'Mermaiding' subculture becoming more popular


There was a pivotal moment in Queen Pangke Tabora’s life that eclipsed all others: It was the moment, she says, when she first slid her legs into a mermaid tail.

For the transgender Filipina woman approaching middle age, seeing her legs encased in vibrant, scaly-looking neoprene three years ago was the realization of a childhood dream. And it marked the beginning of her immersion into a watery world where she would find acceptance. The former insurance company worker described the experience of gliding under water, half-human and half-fish, as “meditation in motion.”

  • Queen Pangke Tabora, right, and her students prepare for a mermaiding class at the Ocean Camp in Mabini, Batangas province, Philippines on Sunday, May 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
  • Filipina Jennica Secuya, left, swims with other students during a mermaiding class in Mabini, Batangas province, Philippines on Sunday, May 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
  • Queen Pangke Tabora swims in her mermaid suit while she conducts a mermaiding class in front of the Ocean Camp in Mabini, Batangas province, Philippines on Sunday, May 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
  • Queen Pangke Tabora, right, swims with her students, from left, Shelah Candado, Jennica Secuya and Meryll Louise Reque, during a mermaiding class in Mabini, Batangas province, Philippines on Sunday, May 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
  • Queen Pangke Tabora swims in her monofin as she demonstrates techniques to her mermaiding class in Mabini, Batangas province, Philippines on Saturday, May 21, 2022.  (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
  • Queen Pangke Tabora, right, conducts a mermaiding class in Mabini, Batangas province, Philippines on Saturday, May 21, 2022.  (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
  • The mermaid tail of Queen Pangke Tabora rests as a freediving class is conducted at the Ocean Camp in Mabini, Batangas province, Philippines on Sunday, May 22, 2022.  (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
  • Jennica Secuya swims in her mermaid suit during a mermaiding class in Mabini, Batangas province, Philippines on Sunday, May 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
  • Lauren Metzler, founder of Sydney Mermaids, swims at Manly Cove Beach in Sydney, Australia, Thursday, May 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

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