Our Team

“We are passionate about the Sea, we are passionate about People. We believe that most of us want to do something good, and that many small actions can generate a tremendous positive impact. Coastal communities are often at the low end of the educational, financial and social institutional systems. Volunteer tourism is a way to bridge this gap and show these communities that marine resources management make economic sense.”

Team trip to Kinatarkan to investigate conservation practices on the rarely visited island.
Axelle Jorcin
After graduating with a double degree in Management and International Business (double MBA) from highly ranked universities, Axelle spent the first part of her career working for British Petroleum, as part of the company’s Future Leaders programme.

She received structured training in project management, operational management, team building, and managing change in international environments.

She then chose to apply those skills to environmental conservation. In her role as Expedition Manager in Blue Ventures, she had the responsibility of running all operations of a remote research site in Madagascar. She was working with a team of 25 local and international staff to run the marine research projects and organise the training and participation of 15 to 25 volunteers.

On her return from Madagascar, she dedicated one year to studying marine and coastal management issues (MSc Integrated Coastal Zone Management). This Masters course strengthened her understanding of topics such as stakeholder involvement and the linkages between environment, economy and social issues in relation to development.

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Ian Mills
Ian has dedicated most of his working life to his love of scuba diving and the underwater world. After earning a degree in Human Geography, his professional life since then has involved a number of different and exciting projects – all of them revolving around diving.

Alongside the ownership and management of a successful scuba diving business in the UK, Ian has worked as a dive guide in Palau, led overseas university diving expeditions, performed safety diving work for a number of media companies including the BBC and acted as a diving safety consultant for one of the world largest water based shows.

Amongst all of this, Ian earned a Masters Degree in Coastal & Marine Resource Management. His decision to do this was driven by a desire to have a more in depth understanding of the marine environment and the competing demands placed upon it. His research project took a particular focus on the importance of, and value that people attach to Marine Protected areas in the UK.

While maybe still a little young to keep herself imersed in the day to day operations, it would still be fair to say that she is 'The Boss'! A genuine motivation behind the creation of People and the Sea, she provides the reasons to work hard, stay strong and always smile!

Please follow the link below to catch up with Charline's favourite thing in the world (after pancakes!)


Judith Almonacid
Community Liaison

Judith was one of the very first people to join the People and the Sea team. As a local of Malapascua, she has been at the centre of all the work we have done. She is the invaluable link between our organisation and the wider

Before working for People and the Sea, Judith worked in Kuwait as a Housekeeping Team Leader. After Typhoon Yolanda, she returned home and is now working to earn her Diploma Professional Education(DPE) to become a Professional Teacher.
"I have a passion to interact and to deal with people, and to kids and the local community how to protect and preserve their environment in coordination with our program."

Kelsey Madison
Expedition Manager

Kelsey is finding her way in life through nature and learning about different environments and ecosystems. She was raised in Wisconsin of the United States and grew up on the Great Lakes. Most of her work prior to becoming the

expedition coordinator was as an environmental educator throughout the US. Most recently, she volunteered in the Philippines with the Peace Corps in coastal resource management. She has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Biology, but continues to learn something new every day.
Kelsey loves to read and enjoys swimming, camping and lounging in her hammock during any free time. She is excited to join the team at People and the Sea to work together to produce sustainable marine conservation.

Aleja Genisan
Project Manager

Aleja is a BS Biology graduate, and Msc (Biology) candidate of University of the Philippines-Visayas. She has about 6 years cumulative experience working as Research assistant for scientific research and development programs

involving the coastal and marine habitats, working specifically for the development of culture technology and seedstock production of sea cucumbers as well as conducting coastal resource assessments and monitoring.
She then applied her technical and scientific background in helping coastal communities in implementing effective and strengthened Marine Protected Areas by spearheading, as a Coastal Extension Officer, the Coastal and Marine Ecosystems Management Program of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in the Province of Guimaras.
Aleja’s research experience with the coastal and marine environment and her extension work with the fisherfolk community, have provided her a holistic background in community mobilization while providing technical direction. These skills came in handy in her role as People and the Sea’s new Project Manager.


Alicia Dalongeville
Lead Science Officer

Alicia grew up in the countryside in the centre of France where she developed her love for natural environments and animals. She has a background in academic research in Marine

Ecology and Genetics.
Alicia has a degree in Agronomy from Montpellier SupAgro and a PhD in Ecology and Evolution from the University of Montpellier. Alicia conducted her research on diverse marine ecosystems: Indo-Pacific coral reefs, the Mediterranean Sea and South African shores, to study the genetic structure and adaptation of marine organisms to climate change. Passionate diver for ten years, she has also worked a few months as a dive instructor in Dominican Republic. Alicia decided to stepped into applied marine conservation to help protecting the ocean and share her passion and knowledge of the marine ecosystem.
Alicia loves all kind of outdoor sports such as horse-riding, kitesurfing, skiing, running and hiking, and also enjoys Latin dances and cooking. Avid learner, she is trying to improve her underwater photography and writing skills.

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Katie Burkart
Dive Operations Manager

After being exposed to several different perspectives on life whilst moving to a different African or Middle Eastern country every 2-4 years as the daughter of a foreign service officer, Katie

has always struggled to identify as an American (now more so than ever).
This upbringing, paired with the opportunities it afforded to see animals in their natural habitats and go snorkeling on tropical reefs from a young age instilled in her a yearning to learn, explore, and experience more of the world and its abundance of diverse terrestrial and marine ecosystems as well as the human cultures that depend on them. This, combined with a growing awareness of anthropogenic degradation of the natural environment and the resources that it provides to all those unique human cultures, drove Katie towards studying Environmental Science Policy.
After learning how to dive in the Red Sea, she realized that her passion was for marine conservation in particular and so she became a scientific diver and dive instructor in order to share her love for the ocean with others everyday. Thus far, she has worked as a dive master and then instructor with coral reef conservation NGO's in Madagascar and Malaysia, as a teaching assistant for a university scientific diving program in Northern California, and as a marine educator/snorkeling guide/instructor in the Maldives and has currently found herself working as the dive operations manager for People and the Sea, learning more about the underwater world.

Kenneth Villacampa
Site Technician

Kenneth, more commonly referred to as RC, has recently joined the PepSea team. He started his time working as a Waste Collector and Educator in a program sponsored by the Business

Association and run by People and the Sea. He then slowly made the switch onto the permanent PepSea team. RC has a wife, Jhoana, and two little boys, JK and Zaickie.
RC’s work consists of compressor technician, maintenance man and general carpentry work around the office. RC says that PepSea is a nice organization because all the people here are like one family in one house. He does his best to be a good staff member because everybody here needs teamwork to make the project run.He didn’t have experience before in compressor work, as he was a bartender for some local bars on the island, but he is okay with making the switch because he is happy here in the PepSea family.


Victor Pepito
Boat Captain
Victor spent many years as a fisherman on the island of Malapascua. He is also a long time member of the local 'Bantay Dagat' - or the 'Sea Police' around the island of Malapascua.

Having decided to move on from life as a fisherman, Victor is now the proud owner of two boats, both of which we are make regular use of in our ongoing survey work. Victors experience in the waters around Malapascua, and the wider municipality make him a huge asset to our team - we are happy to have him as our Boat Captain!

Elvira The Green Fairy!
Green Projects Coordinator
Hi! I’m Elvira and I am the Green Fairy and the Mother of all volunteers! I live on Malapascua and I have four children; one in elementary, two in high school and one college.

My husband is a Dive master. While I was working at Mike and Diose’s Resort (Aabana) I meet Ian and Axelle and Charline (their daughter). I am the one who took good care of Charline, and treat her like my own child. Later, I joined the People and the Sea team full time. I am very much thankful that I am working with “People and the Sea”. I am the chief in the kitchen and the care take of the composts and gardens. All of these projects are doing very well, and I am now officially the “GREEN FAIRY”. Thanks to God that he gave me strength and wisdom.

Marticela Pelayo
Green Projects Coordinator
Marticela, more commonly referred to as Mattie, has been working with People and the Sea for almost 2 years as a chef. During her time here, she has started to help in a lot of other aspects

including: composting, gardening, cleaning, and keeping a smile on everybody’s face! Mattie has 7 children – 6 boys and 1 girl. She really enjoys working in this small organization because it allows her to be with the PepSea family, who she describes as “amazing and exciting”. For her, PepSea is a big gift because of their love and teamwork. She has learned how to take initiative, creativity, politeness to other cultures, and of course practicing her English! We sure are lucky to have Mattie around.


Klaus Stiefel
Guest Scientist

Klaus was born and raised in landlocked Austria, but discovered his love for the underwater world at an early age, with a diving mask in the mountain lakes of the Alps.

Once grown up, Klaus graduated from the University of Vienna in microbiology and then did his doctoral work in zoology/neuroscience at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt. He went on to research positions in California, Japan and Australia.

Since 2014 Klaus has been based in the Philippines as an independent scientist, nature photographer, popular science writer and scuba instructor (PADI Tech Deep instructor and IDC staff instructor). He is a visiting scientist at the marine conservation NGO People and the Sea and at the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute (summer of 2017), as well as an affiliate researcher at the Neurolinx Research Institute.

As a photographer, Klaus loves to shoot birds and the underwater world. To him, nature photography is the ideal intersection between science and art.

Klaus’ blog: www.pacificklaus.com

Christel Rojo
Education Officer

Hello! my name is Christel, a mother of a 2 year old lovely gem. I left the urban jungle and has been enjoying the island life for more than 2 years now.

I graduated with a degree of Bachelor in Secondary Education back in 2006 and was able to impart this skill with People and the Sea Education projects that focuses on Environmental Science. Teaching the island kids and incorporating the lessons in their daily lives helps us secure a better future for them and the environment.
I have 3 dogs, 2 cats, and 1 toddler making life on the island more fun and worth the memories. I work part-time at People and the Sea reporting every Wednesday and Saturday, and working online at home for the rest of the week.
Being a single mother taught me the value of time and hard work, while my toddler taught me how to appreciate small things and to slow down. Watching my daughter grow with her daily little milestones is worth giving up the corporate world in the city.
I enjoy working with People and the Sea team, I learned a lot and have conquered my fear of the deep sea even better. The island has been good to me since I decided to move here. I am sure you too will enjoy spending your time with the team and on Malapascua Island.

Yuna Puech
Volunteer Co-Ordinator

Yuna grew up on the seaside in Brittany (France). She received an education that taught her the beauty of nature and her need to preserve and protect it.

With a strong Breton identity, she is keen to highlight the richness of cultures, exchange and sharing, for the benefit of a local economy. In order to validate her management studies in Sustainable Development, she joined the People and the Sea team and coordinated the homestay project.
Now graduated, she works from France and coordinates the expeditions of all our French volunteers. Yuna loves cooking, hiking and make 'eco DIY' ! After catching the diving bug and taking a close interest in marine conservation, she joins us again at the beginning of June 2019 in Malapascua!


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