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!)


Lee Hankinson
Lead Science Officer
Lee hails from a tiny coastal town in Australia where his love of the ocean began as a kid. He has a background as a Senior Marine Environmental Consultant and Marine Biologist.

Lee has a Bachelor’s Degree in Zoology from James Cook University and Masters Degree in Ecology from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. Lee has a rich variety of experience in marine science, from working on visually mapping the sea floor and deep sea coral reefs off the coast of Norway to building new Leatherback turtle hatcheries in Costa Rica.
He is a keen diver and budding, but passionate underwater photographer who also dabbles in the occasional popular science writing article to engage the public with the scientific issues at hand

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 community.
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.


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.

Angelo Arcenal
Compressor Technician
Angelo joined us to help take charge of all the compressor and other equipment related matters in the running the expeditions. Its his hard work (and often long hours!) that mean

we all have air to breathe when we go diving each day. If that wasn't already enough to manage, his role has now grown to include looking after the whole Pepsea Site - and helping make sure that everything runs smoothly.


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

High-School Intern
High-School Intern

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