Filipinos bag awards in Asean photo tilt

A BAGUIO and a Quezon City resident have both won in the 2020 photo contest of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA).

Mauricio Victa of Baguio City was this year’s People’s Choice Award winner, receiving over 2,300 likes on Facebook. His photo shows a smiling boy and his grandfather holding sea urchins in Santiago town in Ilocos Sur.

Michela Ramirez of Quezon City, meanwhile, bagged the second prize for her photo showing a masked farmer tending to backyard seedlings. Her photo reflects how many Filipinos suddenly turned to backyard farming for food and nutrition security when the country was put on lockdown due to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.

SEARCA Director Dr. Glenn Gregorio said the contest theme “Faces of Attain” was part of the launch of SEARCA’s 11th Five-Year Plan (2020 to 2025) focused on Accelerating Transformation Through Agricultural Innovation (ATTAIN).

Winning the first and third prizes, as well as a special prize for their photos of striking but tranquil markets and farming scenes in their country were from Myanmar.

Aung Chan Thar’s photo got the top prize. The photo shows a colorful floating market on Inle Lake where fruits, vegetables, fish, flowers, other agricultural goods, textiles, carvings and other ornamental objects are traded aboard small boats.

The lake has slowly grown in prominence as a tourist attraction even though it is over 200 kilometers or about a four-hour drive from the Myanmar capital of Nay Pyi Taw.


Also, SEARCA’s Director’s Choice was Swe Tun’s photo of a smiling Myanmar lady working in a tomato farm near Taunggyi, the capital and largest city of Shan State.

The third prize went to Coe Awgnsa’s photo, which gives a peek into the life and dedication of a Burmese mushroom farmer.

Secretary Leonor Briones of the Department of Education (DepEd) awarded the special category, DepEd Secretary’s Choice, for the photo of Tran Van Tuy of Vietnam that features dragon fruit being dried in an oven before being packed for export.

The first, second and third prize winners received $1,000, $800 and $500, respectively; the People’s Choice award winner received $200; while the winners of the DepEd Secretary’s Choice and the SEARCA Director’s Choice both received $500.

According to Gregorio, these six winning photos bested 1,522 other entries from 324 other professional and amateur photographers from 11 Southeast Asian countries. The winning photos were posted on website.

“The ongoing pandemic looms over the future of the world, so now is the best time to highlight people working in agriculture and rural development and to celebrate their resilience and innovativeness in these challenging times,” Gregorio said.

The annual photo contest was the 14th edition that ran from September 1 to November 30 last year with the majority of the participants from the Philippines, Myanmar, Indonesia, and Vietnam, which also reflects the composition of the 47 finalists.