Filipino Photographers Capture the Depths of Batangas in Anilao Underwater Shootout 2023

The Anilao Underwater Shootout celebrates the art of underwater photography and serves as a platform for raising awareness about the significance of marine conservation.
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The ever-changing weather provided a dramatic backdrop to the annual World Championship Underwater Photography Competition, known as the Anilao Underwater Shootout. As the sun beamed in the morning, promising perfect conditions for underwater diving photography, the skies would turn gray by late afternoon, and rain showers accompanied by stormy winds would force divers to cut short their time beneath the waves. Nevertheless, the competition persevered, showcasing the participants' unwavering passion for underwater photography and diving.

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The Anilao Underwater Shootout is Every Photographer's (Literally) Wet Dream

Since its inception in 2013, the Anilao Underwater Shootout has been a flagship event organized by the Department of Tourism (DOT), aligning with the National Tourism Development Plan's focus on diving as a priority tourism product. Anilao, renowned as the premier diving location in the Philippines, attracts divers from all corners of the globe with its pristine waters, vibrant coral reefs, and a rich variety of marine life.

Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the competition continued to flourish, drawing 153 participants from 14 countries, including Australia, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Turkey, and the United States. This influx of participants contributed to the event's success years-long and sparked tourism activity in Anilao, boosting the local economy.

At this year’s shootout, an esteemed panel of judges, consisting of award-winning underwater photographers Aaron Wong, Brook Peterson, Franco Banfi, Rafael Fernandez Caballero, and Scott Gutsy Tuason, carefully evaluated the 426 entries submitted across the competition's 14 categories. The winners were rewarded with P1.7 million worth of underwater photography gear from event partners and sponsors, further supporting their passion for capturing the wonders of the underwater world.


Eric Javier emerged as the DOT Photographer of the Year in the Compact class, while Kim Kyung Shin claimed the prestigious title in the Open class. Louie Casapao and Roberto Corpuz were honored as the DOT Photographers of the Year Dive Guides for the Compact and Open classes, respectively. 

The Anilao Underwater Shootout celebrates the art of underwater photography and serves as a platform for raising awareness about the significance of marine conservation. Participants and enthusiasts aim to inspire others to appreciate and protect fragile marine ecosystems through the images captured during the competition.

The DOT, recognizing the country's dive market's immense potential, implemented programs promoting the Philippines' marine biodiversity and actively advocates for its protection and preservation. Usec. Verna Buensuceso, a representative of the Department of Tourism, expressed her enthusiasm, saying, "We are tapping ocean lovers and underwater photographers as viable partners in viable dive tourism development and promotion."

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Buensuceso summed up the event, stating, "Your presence here is a big boost to the promotion of dive tourism in the Philippines, and also to the rebooting of the travel and tourism industry in the Philippines." The Anilao Underwater Shootout stands as a testament to the resilience and dedication of divers, photographers, and organizations who share a collective passion for the oceans, fostering the growth of dive tourism while preserving the beauty beneath the waves.

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