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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Anilao Underwater Shootout 2018 announces winners

My brother (Richard) is a professional diver and whenever he's in the country for a vacation, he keeps nagging me to join his diving trips to Batangas.

But I always say no because I feel claustrophobic wearing that diving mask; fearing that it won't fit my face and that I might drown because of that--or the fact that I really don't know how to swim.

I can float a bit, but that about sums up my swimming skill.

Still, I've always wanted to see what was beneath those corals, to see if his stories about differently colored fishes and beautiful underwater creatures were true and most importantly discover why he's become so passionate about diving.

Last week, after attending the #anilaounderwatershootout and seeing all the winning photos, I sent my brother a message and made him promise that he'd bring me to his next diving trip in Batangas. Now, I have to enroll myself in underwater photography.

Last Dec 1, we were invited to witness the awarding of the 6th Anilao Underwater Shootout winners mounted by the Department of Tourism (DOT), in Aiyanar Beach and Dive Resort Mabini, Batangas.

DOT hosts the 6th edition of the Anilao Underwater Shootout from November 27 to December 1, 2018.

This event were joined by more than 220 divers and underwater photographers from all over Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America and to showcase Anilao’s immensely rich biodiversity and to promote the area as a world-class diving destination.

 The Awarding of Winners

Home to some of the rarest species underwater, the rich seas of Anilao were masterfully captured in photographs—Dubbed as the “World Cup of Photo Competitions” .

Here are the winners to the 6th Anilao Underwater Shootout, mounted by the Department of Tourism (DOT), in Mabini, Batangas.

Divers/photographers competed for the  Open Class, Macro/Supermacro, Open-Marine Behavior, Nudibranch, Fish Portrait, Compact Class, the Macro/Supermacro, Marine Behavior, Compact Nudibranch, Fish Portrait categories.

In the Open Class, Macro/Supermacro category, winners are: Yun Na Thing from Indonesia, 1st place, with a photo of a wide-eyed fish, its vibrant orange color stand stark against the blurry background; China’s Cai Heng, 2nd place; and UK and France’s Henley Spiers, 3rd place.

Open Class, Macro/Supermacro category, Yun Na Thing

Open Class, Macro/Supermacro category China’s Cai Heng
France’s Henley Spiers

In the Open-Marine Behavior, Dennis Corpuz from the Philippines took home the 1st prize for his photo of a shrimp struggling from the grip of the cephalopod’s tentacles; Brook Peterson from the US, 2nd; and Cai Heng from China, 3rd.

Open-Marine Behavior, Dennis Corpuz

Philippines’ Bebot Esteban bagged first prize in the Nudibranch category with her shot of a pastel-colored nudibranch. Taking the next two spots are Hong Kong’s Lai Kam Moon, 2nd place; and Malaysia’s Mohan Thanabalan, 3rd place.

In the Fish Portrait category, Peri Paleracio of the Philippines bagged first place for his photo of a vibrant red fish with glowing eyes lurking in the shadows; PJ Aristorenas from the Philippines and Marco Steiner from Austria won 2nd and 3rd prizes, respectively.

Fish Portrait category, Peri Paleracio of the Philippines
Fish Portrait category, PJ Aristorenas

For the Compact Class, the Macro/Supermacro category winners were Ericson Yee from the Philippines, 1st place; Narumon Pimsirinath of Thailand, 2nd place; and Philippines’ Ex Liao in 3rd place

For Marine Behavior, Maria Nerissa Fajardo of the Philippines won 1st place for her photo of a translucent cephalopod against the pitch black waters; Jayson Apostol from the Philippines took home 2nd place, and Korea’s Gyoungmi Lee settled for 3rd place.

In the Compact-Nudibranch category, 1st place went to the Philippines’ Marc Stephen De Leon for his beautiful close-up shot of a glowing nudibranch “dancing” in the darkness; China’s Haojie Lin, 2nd place, and Ronald Dalawampo, 3rd place, complete the winners’ circle.

In the Fish Portrait category, the fish opens its eyes and mouth wide open in the photograph snapped by Philippines’ Regie Casia, 1st place. The two other winners were Sudong Lim from the US in 2nd place, and Indonesia’s Ajiex Dharma in 3rd place.

Special prizes were won by Ria Crucero of the Philippines in the Special Beginners category; and China’s Cai Songda in the Blackwater/Bonfire category.

China’s Cai Songda in the Blackwater/Bonfire category
FSH3 Marco Steiner

The Philippines took both titles for the DOT-PAL Photographers of the Year with Dennis Corpuz for his Open-Marine Behavior entry, and Regie Casia for his Compact-Fish Portrait photo.

The international event has been organized by the DOT since 2013, in line with the identification of diving as a priority tourism product in the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP).

This year’s panel of judges had some of the most respected names in underwater photography, namely, widely published French naturalist photographer and marine biologist Laurent Ballesta; award-winning Belgian underwater and wildlife photographer Ellen Cuylaerts; macro photography expert and 2015 Wildlife Photographer of the Year Indra Swari; renowned Singapore-based underwater photographer William Tan; and Underwater360 founder and Asia Dive Expo’s official organizer John Thet.

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