Filipinos bag awards in Southeast Asian photo contest on agri innovation


LOS BAÑOS, Laguna, Feb. 3 –Filipinos won the second prize and People’s Choice Award in the 2020 Photo Contest of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA).

“The contest theme ‘Faces of ATTAIN’ is part of the launch of SEARCA’s 11th Five-Year Plan (2020-2025) focused on Accelerating Transformation Through Agricultural Innovation (ATTAIN),” said SEARCA Director Glenn B. Gregorio.

Michela Ramirez of Quezon City bagged the second prize for her photo showing a masked farmer tending to backyard seedlings, which reflects how many Filipinos suddenly turned to backyard farming for food and nutrition security when the country was put on lockdown due to COVID-19.

This year’s People’s Choice Award winner received over 2,300 likes on Facebook. The winning photo by Mauricio Victa of Baguio City shows a smiling boy and his grandfather holding sea urchins in Santiago, Ilocos Sur.

Myanmar photographers won the first and third prizes as well as a special prize for their photos of striking but tranquil market and farming scenes in their country.

The top prize went to Aung Chan Thar’s photo of 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.

Meanwhile, Coe Awgnsa’s picture, which won third prize, gives a peek into the life and dedication of a Burmese mushroom farmer. On the other hand, the SEARCA 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 Philippine Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary’s Choice, selected byDr. Leonor M. Briones herself, is a photo by 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 US$1,000, US$800 and US$500, respectively. The People’s Choice award received US$200, while the winners of the DepEd Secretary’s Choice and the SEARCA Director’s Choice both received US$500.

Dr. Gregorio said the six photos bested 1,522 other entries from 324 other professional and amateur photographers from 11 Southeast Asian countries.

“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,” Dr. Gregorio said.

The 14th edition of the annual photo contest ran from 1 September to 30 November 2020.

As in the past two years, the majority of the participants were from the Philippines, Myanmar, Indonesia, and Vietnam, which also reflects the composition of the 47 finalists.

The winning photos, the rest of the finalists, as well as previous years’ winners are on display on the SEARCA website.