Dive in: Anilao reopens for Underwater Shootout

The ‘World Cup of Underwater Photo Competitions’ is back in hybrid form after a 2-year hiatus to showcase the Philippines’ pristine diving spots; Israeli photographers are welcome to participate online.

The prestigious Anilao Underwater Shootout (AUS) is back after a 2-year hiatus. It will be held on December 1-5 in Anilao, Batangas, this time in a hybrid form, to emphasize the country’s readiness to welcome back tourists and resume its position as the world’s leading diving destination.

The announcement was made by Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat, saying, “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.”

And to safeguard this unique ecosystem, the DOT further pointed out that AUS will continue to implement a policy of “no marine life manipulation.”

Tubbataha Whale Shark. Photo: Wowie Wong

AUS has been dubbed the ‘World Cup of Underwater Photo Competitions’ since its inception in 2013, when held in Mabini, Batangas, to promote the Philippines as a premier diving destination. In 2018, over 220 contestants from 23 countries participated in the event.

This year’s panel of judges includes renowned underwater photographers Mike Bartick, Scott Gutsy Tuason, William Tan, and Underwater360 Group founder John Thet.

Since the Philippines has yet to open to inbound tourism, underwater photographers from Israel who have visited and photographed the Anilao dive sites are invited to participate in the competition online and submit their photos on the digital platform.

According to DOT, the event will be live-streamed so that divers and photographers worldwide can still participate and attend the nightly underwater photography seminars held by the judges.

Tubbataha Reef. Photo: Beth Watson

The Philippines forms the northern border of the Coral Triangle, the center of marine biodiversity on the planet and home to many dive sites. Anilao is home to one of the most exciting dive sites in the Philippines, with amazing reefs and a rich underwater ecosystem. Some of the re-opened dive sites in the country include Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro; Camiguin and Malapascua, Cebu; and Dauin, Negros Oriental.

As we have already mentioned here on Passport.news (see below), Secretary Puyat has recently announced that the Philippines will host the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit in March 2022, with more than 800 representatives from around the globe. The summit will host key industry leaders and government representatives to further align the efforts to support the travel industry’s recovery and move to a safer, more resilient, and sustainable future.

For further reading:

7 beaches awaiting a return to the Philippines

More fun awaits in the Philippines


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