a lady in mermaid costume beside the pool
Freediving,  Learn About Diving

SSI Try Mermaid Experience with the Pinay Mermaid

I was around six when I first saw the Disney movie, the Little Mermaid. Since then, I have always had mermaid daydreams even as a grown up! I took a step to realizing my mermaid dreams in 2017 when I first learned how to freedive and skindive. I was so close to it; exploring the deep, swimming with the marine creatures and feeling the ocean envelope me except that I am wearing bi-fins. This year, I was able to take the closest step in making my mermaid dreams come true by finally wearing a mermaid tail during the SSI Try Mermaid with the Pinay Mermaid.

Who is the Pinay Mermaid?

A real-life mermaid, indeed!
Photo from her Instagram: @mermaid.amarie
I took my SSI Try Mermaid with the Pinay Mermaid, Ms. Maria Josephine Amarie Tolentino, a lovely ocean enthusiast and the founder of Mermaids PH. She has been mermaiding since 2017 and made a lot of mermaid and mermen’s dreams come true after realizing hers. She has made several TV appearances as a mermaid and has also joined international mermaid competition with the most recent one in China. Apart from her Mermaid Instructor certification, Ms. Amarie is also a SCUBA diver and a AIDA 2 certified freediver.

Signing up for Try Mermaid on SSI International

Prior to the actual Try Mermaid class, mermaid Amarie asked me to sign up and register to SSI International under SCUBA Academy Manila Dive Center. This will help me and my Mermaid instructor track my progress in the mermaid path. I registered my Name, Dive Center and its location and uploaded a photo of my choice.

The SSI Try Mermaid Experience

Photo ops with my mermaid classmate before the pool session
The class was held at the dive pool in Upper Deck Sports Complex in Julia Vargas, Ortigas. It took us three to four hours to complete the SSI Try Mermaid course. Mermaid Amarie’s main requirement in her for the Try Mermaid class with her is for the aspiring mermaids to have fun!

The Venue: Upper Deck Sports Complex Dive Pool

The Upper Deck Dive Pool
Our Try Mermaid class took place in the Dive Pool of Upper Deck Sports Complex in Ortigas. The dive pool was six to fifteen feet deep. Apart from us having the Try Mermaid, there were also other groups having freediving and swimming classes in the same pool. We had the pool session at the shallowest part.
There’s an underwater platform that makes the water shallower to about four feet. The Try Mermaid class fee includes the use of the pool and its amenities. There’s a shower area with lockers, toilet, tables and chairs by the pool and a water dispenser where everyone could refill their bottles to keep themselves hydrated. There are also nearby cafes, convenient stores and restaurants in the area.
Apart from Dive Pool in Upper Deck Sports Complex, Mermaid Amarie also holds classes in Quezon City, Batangas, Davao City or wherever her tail takes her.

The SSI Try Mermaid Class

Ready for Mermaiding101!
Before the actual pool session, we sat in a class with curiosity and great enthusiasm where Mermaid Amarie comprehensively discussed things about mermaiding and what a mermaid has to know (saving all the deets so you have something to look forward that will truly make you giddy about taking a Try Mermaid class with her!). I sat in the mermaid class with two other mermen, Mermen Jher and Mermen Mhel.
The mermaid path starts with the SSI Try Mermaid, the introductory course to becoming a mermaid. It can be completed in a day with a class and a pool session. A Try mermaid is not allowed to do mermaiding by himself or herself without a direct supervision of an SSI Mermaid Instructor. The next level is Mermaid, then Ocean Mermaid or Model Mermaid and the last and the most advanced of all these certification is Mermaid Instructor. Mermaid Amarie showed us her Mermaid journey – starting from being a newbie mermaid to a full pledge Mermaid Model and Instructor. As of the moment, we have already crossed the first step to becoming a real-life mermaid.
Finally getting the mermaid feels!
The fun started when we were taught on how to properly wear the mermaid tail. It was actually my first time and I was trying so hard to contain my excitement. The tail that we used was made of fabric with a separate plastic monofin inside. The six year old me could not just contain her happiness!
After the class, we had a little pictorial and mermaid Amarie actually let us borrow her lovely recycled mermaid flower crowns. We were joined by other lovely mermaids, Mermaid Kate and Mermaid Belle, who previously attended ms. Amarie’s Try Mermaid class. We made friends with them in an instant!

The Mermaids’ Pool Session

Video taken by Coach-Mermaid Amarie
The most awaited mermaid dip happened that day – we finally entered the waters with our main Mermaid. We were also asked to put on masks and goggles if we have any as we might not be that comfortable with our eyes and noses open and exposed to waters just yet.
Of course, the pool session wouldn’t be complete without the mermaid poses! Towards the end of our class, we did some mermaid fun and posing. We also blew some bubble kisses and hearts. We also had rounds of mermaid posing underwater. Once ready, Mermaid Amarie took photos and videos of us as we played and had fun underwater as mermaids.

Trying to blow a bubble kiss!

Mermaiding is quite a challenge for me. I got used to diving wearing mask at least and bi-fins. This one is quite challenging as I had to stay afloat in monofins then dive without a mask on that would keep the water from going into my nose.

Successfully blew a mermaid’s bubble kiss!
Exhausted mermaids but happy!
The pool session was quite fun! We might have felt so awkward in the beginning but Ms. Amarie made us wear it off by making us feel comfortable about what we are actually doing. She is so hands on that she’d dive with us every now and then paying attention to our form, the way we swim and asking us from time to time if we’re okay. The mermaids I was with were very supportive with everyone, too! It was not as if we have met for the very first time.

Officially Try Mermaids

After the pool session, Ms. Amarie awarded us with certificates. Before the day ended, she sent me a soft copy of the official Try Mermaid certificate or recognition card from SSI International detailed with my name, the name of my Mermaid Instructor, Dive Center and ID number.

Start Mermaiding Today!

If you wish to realize your mermaid dreams, too, you may sign up and book for Try Mermaid too with Ms. Amarie. You may reacher her on the following:
Instagram: @mermaid.amarie
She also posts her schedule and venue for mermaid classes on those, too. Inquiry for rates and inclusion may also be sent to those pages. You may also join the mermaid community, Mermaids PH, on Facebook to get a latest update, events and promos.

Did you also dream of becoming a mermaid one day? Don’t let dreams be just dreams! Tell us about it and let’s be real-life mermaids together!

Anne Elizabeth Gumiran, also known as Queenie, is a 20-something, full-time public school teacher, a part-time travel blogger and a freediver. She started putting her stories of adventures and misadventures into words and pictures in 2017 and continues to do so as she shares her advocacy, Sustainable Traveling.

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