BATANGAS–Amateur and professional underwater photographers, divers, and marine enthusiasts once again masterfully captured the beauty of Anilao in the entries to the 7th Anilao Underwater Shootout (AUS), recently mounted by the Department of Tourism (DOT).
Dubbed as the “World Cup of Underwater Photo Competitions,” the event highlighted the town’s teeming marine biodiversity, including its world-famous nudibranchs.
Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat said the event showcased the country’s readiness to welcome back tourists and reclaim its position as the world’s leading dive destination.
“The Anilao Underwater Shootout is a platform to communicate the importance of safeguarding our delicate reefs and marine ecosystems for future generations. As we slowly rebuild and recover from the effects of the pandemic, this event is our way of announcing to the world that the Philippines’ diving industry is alive and well, and very much ready to welcome divers and underwater photographers,” Puyat said.
Supporting the department’s thrust to safely restart tourism in the country, Puyat also noted that more than 95 percent of the tourism workers in dive destinations are now fully vaccinated.
Gathering a total of 120 participants flying in from all over the country, the event also spurred domestic tourism activity in Anilao, trickling down to the community with engagement from the town’s resorts, dive guides, and spotters.
This year’s edition garnered a total of 348 entries across the competition’s 11 categories. Winners were awarded over two million pesos worth of prizes from its official airline partner Cebu Pacific, and underwater photography gear from event partners Nauticam, Scubalamp, AOI, Scubastudio Philippines, and sponsors XDEEP, Crest, Fourth Element, Divers Point, Nautilus Dive, and Sports Center, Squires Bingham, and Ultralight Control Systems, Inc.
In the Open Class, Macro/Supermacro category, winners are Dennis Corpuz, 1st place; Marivic Verdadero Maramot, 2nd place; and Emil Ribaya Jaranilla, 3rd place.
In the Marine Behavior category, winners are Ariel Careño Locsin, 1st place; Glenn Ian Diaz Villanueva, 2nd place; and Adrian Dan, 3rd place.
In the Nudibranch category, winners are Dennis Corpuz, 1st place; Glenn Ian Villanueva, 2nd place; Armida Esteban, 3rd place.
In the Fish Portrait category, winners are Dennis Corpuz, 1st place; Louis Myse Fae Ronquillo, 2nd place; Angelyca Paras Nery, 3rd place.
For the Compact Class, Macro/Supermacro category, winners are: Rafael Francisco, 1st place; Jorge Ida, 2nd place; and Fr. Nemer de Castro Chua, 3rd place.
In the Marine Behavior category, winners are Regie Casia, 1st place; Lloyd Respicio, 2nd place; and Anjeanette Fuentebella, 3rd place.
In the Nudibranch category, winners are Penn De Los Santos, 1st place; Kim Morfe, 2nd place; Armando Panopio, 3rd place.
In the Fish Portrait category, winners are Teresa Sy Ortin, 1st place; Patricia Santos, 2nd place; and Ronald Amboy Dalawampo, 3rd place.
Special prizes were awarded to Dennis Corpuz in the Blackwater category and Paul Joseph Aristorenas in the Wide Angle category.
Teresa Sy Ortin and Dennis Corpuz were named DOT Photographers of the Year for the Compact and Open classes respectively.
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 includes renowned underwater photography aficionados David Doubilet, Jennifer Hayes, Mike Bartick, Scott Gutsy Tuason, William Tan, and Underwater360 Group founder John Thet.
Following COVID-19 restrictions, the event followed a hybrid format with underwater photography workshops hosted via Zoom and the competition’s official Facebook page. Judging and deliberations were also done through the videoconferencing application.
The 7th Anilao Underwater Shootout was mounted in partnership with Mabini Tourism, DOT Region 4 A Calabarzon #DiscoverCalabarzon, Solitude Acacia Resort, Aiyanar Beach and Dive Resort, Crystal Blue Dive Resort, Nauticam, Scubalamp, AOI, and Scubastudio Philippines. The event is also supported by Wetpixel, Underwater Photography Magazine, Underwater 360, and GRID Magazine.