RP Poised to be Asia's Capital of Ocean Imagery

The Philippines is set to be the center for underwater photography and video in Asia as the Department of Tourism (DOT) hosts for the second time the yearly Celebrate the Sea Marine Imagery Festival (CSMIF) on June 13 to 15 at the Manila Ocean Park.

Touted to be the biggest underwater imaging event in Asia Pacific, last year's CSMIF was held at the Coconut Palace in Manila and drew in a global audience comprised of professional and amateur photographers and filmmakers, environmentalists and diving experts.

Ace Durano, Secretary of Tourism, said, "Supporting the CSMIF strengthens our place in the map of international water sports sites. This allows us to encourage more divers and nature adventurers to experience the country's diverse marine life."

Working with the DOT in presenting the CSMIF 2008 are the Philippine Commission on Sports Scuba Diving (PCSSD) and Ocean Environment Australia. Event organizers have collaborated to hold the fair in the Philippines until 2009.

"We are very excited about this year's event as we will be setting up in the country's very first oceanarium. This is definitely a festival that visitors will enjoy as they learn more about the wonders under the sea," expressed Cynthia Carrion, DOT Assistant Secretary and Executive Director of the PCSSD.

The main highlight of CSMIF is the International Underwater Imagery Competition, the biggest marine imaging contest in the Asia Pacific region. Various macro, wide angle and black and white photographs, digital images, short videos, full-length documentary films and books on ocean life will be on exhibit during the three-day festival.

Event organizers have invited some of the top marine scientists and image makers for a series of seminars and presentations. Officiating the festival is Daniel Mercier, founder of the World Festival of Underwater Pictures.

BBC Blue Planet cinematographer Peter Scoone, coral scientist Dr. Carden Wallace, four-time world free diving champion Fred Buyle, and underwater photographer and author Scott Tuason will lead in the forums.

Also participating are National Geographic's David Doubilet, Jennifer Hayes, Dr. Phil Nyutten and Emory Kristof.

Launched in 2002, CSMIF is conducted in association with the World Festival of Underwater Pictures Antibes, also known as the Cannes of marine imagery. Participated in by 38 countries around the world, it is considered one of the major global conferences that help raise awareness and interest in marine ecology.

For more information, e-mail cts@oneocean.com or visit www.celebratethesea.com.


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