World’s top divers to judge 5th Anilao Underwater Shootout

Highly anticipated by diving enthusiasts and underwater photographers from all over the world, the Anilao Underwater Shootout is back on its fifth year on Nov. 28 to Dec. 2, in Mabini, Batangas.

Considered the world’s largest underwater macro photography competition, the 5th Anilao Underwater Shootout is organized and sponsored by the Department of Tourism (DOT) and co-organized by Philippine Airlines (PAL). More than 200 divers from all over the world are expected to come together at this year’s competition.

Widely known as the “World Cup of Underwater Photo Competitions,” the 5th Anilao Underwater Shootout will bring six of today’s most celebrated underwater photographers to judge the competition. They are:

David Doubilet, esteemed National Geographic photographer, and co-owner of the photography company Undersea Images Inc. Doubilet has been awarded the prestigious Explorers Club Lowell Thomas Award and the Lennart Nilsson Award for Scientific Photography. He is also a member of the Royal Photography Society and the International Diving Hall of Fame;

Jennifer Hayes, aquatic biologist and photojournalist. Hayes has written numerous articles on marine environments and has had both her written and photographic work appear in publications such as National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, DIVE, Science, and many others. Hayes is a trustee for the Shark Research Institute and a fellow national member of the Explorers Club, New York;

The Philippines’ Scott “Gutsy” Tuason, whose book Blackwater Open Blue received the Underwater Photography Book of the Year award from the Underwater Photographer of the Year Organization early this year. His work has also won him many other awards, notably the Palme D’or at Antibes Festival in 2002 for the book Anilao, which he co-authored;

Singapore’s William Tan, a violinist with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra who travels between concert seasons to take photos of marine life for tourism organizations and dive magazines and resorts such as China’s National Geographic, Daily Telegraph, Scuba Diving, Marine Photo, and more. He has two published books, Gorontalo: Hidden Paradise and Silent Symphony;

Germany’s Tobias Friedrich whose works have been featured in prestigious scuba diving magazines such as US Sport Diver, Unterwasser, Tauchen, Scuba Diver Through the Lens, and many others. His photos have been hailed by Smithsonian’s Ocean Views, Ocean Art, Epson Red Sea, Beneath the Sea, and Celebrate the Sea;

Japan’s Yoshi Hirata, marine biologist and renowned underwater photographer who has been diving for 44 years now. Hirata boasts of over 26,000 dives done throughout his career. Today he remains an avid diver and manages his own dive resort in Cebu named Club Paraiso & Pcom Dream.

The judges will be evaluating photographs in the following categories: Macro/Supermacro, Marine Behavior, Nudibranch, Fish Portrait, and Cephalopod. The competition will also have two classes: Open Class for participants with any type of camera and accessories, in which published and professional photographers will automatically be placed; and Compact Class, exclusively for participants using cameras without interchangeable camera lenses. Mirrorless, SLR, and similar types of cameras are not permitted in this class.

Registration is ongoing. For more information about the 5th Anilao Underwater Shootout, visit and Registration and submission of entries for the competition proper will be held at Acacia Resort and Dive Center on Nov. 27, while awarding and closing ceremonies will take place at Camp Netanya on Dec. 1.

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