Just recently, the City Tourism and Development Office, in collaboration with the Iloilo United Photographers and Panay Digital Shooters, invited six international photographers from different countries to witness Iloilo Dinagyang 2020 and explore the City of Love.
Photographers Agatha Anne Bunanta from Indonesia, Sefa Ulukan from Turkey, Billion Lim from Malaysia, Kyaw Kyaw Winn from Myanmar, Kanok Dechavas from Thailand, and Edwin Djuanda from Indonesia were able to explore Iloilo City and witness the highly anticipated Dinagyang 360 performance.
Most were stationed at judging area number one, Iloilo Freedom Grandstand, while some were scattered in different judging areas. Moreover, they were also given the opportunity to spend time with tribe members prior to the Dinagyang 360 performance in a bid to know the Ilonggo people better.
Eldred Sollesta, member Iloilo United Photographers and Panay Digital Shooters share details about extending the invitation to foreign photographers through the City Tourism and Development Office.
“We’ve experienced the same. The reason why we’re inviting them is that we were once invited to other countries to witness their festivities and their tourism, and also their local experiences and that’s one thing we were not able to take advantage of here in the Philippines and in Iloilo City. That’s why we’ve collaborated with the Iloilo City Tourism and Development Office to invite them that they may be able to witness our festival here in Iloilo as the best Dinagyang, this year 2020, and they may be able to become ‘sharers’ of our happenings here. We’ve invited them to take pictures of every moment here in Dinagyang and they may be able to share it in their communities back home,” shares Sollesta.
Moreover, in an interview with Bombo Radyo, most of the invited photographers revealed that it was their first time in Iloilo.
“It’s my first time in the Philippines,” shares Sefa Ulukan from Turkey.
“I was invited by Manny because we shoot a lot together in Bangkok, Thailand. This is my first here. It is a really nice country. I love it. It looks like Bangkok,” shares Kanok Dechavas, a professional photographer from Thailand.
Moreover, Agatha Anne Bunanta, Director of the Art of Photography of Indonesia, shares how photography tells stories and promote tourism in a country.
“Basically, photography is something universal, especially at this time. I think everybody will agree that almost everybody now become photographers with their mobile phones and digital technology. I think a photo is one of the media to share expressions, to share about the country, to share about everything, basically. It can be representative of yourself. It can also be representative of a country if you want to promote tourism. It is universal and everyone can understand easily from a picture. I think tourism, in every country, it cannot be separated from photos because people are attracted by photos. Photos are a powerful force to promote tourism in one country and everyone can understand easily from that. And it should be shared globally, internationally,” states Bunanta.
“These days, as well, it is a borderless world. Because you can connect with people around the world through Facebook, through Instagram, and everywhere. The become borderless. Now, we are connected. So many countries, so many photographers around the world. That is actually something unique. To make the world smaller through social media, photos, and everything,” adds Bunanta.
In photo: Invited guests with Iloilo City Tourism Officer Junel Ann Divinagracia, celebrated Ilonggo photographer Manny Librodo, and Eldred Sollesta, representative of the Iloilo United Photographers and Panay Digital Shooters.