DOT Hosting Anilao Underwater Shootout 2018 Event in Anilao, Batangas
The Philippines is known to have a rich marine life in many of its provinces and an archipelago located in the Coral Triangle, the country is also a favorite destination of underwater photographers. The Department of Tourism (DOT) wants to prove to the world that the Philippines is still a top destination when it comes to underwater photography and they’re holding the 6th edition of the Anilao Underwater Shootout in Mabini, Batangas; a resort town. The event started from November 27 to December 1, 2018.
The event is named ‘World Cup of Underwater Photo Competition’ and organized by the DOT in partnership with the local government of Mabini and the Resort Owners Association of Mabini (ROAM). Up for grabs are dive packages, underwater photography equipment, gears, and accessories amounting to more than USD40, 000. The organizers are expecting more than 150 local and foreign participants.
Last year, 175 local and foreign underwater photographers gathered together to join the event. People from Singapore, Canada, Australia, China, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, Korea, Japan, USA, Portugal, Turkey, Switzerland, Germany, Hong Kong, France, and the Philippines join the competition.
Singaporean Lilian Koh is the last year’s DOT Photographer of the Year (Open Class) for her photo of a squid under Cephalopod category while PJ Aristorenas, a Filipino veteran diver bagged the DOT Photography of the Year Award (first place) for macro photography of a skeleton shrimp.
The international underwater photography event is a venue for sustainable dive tourism as proper guidelines are ensured for the protection and conservation of the marine life of the area. In fact, there are registered guides and spotters who are asked to attend a safety briefing. The same people are also asked to sign a ‘code of conduct’.
Undersecretary for Tourism Development Benito C. Bengzon who is also a certified diver stated that they are strictly implementing a ‘No Marine Life Manipulation’ policy with the help of the local municipality of Mabini and resorts owners in that area. He also said the through their help, it is a guarantee that Anilao’s charm as a leading dive site in the world continues. He also added that the photographed entries which feature creatures of the sea is a way to enlighten everyone about the need to protect Anilao.
Some of the judges are acclaimed people in the world of underwater photography like French naturalist photographer and Marine Biologist Laurent Ballesta, award-winning Belgian underwater and wildlife photographer Ellen Cuyaerts, macro photography expert and 2015 Wildlife Photographer of the Year; Indra Swari and many more.
There are two classes for the photo competition. One is the Open Class which is for the participants who use any type of camera and accessories. This is the class where published and professional photographers will be placed. The second class is the Compact Class which is for the participants who are using cameras without interchangeable camera lenses. Additionally, this class doesn’t allow Mirrorless, SLR and the same types of cameras to be used.
There are five categories for this competition and these are; Macro/Supermacro, Marine Behavior, Nudibranch, Fish Portrait, and Cephalopod. There are also two special categories for this year’s competition; the Blackwater and Bonfire. These two will feature photographed animals by doing either blackwater or bonfire dives. They are also announcing a special category for beginners soon.
There will be a 1st, 2nd and 3rd placers for each category for Open and Compact Classes. Special categories, on the other hand, will have one winner each. DOT will be awarding the Photographer of the Year Award for both Open and Compact Classes.
Interested parties can learn about the 6th Anilao Underwater Shootout 2018 by visiting on their Facebook page www.facebook.com/anilaounderwatershootout/ and the competition’s website, http://anilaoshootout.ph