The starfishes of the underwater world aligned for me once again!

I am so excited because I’m going to be part of the Philippine Department of Tourism event: The 1st Anilao Underwater Photo Competition Festival.  The 5-day underwater photo competition kicks off on December 4, 2013 at Acacia Resort and Dive Center in Mabini, Batangas.

1st Anilao Underwater Photo Competition Festival

Anilao UW Photo Competition Festival

The festival on its first, of hopefully many, year aims to showcase Philippines as premiere destination for macro photography through an underwater photo competition. Apart from daily shoot-out, the week will also be filled with daily seminars to be given by the distinguished judges, who are all underwater photography world’s top celebrities. It is my hope that this festival will grow into a nationwide Dive Philippines Festival future. Check this post on Anilao Diving to understand why the festival starts in Anilao.

A. Classes

Open Class: Open to all participants using any kind of camera of their choosing. Published and professional photographers are automatically placed in Open Class.
Compact Class: Exclusive for participants using compact cameras without interchangeable lenses. DSLR, Mirrorless and Micro 4/3 cameras are not allowed.


B. Categories

Macro/Super Macro Photography: Any close up photo of any underwater subject using macro lenses and/or close up lenses.

Marine Behavior: Any photograph shot to display specific behavior of marine life underwater.

Nudibranch Portrait: Profile photos of any specie of nudibranchs, sea slugs. Flat worms are not included.

Portfolio (DOT photographer of the year): The winner will be judged based on the three main categories mentioned above.


C. Winners

• Every category for every class will have 3 winners: Best, Second Prize and Third Prize.
• There will be a total of 24 awards.
• Each individual can only win once in all categories main categories. The winner will automatically get the highest prize.
• Portfolio Category winner can win one other category prize.


D. Competition Mechanics

• The competition is open to all local and international, amateur and professional photographers.
• Each participant can only compete in one class, either Open or Compact.
• Each participant can submit a maximum of 3 photos, one in each category.
• Only photos taken on the shootout dates (December 4-8, 2013) are eligible.
• Only photos taken in Anilao (Mabini-Tingloy) are eligible.
• Images must be taken in Open Water. Photos taken in artificial environments such as aquariums and pools are not eligible.
• All organizing bodies, including DOT representatives, judges and volunteers are disqualified to join the competition.
• The judges’ decisions are final.


E. Conservation and Underwater Conduct

The competition will uphold the strictest standards in respect for marine life and will tolerate zero marine life handling. Any photos submitted displaying the following would automatically be disqualified:
1. Divers exhibiting destructive contact to marine environment.
2. Animals visibly stressed.
3. Animals in unnatural environments.
4. Animals being fed by divers.
5. Any form of contact by divers to marine life.


F. Post Processing

Post processing will be allowed for this competition with the following guidelines:
1. Minimal image manipulation (sharpening, color correction, removal of back scatters) is allowed.
2. Maximum of 10% cropping is allowed.
3. Masking, healing, and cloning are not allowed.
4. Original RAW, JPEG files will be required as reference to the finished photograph.


G. File Entry Format

• Competitors should submit both original and processed photos.
• Original Photos should be submitted in original filename (RAW or JPG).
• Processed Photos should be in jpg and renamed in below format:




H. Copyright

In submitting an entry, the participant, as owner of the photograph, grants DOT the use of his entry or entries, no more than two (2) years from Awarding Ceremonies for promotion of the competition in printed, slide show, video, and webpage formats, and for non-profit educational purposes. Copyright will be retained by the participant and recognition will be given.

Model releases will be the responsibility of the photographer.


I. Registration

• All participants are required to register at Acacia Resort and Dive Center prior to shooting.
• Registration can be made everyday from December 4-7, 2013, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
• Cameras to be used for the duration of competition must be presented during registration.


J. Submission

• Entries are accepted everyday from December 4-7, 2013, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Acacia Resort and Dive Center.
• Deadline of submission is at 10:00 a.m. of December 8, 2013.


K. Awarding

• Awarding ceremony and farewell party will be at Acacia Resort and Dive Center

Fees and Registration

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  • Pre-registration is on-going online. CLICK THIS <—to begin registration process.
  • Registration Fee is USD20 or PHP1,000
  • On-site Registration will be at Acacia Resort and Dive Center.
  • Registration begins December 4, 2013, 8 a.m.
  • Registration ends December 7, 2013, 5 p.m.



Whopping USD30,000 worth of diving and photo gear, resort and dive packages are in store for the winners.


Judges and Speakers

  1. Christian Vizl Mac Gregor
  2. Ken Thongpila
  3. Koji Nakamura
  4. Yvonne Ong
  5. Yorko Summer


Schedule of Events

Date/Time Activity Host Venue
Dec. 4, 2013 (WED)
3:00 p.m.

Photo Opportunities in Mexico

Christian Vizl

Monte Carlo Resort
4:00 p.m.

Underwater Macro Photography – Sharing, Learning and Inspiring Each

Ken Thongpila

6:00 p.m. Welcome Party DOT Secretary Acacia Resort and Dive Center
Dec. 5, 2013 (THU)
7:30 p.m.

Why we need to see live fishes in the water

Koji Nakamura Monte Carlo Resort
Dec. 6, 2013 (FRI)
7:30 p.m.

How to Get Publish in Ocean Geographic

Yvonne Ong Monte Carlo Resort
Dec. 7, 2013 (SAT)
7:30 p.m.

Nothing but Cute & Beauty

Yorko Summer

Monte Carlo Resort
Dec. 8, 2013 (SUN)
6:30 p.m. Farewell Party & Awarding Ceremony DOT Under Secretary Acacia Resort and Dive Center


Partner Resorts

The following resorts in Anilao are offering special dive promo packages of as low as USD499


US$499 4 nights/5 days dive package

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  • 4 nights twin sharing accommodation
  • full board
  • 6 boat dives including air and dive master


Wanderlass in Anilao


I’m back in the water after 1 year of not diving; and in Anilao after 2 years. I’m so happy to be taking part in this event as I have always been an avid promoter of the Philippines as a world class diving destination. Thanks to Jerome Kim, the co-champion of this event, who himself is an amazing underwater photographer, for inviting me.

I love surrounding myself with creative people. Photography is one of my passion, as well as scuba diving obviously, and it’s my hope that through association with these world class photographers, I will be taking awesome photos in no time, haha.

Some may recall that I blogged about a similar DOT campaign in 2011, the Philippine Dive Seafari. As before, I will be your eye in this event as I give you a blow by blow everyday. Follow me on twitter & instagram  as @wanderlass with hashtag #AnilaoDiveFest.

Follow: Anilao UW Photo Competition Facebook Page for updates and announcements.