After rigorously screening a total of 7,389 photo entries from all over the country, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) has finally chosen the 24 grand winners of its 3rd Pagcor National Photography Competition.
Pagcor Assistant Vice President for Corporate Communications Maricar Bautista said the 24 grand winners came from diverse backgrounds yet they were all brought together in one occasion because of their love for photography and the opportunity to showcase their innate talent.
“We are glad that in this year’s photo contest, practically people from all walks of life took interest in Pagcor’s photo competition,” Bautista said in a statement on Friday.
“We have a housewife, a call center agent, government employees, students, professional lensmen and an award-winning photographer who has mounted his exhibits abroad. The oldest photographer who joined was a 79-year-old foreigner residing in Quezon City,” she said.
Bautista said the entries came from as far as Batanes, Zamboanga, South Cotabato, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, Misamis Oriental and Camiguin.
Of the 24 grand winners, 12 comprised the Mobile Category winners and the other 12 made up the Conventional Category winners. The Mobile Category includes photos that were taken using all types of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets while the Conventional Category includes photos taken using traditional or conventional cameras like SLR or Digital SLR, compact cameras and the like.
“Just like in our previous photo competitions, the winning entries this year went through an exhaustive evaluation process. The fact that they got the nod of our panel of judges and stood out from thousands of entries mean that they are indeed outstanding photos,” Bautista said.
Each of the 12 grand winners for the Conventional Category received P75,000 plus trophy, while the 12 grand winners for the Mobile Category took home P30,000 plus trophy.
Bautista said the winning photos will be featured in the 2016 calendar of Pagcor.
Award-winning freelance photographer Donald Tapan, who has staged various photo exhibits here and abroad, was one of the 12 grand winners under the Conventional Category. His entry, “Heaven on Earth”, shows the majestic view of the clouds while at the summit of Mt. Pulag in Benguet.
“This is my first time to join Pagcor’s photo contest. Nagpapa-salamat ako sa Pagcor dahil ginagawa nila itong ganitong photo contest na makaka-tulong sa pag-promote ng turismo (I thank Pagcor for holding this kind of photo contest that will help promote tourism) ,” he said.
Tapan also received P5,000 plus Certificate of Merit for winning the “Most Popular Photo” (Conventional Category). His entry got a total of 13,312 likes on Pagcor’s Facebook page.
Rocky Evans Llona, a clerical aide from Daraga, Albay won the “Most Popular Photo” (Mobile Category) for his entry “Relaxed and Calm.” His breathtaking photo of the Mayon Volcano garnered 10,912 likes on Pagcor’s Facebook page. Apart from the P5,000 plus Certificate of Merit, Llona is also a grand winner under the Mobile Category.
Another Conventional Category grand winner, Elvira Tankiamco, is a 50-year-old retired bank employee. She earned the judges’ approval with her dramatic photo of a family of farmers heading home at dusk after a hard day’s work at the farm.
Despite undergoing dialysis twice a week, Tankiamco’s passion for photography never diminished. In fact, it became her therapy and has somehow helped her pay for her medical needs. “The cash prize I bagged from the competition will help me with my medical bills,” she said.
Pagcor president and chief operating officer Jorge Sarmiento, who served as the chairman of the photo contest’s board of judges, said they had a hard time choosing exceptional photos since all grand finalists from which they selected the 24 grand winners are visually appealing.
“All the images we viewed were really impressive regardless of whether they were taken using conventional cameras or mobile phones. Every photo has a distinct story in it. Unfortunately we only had to pick the ones that were really outstanding in every sense over the others,” Sarmiento said.
Veteran photographer Wig Tysmans, who has been consistently invited to judge in Pagcor’s photo competitions, said the winning photos this year exceeded his expectations.
“Looking at the winning entries, it makes you want to travel to places where the images were taken. Ganoong quality ng mga litrato ang gusto naming makita dahil may epekto sa tumitingin (That’s the quality of photos we want to see because they have an effect on the observers),” he said.
Widely-acclaimed master of travel photography George Tapan who was also a juror during the final judging said his choice of the winning images was based on their unique reflection of the Filipino culture.
“Kapag sinabi mong tatak pinoy, ang unang-una mong titingnan sa litrato ay kung nagpapa-kita ba ito ng magandang kulturang Pinoy o kinunan lang para manalo ng premyo. Sa mga litratong na-judge namin, mas pinili ko ‘yung mga images na nagpapa-kita ng Pilipino ngayon,” Tapan said.
Tapan inhibited himself from judging the grand finals round for the Conventional Category since his brother, Donald Tapan was a Conventional Category grand finalist.
Aside from Tapan and Tankiamco, the other grand winners in the Conventional Category were Aldrin Cuadra (“Palaspas”); Meralco employee Lemuel Ragasa (“Pagkalinga”); housewife Phoebelyn Gullunan (“Mano Po”); government employee Raniel Jose Castañeda (“The Philippine Tricycle Overload”); camera technician Jose Maluya (“Farmer’s Best Friend”); Advertising Specialist Ariel Salupan (“Bato Balani”); events photographer Earl Ryan Janubas (“A Modest Means of Transportation”); store officer Mirasol Beradio (“Flicker of Hope”); freelance photographer Rhonson Ng (“T’boli Transportation”); and freelance layout artist Romado Javillonar for his photo entry, “Sabong”. Javillionar is also a grand winner in the 1st Pagcor Photography Competition.
Meanwhile, joining Llona as grand winners in the Mobile Category were Sales Supervisor Alfred Anthony Yap (“A Colorful Musical Culture”); college student Harold Jay Doregios (“Balsa”); Education student Kristobal John Gonzales (“Bulad” or “Tuyo”); government employee Lindy Vivien Aldaba (“Trumpo”); Art Director Mariano Sayno (“We believe We Can Fly”); Olegario Rillon, Jr. (“Balut Vendor in the Middle of the Night”); Computer Programmer Arlene Castañeda(“Pinoy Dips”); Andy Mark Coralde (“Playground of the Gods”); call center agent Anthony Into (“Tuyo at Champorado”), clerical aide Rocky Evans Leona (“Relaxed and Calm”); graphic designer Crisanto Etorma (“Of Flip-flops and Fun!”); and Dennis Gamarcha, a Qatar-based OFW for his entry, “Palengke”. IDL