Magnificent Underwater Photos of Anilao revealed at Anilao Underwater Shootout 2017

Fish Portrait Category 3rd Place PJ Aristorenas
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Anilao Underwater Shootout 2017 Contest Winners

After a few days of tireless diving, swimming, and finding the right spot, the winners of Anilao Underwater Shootout 2017, oftentimes called the “World Cup of Underwater Photo Competitions”, were finally announced. The awarding ceremony, which I attended, recognized the 36 winners in the fifth year of the international underwater photography competition.

Registration
Registration
Submission of entries
Submission of entries

A total of 173 underwater photographers from Asia, Europe, and North America joined the photography competition. All of the entries were taken in the waters of Anilao, Batangas from November 28 to December 2.

The five categories in the competition were: Macro/Supermacro, Marine Behavior, Nudibranch, Fish Portrait, and Cephalopod. The contestants based their shots according to these themes.

These categories were each divided into two classes, the compact class and open class. The former was open to participants using cameras without interchangeable lenses, like smartphones and GoPros. The open class, on the other hand, was for professional photographers with high-end cameras.

Some participants received special awards that are not included in the aforementioned categories. Three winners were announced per category and class.

Dive Philippines organizing team with judges and sponsors
Dive Philippines organizing team with judges and sponsors
guides and spotters briefing
guides and spotters briefing

After three rounds of eliminating, selection, and finally, deliberating, the following photographers in the open class took the spotlight.

judges and winners
judges and winners
Open Class: Macro/Supermacro Category First Place Wu Yung Sen from Taiwan
Open Class: Macro/Supermacro Category First Place Wu Yung Sen from Taiwan

In the Macro/Supermacro category, the winners are Wu Yung Sen of Taiwan, followed by Hongchao Yao of China and Navapan Janjarasskul of Thailand.

Open Class: Marine Behavior Category First Place Cem Gazivekili from Turkey
Open Class: Marine Behavior Category First Place Cem Gazivekili from Turkey

For the Marine Behavior category, Turkey’s Cem Gazivekili took first place. Seungchul Yang of South Korea and Wen Chih Yen of Taiwan followed.

Open Class Nudibranch category First Place Cem Gazivekili from Turkey
Open Class Nudibranch category First Place Cem Gazivekili from Turkey

For the Nudibranch category, Gazivekili also took the first place. Second and third place are Songda Cai from China and Hakan Basar from Turkey, respectively.

Open Class Fish Portrait Category First Place Wen Chih Yen of Taiwan
Open Class Fish Portrait Category First Place Wen Chih Yen of Taiwan

In the Fish Portrait category, the photo of Wen Chich Yen earned the first prize. Austria’s Wayne Jones took the second place, and Dennis Corpuz from the Philippines won third.

Open Class DOT PAL Photographer of the Year Lilian Koh
Open Class DOT PAL Photographer of the Year Lilian Koh

Finally, for the Cephalopod category, Lilian Koh of Singapore wows everyone with her masterpiece. She was followed by Taiwan’s Wen Chich Yen, and by Peichi Chiang from Taiwan as well.

Meanwhile, these following photographers from the compact class showed that even compact and basic cameras can capture professional-quality photos.

Compact Class: Macro/Supermacro category First Place PJ Aristorenas
Compact Class: Macro/Supermacro category First Place PJ Aristorenas

For the Macro/Supermacro category, all the winners are from the Philippines. These are PJ Aristorenas, who won first place, and Penn De Los Santos and Ma. Nerissa Fajardo, who ranked second and third, respectively.

Marine Behavior category First Place PJ Aristorenas
Marine Behavior category First Place PJ Aristorenas

The Marine Behavior was won by PJ Aristorenas again, followed by Penn De Los Santos. Virginie Barfuss-Gofart of France took the third spot.

Compact-Nudibranch Category first place Ronald Dalawampu
Compact-Nudibranch Category first place Ronald Dalawampu

The Nudibranch category was also won by three Philippine photographers. These were the first-ranking Ronald Dalawampu, East Pardillo and Jonathan Christopher Veridiano.

Fish Portrait Category, Jorge Ida
Fish Portrait Category, Jorge Ida

For the Fish Portrait category, Philippine photographer Jorge Ida took home the first prize. In second and third place was Nancy Berg of USA, and PJ Aristorenas, respectively.

Compact-Cephalopod category Ian Amboy
Compact-Cephalopod category Ian Amboy

Filipinos once again took all three places in the Cephalopod category. Ian Amboy won first prize, followed by PJ Aristorenas and Eric Yee.

Anilao Underwater Photography Contest Beginners Category Winner - Ryan Berg from the United States
Anilao Underwater Photography Contest Beginners Category Winner – Ryan Berg from the United States

Special prize recipients were Ryan Berg from the US (Beginners) and Yung Sen Wu from Taiwan (Blackwater/Bonfire). Lilian Koh and PJ Aristorenas were named the DOT-PAL Photographers of the Year.

Blackwater Category Winner Open Class - Wu Yung Sen
Blackwater Category Winner Open Class – Wu Yung Sen
PAL Photographer of the Year (Compact) PJ Aristorenas
PAL Photographer of the Year (Compact) PJ Aristorenas
PAL Photographer of the Year (Open) Lilian Koh
PAL Photographer of the Year (Open) Lilian Koh

Getting to see the people behind the camera that captured those award-winning photographs was an amazing experience. I was especially thrilled during the announcement of winners in the compact category, since most of them were Filipinos, like me. I felt a sense of nationalistic pride, to see the photos of a fellow Filipino be chosen among almost 200 other people.

David Doubilet of National Geographic photo via FB Page
David Doubilet of National Geographic photo via FB Page

Seeing internationally renowned names in the photography field imbued me with honor. These are: photographer David Doubilet of National Geographic, photojournalist and biologist Jennifer Hayes, William Tan of Singapore, Tobias Friedrich of Germany, award-winning photographer Scott Tuason, and Cebu-based marine researcher Yoshi Hirata.

Foreign and local media posed with the judges at the 5th Anilao Underwater Shootout
Foreign and local media posed with the judges at the 5th Anilao Underwater Shootout

What made me so happy the most was that people from all over the world are able to capture and appreciate the splendor of Anilao’s waters in their respective cameras. I felt that it was proof of the universal beauty of not just the Philippines, but of nature and the world, as a whole.

Anilao Underwater Shootout 2017 Judges and Organizers
Anilao Underwater Shootout 2017 Judges and Organizers

This year’s Anilao Underwater Shootout (official website) was organized by the Department of Tourism (DOT) and co-organized by Philippine Airlines (PAL). The partners for the world cup photography competition are Nauticam and ScubaLamp Underwater Photography Equipment (SUPE). Event sponsors are PAL, Fun in Taiwan (FIT), Pacifica Dive, RGBlue, Aiyanar Beach and Dive Resort, Buceo Anilao Beach and Dive Resort, Camp Netanya Resort and Spa (hotel info), Pier Uno Resort and Dive Center, Balicasag Island Dive Resort, and Azure Dive Resort (hotel info).

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