Los Baños, Laguna—A fisherman on a banca in tranquil Pulilan River raises a hefty, early morning fish catch -- This image was adjudged the best that captured the celebration of Southeast Asian agriculture and fisheries in the recently concluded 10th photo contest of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA).
A total of 1,263 entries by 284 photo enthusiasts, which includes 101 professional photographers from across 10 Southeast Asian countries were submitted to the 2016 edition of the annual photo contest. The contest was launched on October 2016 and ended on February 21. Of the total entries, about 300 photos qualified for the initial shortlisting, where 50 top photos were subsequently selected. This judging round was participated in by development professionals, including SEARCA scholars from various member countries who are currently studying in the Philippines. The selection was also posted online for netizens to choose the best photo for 'People's Choice' category. The final judging by professional photographers and experts from various fields selected the top 15, from where the final three winning photos were chosen.
Jose Melencio Brillo from the Philippines bagged first place with his photo of the young fisherman, while Raniel Jose Castañeda (Philippines) won second place, and Kyaw Kyaw Win (Myanmar) was third place. The people's choice award went to the photo by Herwin Barcelona (Philippines), who garnered almost 2,000 online likes. These winning photos and the rest of the shortlisted entries will be featured in SEARCA's publications and other materials that promote agricultural development and cooperation in the region. The gallery of winning photos and other finalists can be viewed online at photocontest.searca.org, and at the SEARCA Facebook page, together with the rest of the 50 shortlisted images.
On its 10th year, the SEARCA photo contest aimed to capture the joy and passion that Southeast Asian farmers and fishers, processors, traders, and consumers share as they harvest, process, sell, and partake of the fruits of the land and sea. Photo entries depicted the vibrant countryside along with the Southeast Asians who plant, fish, and harvest food and products.
The latest theme reflects SEARCA's celebration of its 50th founding anniversary in 2016 as an international organization that has influenced agricultural development in the region, by promoting cooperation in education, science, and culture in Southeast Asia. SEARCA is a non-profit organization established by the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) in 1966, with its headquarters in Los Baños, Laguna. As SEAMEO's center of excellence in agriculture, SEARCA provides to the participating countries high quality graduate study in agriculture. It also undertakes research programs that respond to the needs and concerns of the region specifically in agriculture, and disseminate the findings of agriculture research and experimentation. As it continues to serve the region half-a-century after its founding, SEARCA commits to foster an inclusive and sustainable agriculture and rural development, notably in member countries of Southeast Asia. (Monalinda B. Cadiz)