MAKATI CITY -- The country’s world-famous marine life will once again take the spotlight during the Anilao Underwater Shootout (AUS), slated in Anilao, Batangas, on December 1- 5.
This was announced by Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat during the Sixth Philippine Deep Blue episode organized by DOT and Dive Philippines, showcasing the country’s readiness to welcome back dive tourists and sustain its position as the world’s leading dive destination.
“The Anilao Underwater Shootout is not only a competition but also a platform to communicate to the world the importance of safeguarding our delicate reefs and marine ecosystems for future generations,” Puyat said.
Consistent with the gradual and safe reopening of the dive destinations in the new normal, organizers of the Shootout are pulling out all the stops to exhibit the country’s rich and vibrant diving industry anew and gather divers, professional and amateur underwater photographers, and marine enthusiasts from around the globe.
Comprising this year’s panel of judges are renowned underwater photographers Mike Bartick, Scott Gutsy Tuason, and William Tan, along with Underwater360 Group founder John Thet. Winners across the competition’s 11 catergories will be awarded prizes from underwater photography gear brands Nauticam, Scubalamp, AOI, XDEEP, Crest, and Fourth Element.
To safeguard Anilao’s unique and critical ecosystem, AUS will continue to implement a “no marine life manipulation” policy, a strict guideline that has set standards for other underwater photography competitions in the world. According to competition director Oliver Ang, the set rules and point system combined with the expertise of highly experienced judges from various fields are in place to discourage manipulated images.
The local community of Anilao will also be briefed to remind guests to follow proper underwater conduct and sign a code of conduct accord prior to the event.
The Anilao Underwater Shootout has been dubbed as the ‘World Cup of Underwater Photo Competitions’ since its first edition in 2013 in Mabini, Batangas to promote Anilao as a premier underwater photography destination and gather the most illustrious local and international divers and photographers in one venue. In its 2018 edition, over 220 contestants from 23 countries participated in the event.
Other local dive destinations that have already re-opened include Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro; Malapascua, Cebu; Dauin, Negros Oriental; and Anilao, Batangas.
More information can be viewed at the Dive Philippines Facebook page. (DOT)