HOME to rare underwater species, Mabini, Batangas was the location of the 6th Anilao Underwater Shootout, mounted by the Department of Tourism (DoT).
The event brought together more than 220 divers and underwater photographers from all over Asia-Pacific, Europe, and North America to showcase Anilao’s rich biodiversity and to promote the area as a world-class diving destination for all kinds of divers.
In the Open Class, Macro/Supermacro category, winners were Yun Na Thing from Indonesia, who bagged first place, with a photo of a wide-eyed fish, its vibrant orange color standing stark against the blurry background. In second place were China’s Cai Heng, and in third was Henley Spiers of the UK and France.
In the Open-Marine Behavior category, Dennis Corpuz from the Philippines took home the top prize for his photo of a shrimp struggling in the grip of a cephalopod’s tentacles. Brook Peterson from the US came in second, and Cai Heng from China came in third.
The Philippines’ Bebot Esteban bagged first prize in the Nudibranch category with her shot of a pastel-colored nudibranch. Taking the next two spots were Hong Kong’s Lai Kam Moon and Malaysia’s Mohan Thanabalan in second and third place respectively.
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 came in second and third.
For the Compact Class, the Macro/Supermacro category, the winners were Ericson Yee from the Philippines in first place, Narumon Pimsirinath of Thailand in second place, and Philippines’ Ex Liao in third place.
For the Marine Behavior category, Maria Nerissa Fajardo of the Philippines won first place for her photo of a translucent cephalopod against pitch black waters. Jayson Apostol from the Philippines took second place, and Korea’s Gyoungmi Lee settled for third.
In the Compact-Nudibranch category, first 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 took second place, while Ronald Dalawampo came in third.
In the Fish Portrait category, Regie Casia image of a fish opening its eyes and mouth wide open earned him first place. The two other winners were Sudong Lim from the US in second place, and Indonesia’s Ajiex Dharma in third.
Special prizes were given to Ria Crucero of the Philippines in the Special Beginners category, and China’s Cai Songda in the Blackwater/Bonfire category.
The Philippines took both DoT-PAL Photographers of the Year titles 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 tourism department since 2013, in line with the identification of diving as a priority tourism product in the National Tourism Development Plan.
This year’s panel of judges was made up of 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.