Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation

Winner of PAGCOR's 1st Photo Contest makes surprise wedding proposal during awarding rites

Thursday | July 18, 2013 | 5:13 PM   [ view Finals gallery ]

THE announcement of grand winners in the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation’s (PAGCOR) 1st National Photography Competition became more memorable after one of the 12 grand winners used the event as venue for his marriage proposal to his girlfriend.

Winner of PAGCOR's 1st Photo Contest makes surprise wedding proposal during awarding rites
Robo Formacion surprised Caroline Kho - his girlfriend of eight years – with a wedding proposal during PAGCOR’s 1st National Photography Competition held last July 16, 2013 at the Airport Casino Filipino in Parañaque City. Formacion was one of the grand winners of the agency’s nationwide photo contest.

Robo Formacion flew all the way from Cebu City together with Caroline Kho – his fiancée of eight years – not only to receive his grand prize but also to propose marriage to her in front of the other grand finalists and guests of PAGCOR’s photography contest awarding ceremonies.

Twenty-six-year old Formacion has been a wedding photographer for the past three years. His winning entry to the 1st PAGCOR National Photography Competition is “Basilica Del Sto. Nino” in Cebu under the “Structures/Historical Landmarks” category.

Formacion was clueless that he was one of the grand winners. “I attended the awarding ceremony because I wanted to surprise my girlfriend after PAGCOR agreed to my plans of proposing marriage at the venue. Being one of the grand winners is more of a bonus. But I am overly grateful to PAGCOR for giving me this opportunity,” he said.

Formacion got very emotional and was in tears when he went down on his knees, brought out the engagement ring and asked Kho to marry him. Tears welled up from Kho’s chinky eyes as she embraced her boyfriend tightly and kissed him. “We are both nurses by profession. However, our love for photography made us choose that career. We are both wedding photographers. Madalas nagbibiruan kami na we always cover the wedding of other people… na kailan naman kaya kami. Kaya happy ako na this time, kami na ang ikakasal,” Formacion added.

Kho meantime expressed her surprise that Formacion chose to propose at PAGCOR’s photo contest awarding rites. “Wala talaga akong hint na magpopropose siya. Thank you PAGCOR! This is so unexpected. Hinding-hindi ko ito makakalimutan. Thanks too for recognizing Robo’s talent,” she exclaimed.

Apart from being one of the 12 grand winners, Formacion’s entry also won the “Employees’ Choice Award” after his entry garnered hundreds of votes from PAGCOR employees who participated in the corporation’s online voting nationwide.

The awarding ceremony of PAGCOR’s photo contest was held on July 16, 2013 at the Airport Casino Filipino in Parañaque City.

According to PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Cristino Naguiat, Jr., the grand winners of the agency’s first-ever photography competition exceptionally portrayed the best of the Philippines. “Looking at these beautiful photographs renewed our interest in the unparalleled beauty of our country particularly in its undiscovered scenic spots, its people and our unique traditions. We thank all the 5,554 participants who sent their entries. They made our competition very successful,” he added.

Winner of PAGCOR's 1st Photo Contest makes surprise wedding proposal during awarding rites
The grand winners of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation’s (PAGCOR) 1st National Photography Competition proudly display their trophies. Also in photo are (2nd row) PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Cristino Naguiat, Jr. and President and COO Jorge Sarmiento, and Mabuhay Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Simeon Ventura, Jr., (front row) PAGCOR’s AVP for Corporate Communications Maricar Bautista, Cinematographer and Urian awardee Nap Jamir, and Visual Communications Professor from UP Diliman Joey Tañedo.

Urian awardee and leading cinematographer Nap Jamir - one of the judges during the competition’s Visayas regional screening - congratulated PAGCOR for the success of its first photography contest. “With the scope and magnitude of the competition, it was very well done. PAGCOR is doing this for the first time but it seems they have been doing this for years. I commend PAGCOR for making a major effort in contributing to our national consciousness,” he noted.

One of the contest jurors, Joey Tañedo who is a Visual Communications Professor from the University of the Philippines Diliman cited that all of the grand winners deserve their awards. “Maganda ang lahat ng entries ng mga grand winners. They represent all that need to be represented in our culture.”

The other grand winners for the contest’s Structures and Historical Landmarks Category are Rolando de Leon, Jr. - a printing staff from a photo developing center in Navotas - whose winning entry is the “Parola” in Batanes, and Danilo Victoriano, Jr. - an entrepreneur from Antipolo City – who submitted the “Leaning Watchtower of (Baluarte) Luna” taken in La Union.

In the People Category, the grand winners are 43-year old civil engineer Mclloyd Jumpay from Oriental Mindoro whose winning entry is a photo of two elderly Igorot women while having a munch of strawberries at the Baguio Botanical Garden; 28-year old engineer Elmer Shane Lagumbay from Cebu City who submitted the photo of two kids while “sand bathing: in Malapascua Island, Cebu; and Dexter Bongo from Cebu City whose entry showed two Agta-Dumagta tribesmen in Divilacan, Isabela atop a tree while scouting for a hunt.

Grand prize winners for the Nature Category are Dave Andrie Orquia of Baguio City whose winning entry is a top shot of two Igorot children while washing the traditional “bahag” in Kalinga’s Chico River; 24-year old photographer cum illustrator Sherwin Ballesteros of La Union who submitted a photo of the serene Bulusan lake in Sorsogon; and Ernestina Jacinto from Quezon City whose winning photo is an awe-inspiring shot of the magnificent Asik Asik Waterfalls in North Cotabato.

Declared as grand winners for the Customs and Traditions category are Romado Javillonar - a 41-year old layout artist from Antipolo City – who submitted a candid shot of children playing the traditional game “Agawang Baboy”; Israel Gonzalez - a 47-year old surgeon from Iloilo City – whose winning photo was taken during this year’s Dinagyang Festival; and Reynaldo Mondez, a 30-year old web developer from Taguig City whose entry was a shot of children playing the “palosebo”.

Each of the 12 grand winners received P75,000 and a trophy while the 36 non-winning entries were given a consolation prize of P20,000 each. The 12 winning entries will be featured in PAGCOR’s 2014 Calendar.

PAGCOR also gave a special award to photo entries with the most number of likes on PAGCOR’s Facebook Page. Among the “Most Liked Photo” winners are Michael Li (Dinagyang Warriors/Customs and Traditions), Achilles Aeson Baldevia (“Beauty of Bacolod” for Structures/Historical Landmarks), Ryan Javierto (“Majestic Mayon Reflections”/Nature) and Mayumi Catabijan (“Making Fire”/People).

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