Profile: Gino H. Pelayo, PADI OWSI 444888
The newest member of the Evolution Instructor Team – a local, born and raised on Malapascua Island, who started working as boat crew and worked his way up to become a PADI dive instructor.
Born December 17, 1987, the seventh among 8 siblings born to a fisherman and a housewife on Malapascua Island. Gino and his family struggled all their life to make ends meet. Life was tough. especially with a meager income that had to be shared with 9 hungry mouths. Those days on Malapascua Island where the main source of livelihood is fishing, Gino would often go out with his father at night fishing, and go to school sleepy the next morning. A common scenario for the local island boys. The family would sometimes eat bread fruit for weeks, especially during bad weather, when fishing is impossible. But resiliency is in the blood of Filipinos, and Gino was determined to survive and make life better. His key focus was education, even if it meant going to school on an empty stomach.
Gino graduated high school in 2003, and immediately after that worked as a construction worker. He had to get off the island to get better income, so he went to Palawan to work as a pipe fitter on a construction site. He even applied for an overseas job, a work opportunity in Qatar. but was too young, so he went back to the island and worked as boat crew for one of the dive shops on the island.
By that time, Malapascua Island and its draw for divers from all over the world is making a name for itself as a diving haven, primaliy because of Monad Shoal, a dive site that enjoys a daily visit of pelagic thresher sharks. Gino knows that tourism is a way out of poverty for a lot of the island residents, and he knows that he could be good at it, so he decided to try his hand at scuba diving, to discover he loved it and is natural underwater. Being a fisherman himself he also knows the critters and where to find them.
In 2012 he applied at Evolution to work as a dive guide, and worked his way up to become a true dive professional. Gino has plenty of followers, especially underwater photographers, because of his knack of spotting the tiniest of critters from meters away.
Guided by Evolution’s environmental policy, Gino become one of the pioneers of Greenfins Ambassador Program. These extraordinary local dive masters were selected and underwent rigorous training in marine biology and how to interact with underwater animals with minimal to zero impact. Because of his lifelong respect for the environment, he applied his training religiously, and in return became one of the island’s best dive masters. Evolution also sent Gino to train as a safety officer in order to create a plan to ensure a safe harmonious and less hazardous working environment.
Gino set his sights high, and did not stop learning. He would always be reading his dive master books and encyclopedias of boat diving, during travel time going to a dive site, and during surface intervals. He was determined to fulfill his dream of becoming a diving instructor, and Evolution happily gave him the opportunity.
On December 6, 2019, Gino passed the Instructors exams with flying colors, and now has the opportunity to share his knowledge of diving, to show his students the amazing underwater life his island has to offer, to educate people on environmental protection, and to inspire more locals to strive and be their best.
A life changing journey, Gino is Evolution’s version of zero to hero! (in his own words)