It was again time for the annual walk for photographers around the world. With 1,117 registered walks comprising of 27,924 individual shooters, to say this event was huge was an understatement.
Walks were being filled off one after another but I held off joining for a bit, waiting for a more interesting one to come out of the woodwork.
Gruppo, a group of photographers from PiPho had registered a morning walk at Quiapo’s Muslim Area. This place had ceaselessly intrigued me every time I pass it, but was unable to check it out due to security concerns. I’m unsure if those concerns are valid, but that’s the impression I had when people talk about the area.
The walk leaders apparently have spoken to the elders of the community and were given a go signal for the group to photograph the Golden Mosque which is the center of the Muslim community in Manila.
I registered with no hesitation and got one of the coveted slots, the sign-up sheet was full in no time.
The itinerary of the walk was to shoot Manila’s three iconic temples; the Muslim Golden Mosque, the Basilica de Minore de San Sebastian and the Abbey of Our Lady Montserrat. It was quite a different photowalk to what I’ve been used to which usually revolves more on street photography than shooting architectural interiors of churches.
Although I had photographed quite a number of churches around the country, I can’t help but think how such photos would fare for the contest since the focus really of such is on street photography.
The day of the shoot arrived and I was surprised at the turnout for the event. The past two Scott Kelby walks that I’ve attended combined had lesser attendance than this current one. It seemed everyone was excited as me to shoot those three churches.
The shoot commenced at eight in the morning and ended at noontime. The day was cloudy with storm predictions announced the previous day. The group was able to shoot the Muslim Golden Mosque and San Sebastian without a hitch, but rain did dampen our walk as we were heading towards the San Beda Church. It did not let up even after we wrapped up.
Participants were then asked to submit fifteen of their best images, five each church for judging (stupid me submitted five images only, not listening closely to the instructions hehe). Ten of these would then be given prizes, and the top one would be the group representative for the Worldwide Photowalk.
For two years straight, I have won the Scott Kelby walk for the locale I’ve joined; Camanava in 2009 and Pasig City in 2010. This year, although I would of course like to continue my winning streak, I was not that confident of bagging the top slot.
The competition was so tight, the entries were really really good and I really had a hard time choosing my submissions since most of my photos were architectural shots and its quite hard to get emotions from architecture without people (again I forgot to ask the walk leader if it was okay to submit photos outside the churches or photos with the temple not the focus of the image, which it turned out was allowed).
So I submitted my five with hesitation, flew to Puerto Princesa and just left everything to the judges.
The winners were announced some weeks afterward and I wasn’t really shocked not to find my name among the top ten. I was puzzled though that there were only nine names on the list.
I congratulated the winners and was pleasantly surprised when our walk leader replied that I was also part of the ten. Wow. So that missing name was mine haha. The awarding was done a week after and I got the 7th place.
Although I may not have gotten the top award for this year’s leg of Scott Kelby’s walk (breaking my two-year streak hehe), I was still pretty elated that I at least got a place among the top ten. And more than the award, I got to walk inside the Muslim side of Manila and even got to photograph it; a prize enough in itself.