TWENTY-FOUR professional and amateur photographers from diverse backgrounds emerged as grand winners of Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation’s (Pagcor) 4th National Photography Competition.
This year’s roster of winners includes government employees, high school teachers, a mall operations supervisor, and a photo correspondent, among others.
The contest is divided into two categories: the Conventional Category, for photos taken with traditional cameras like DSLRs; and the Mobile Category, for photos taken using all types of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. Twelve winners were chosen for each category.
Themed “Throwback,” this year’s photo competition aimed to highlight Filipinos’ traditional way of life, time-honored cultural practices, food, traits, celebrations and historical sites.
Jose Ramos II, one of the winners in the Conventional Category, said it has been his dream to win in the Pagcor photo competition because of the contest’s prestige.
His winning entry, titled “Sayaw sa Apoy,” depicts a traditional fire dance festival in Alfonso, Cavite.
“Through this photo contest, we can help generate awareness among the youth that we have a rich culture to preserve,” Ramos said.
Aside from Ramos, the 11 other winners for the Conventional Category are Richard Balonglong (Melodies of the Upland Folklore), Phoebelyn Gullunan (Pinoy Bayanihan), Rich Martini Absin (A Leap of Faith), Wilfred John Royce Cequiña (Gold), Ma. Milagros Laurente (Charcoal Making), Voltaire Montil (1,2,3 Go!) Gina Meneses (Dala), Dexter Bacani (Trompo), Jenevie Estrella (Jolen), Michael Dave Bognadon (Lawa-lawa) and Mariaeln Aguilar (Mga Nahuling Tutubi).
Miguelito Casim, a messenger and staff driver in a multinational company, said he was surprised upon learning that he was one of the winners.
His entry, “Saranggola,” is a photograph of Mayon Volcano taken during a visit to his mother’s hometown in Albay.
Other winners in the Mobile Category are Philip Am Guay (Throwback Flipping), Irez Quirodes (By the River), Nikki S. Victoriano (Pagbuburda), Miguel Soriano (Salbabida), Ricky Jabien (Safe Sail), Roi Anwar Abarintos (Jolen-Jolen), Joel Gerone Larupay (Vintage), Dennis Gamarcha (Talipapa), Michael John Cortez (Songhits Magazine), Efrain Jorque (Kadang-Kadang) and Adrienne Clara Bueta (Sungka-Tutak na Alaala ng Pagkabata).
Pagcor Assistant Vice President for Corporate Communications Maricar Bautista said the selection process was more difficult this year because “there were a lot of outstanding photos.”
“We observed that year after year, the entries that we receive are becoming more competitive,” said Bautista, also one of the jurors for the photo competition.
There were almost 4,000 photo entries, from different parts of the country, with 2,576 qualifying for the Conventional Category and 1,359 photos accepted for the Mobile Category.
Special awards were given to Rose Ann Laza (Mobile Category) and Wilfred John Royce Cequiña (Conventional Category) for winning the “Most Popular Photo” award in their respective categories.
All winners received a trophy and a cash prize — P75,000 for Conventional Category and P30,000 for Mobile Category.
Renowned cinematographer Romy Vitug, photographer Rommel Bundalian, and documentary photographer Wig Tysmans, and Pagcor President and Chief Operating Officer Eugene Manalastas also served as judges. Jaehwa Bernardo/INQUIRER.net trainee/KS