A year after the successful run of the Selfie for Biodiversity contest of the Protected Area Management Enhancement (PAME) project of GIZ and the DENR-Biodiversity Management Bureau (DENR-BMB), the best new photos of Philippine biodiversity were again feted on this year’s International Day for Biological Diversity through the Selfie Take 2 for Biodiversity contest.

pame selfie for biodive largeWinning entry: “Mirror of Nature’s Grandeur” by Mr. Allan Jay QuesadaThe winning photos told stories of care for biodiversity through simple acts, such as following environmental rules during trips to nature parks and rescuing a fallen bird. The other entries conveyed messages of harmonious and equally beneficial coexistence among humans, plants, and animals; of the environmental roles of mangroves, corals, and waterfalls; of the pros and cons of water lilies; and of the joys of bird watching, fish-feeding, and tree-planting. The winning photos were also exhibited during DENR-BMB’s celebration of the International Day for Biological Diversity last May 22 at the Crown Regency Hotel in Ortigas City.

The photos brought to life DENR-BMB Director Theresa Mundita Lim’s vision that the contest would “not only show pictures of the beauty of nature, but also teach individuals the value of biodiversity.” Dir. Lim added that she hoped such learning experience would be remembered and shared.

The winners were treated to a knowledge-enriching exposure trip for two to any DENR-declared protected area of their choice.

Allan Jay Quesada, a second-time entrant of the national photo contest, is a certified outdoor enthusiast. His adventurous spirit did not stop him to continue submitting photos of his captured moments with nature. An architect by profession and a self-taught photographer, he won the grand prize for the amateur category with his “Mirror of Nature’s Grandeur” entry featuring the Mt. Bulusan Protected Landscape.

Last June 19-21, Allan was joined by his sister Lauralyn A. Quesada and traveled all the way from Metro Manila to Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape, General Santos City and Lake Sebu 7 Falls for his grand prize destination.

“My sister and I chose South Cotabato, specifically Sarangani Bay, GenSan and Lake Sebu. We wanted something different this time, something adventurous with a serene atmosphere. We were craving for a destination with a rich heirloom of culture but still safe and accessible. We were aiming for breath-taking landscapes and Instagram-worthy shots. And yes, we made the perfect choice. South Cotabato certainly did not disappoint,” Allan said as he also excitingly shared this memorable experience in one of his social media account.

Both DENR-BMB and GIZ have expressed high hopes that the lessons learned from taking a “selfie” with nature will have a lasting impact on the participants, with the end goal of having their actions replicated and even improved.

GIZ remains committed to helping the Philippine government protect its rich biodiversity while achieving inclusive and sustainable development for all Filipinos. #

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