences, such as those I encountered during the pageant makes one really braver. In all these, my company gave their all-out support. 

Ms. Seaway pageant was an eye opener for me indeed in the sense that whatever opportunity may come, you need to trust yourself and know how to handle pressure and stress and concentrate on things, and you should always put in mind that you can make it until the end, and just enjoy every moment as this opportunity happens only once in your life. everything is possible as long as you believe in yourself!

This year 2020 would have been a time for me to put into action some of the tasks placed on one’s shoulder as Ms. Seaway. Social responsibility and community projects would have been explored more but as things would have it, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic happened.

COVID-19 impacted not just a few but the whole global population. One of those hardest hit are our seafarers who were stranded on their vessels for far longer than what is safe. Those back home are faced with the possibility of not ever going back onboard because of the lockdown. It was a “humanitarian” crisis.

The pandemic greatly changed our lives. Uncertainty has overtaken our usual optimism and many of us have been looking for solutions so we can adapt to this situation. In these trying times, while the world is full of uncertainties, one thing is certain though,Döhle Seafront has shown its unequivocal support for our seafarers and will continue to provide the means for them to go home and at the same time – go out and join our vessels so as to relieve those who have been stranded.

This has also made me realize that as Ms. Seaway, I can actually do something to help out in my company’s tireless efforts. For all of us here in Döhle Seafront, what matters at the moment is to be always on our seafarer’s side – work with the maritime industry and this government to place procedures and safety net to cushion the harsh impact of the pandemic to our seafarers.

God Bless!

Döhle Seafront Crewing (Manila) Inc. is an independent company that provides excellence and quality in crewing for shipowners and ship managers looking for partners they can depend on.

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