Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Gearing Up for the 2nd Anilao Underwater Shoot Fest


Scuba diving is one of my passions. I discovered the underwater world for the first time in Cebu, during a Christmas vacation in 1998.  Fast forward 16 years today, I may have countless experiences under my (weight) belt, but one thing I still dream of is to be an underwater photographer. Shelving this at the moment, and looking up to others who take amazing photos underwater (I met a whole lot as a mermaid), I am gearing up for the surge of awesome underwater photographers from here and abroad, coming over to next week's 2nd Anilao Underwater Photo Competition Festival.

Underwater photography is a discipline that requires another level of training, artistry and creative skills, plus a whole lot of patience.  I am honored to be surrounded by friends in this industry, and I am happy to be of support to the Department of Tourism's Dive Market Group - Dive Philippines.  Here are the details.

Discover the country’s rich marine ecosystem as the Philippine Department of Tourism (PDOT) holds the 2nd Anilao Underwater (UW) Photo Competition Festival at the Aiyanar Beach and Dive Resort in Anilao, Mabini, Batangas on Nov. 27-30.

A partnership with the Underwater Macro Photographers Group (UWMPG) which has more than 30,000 members around the world, the event aims to reinforce the Philippines’ standing as a premier underwater photography destination in Asia by enticing foreign underwater photographers to exercise their hobby in the country.

​The ​event ​includes ​a three-day ​shootout ​competition, ​dive ​seminars ​with ​topics ​ranging ​from ​"Underwater ​Photography" ​to ​"Discovering ​the ​Rich ​Marine ​Biodiversity ​in ​the ​Philippines".

Photo: Cem Gazevekilli

The photo tilt is open to foreign and local underwater photographers and fun divers for an entry fee of Php1,000 or US$20, inclusive of a four-day dive pass, an event shirt, and welcome and farewell dinners with cultural entertainment.

A quiet seaside community known as “The Nudibranch and Macro Capital of the World,” Anilao is the world’s best destination for underwater macro photography, according to Ken Thongpila, UWMPG founder and a multi-awarded photographer.     

Tourism Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez, Jr. said that last year’s festival established the Philippines not only as a premier underwater photography destination, but also as a must-visit dive destination in the world.

“Diving in the Philippines not only proves to be worthwhile because of the sheer number of quality dive spots but also of the variety of creatures than can be seen in our waters. Our rich aquatic resources is a big draw for dive enthusiasts and marine tourists of different levels.  The event is a good opportunity to highlight the rich marine biodiversity of the Philippines and hopefully bring efforts towards its active protection,” the tourism chief added.

Winners will receive US$ 30,000 worth of underwater photography equipment, dive gear and dive trips to Cebu, Bohol, Dumaguete and Anilao.

Simultaneous with the photography contest, fun dives will also be organized, and seminars on techniques in UW photography and other areas of specialization will be held.

Ken Thongpila

Yorko Summer

Mike Bartick

Mimmo Roscigno

Gutsy Tuason

Gracing the festival as judges and speakers are world-renowned UW photographers namely KenThongpila, dive travel journalist Yorko Summer, American photojournalist Mike Bartick, European top macro photographer Mimmo Roscigno, and Filipino award-winning UW photographer and author Scott “Gutsy” Tuason.

Contest mechanics can be viewed at the Anilao UW Photo Competition Festival or Facebook Page or requested through email Divers can also book their travel arrangements in the said email address. Participants can register at

Partner resorts in Anilao are also offering special dive promo packages for as low as US$500 for a five-day/four-night dive package inclusive of six boat dives, full-board meals, accommodation (twin sharing arrangement), air tanks and dive master. 

Jerome Kim, Contest Director

The action swings afterwards to Sogod Bay Scuba Resort in Padre Burgos, Southern Leyte for another photography workshop on December 1 to 5. Workshop dive packages for five-day/four-night stay are available for as low as US$510, inclusive of airport transfers, accommodations, 10 boat dives and full-board meals.  Interested parties can email

To register online, please click here.

Like the 2nd Anilao Underwater Photo Competition Festival on Facebook, here


Media & Communications Service
+632  459-5200 to 30 locals 509, 510

Dive – Market Development Group
+632 459 5200 loc. 520

Major Sponsors:


Local Government:Units:

Municpilaity of Mabini, Batangas
Province of Batangas


Underwater Macro Photographers Group

Media Partners:

EZ Dive
Underwater World
Undersea Travel

For a full list of event sponsors, please click here.