Top 10 Award-Winning Filipino Photographers in the United Arab Emirates

Top 10 Pinoy Photographers F

Migrant Pen’s choice of the Top 10 award-winning Filipino photographers in the United Arab Emirates include Mario Cardenas, Manny Fajutag, Architect Jeffrey Farannial, Cesar Julius V. Parroco, Jr., Donnel Gumiran, Buddy Gadiano, Engineer Roger Alfonso, Architect  Anthony Tario Austria, Michael Cruz and Architect Suzette Peachie Bayonito.

It was said that “competition is steadily increasing, but award winning photographers are still a rare find.”


Mario Cardenas

Competitions strengthen one’s photography muscles and just by joining, Mario Cardenas learned a great deal about photography. 

He bagged numerous awards now exceeding 70. The number is increasing. He is truly grateful for the abundance of blessings he received. In 2013,  he baggedTop of Form two major awards – 2nd place winner for Tourism Fundamental Theme and 3rd place winner for Marine Environment Theme – for Shots from Al Gharbia Photography Competition. His photo entries numbering about 8 had been included in the exhibition held last June 5-8, 2013 at Madinat Zayed Hall and the same had been published in Al Gharbia Book 2013.

He took the IDocumentary Awards and Performance Award for UNESCO and CFPA-Humanity Photo Awards 2013 in China, Gold Award and four Silver Awards for Photograph of the Year 2013 in Australia, three Bronze Awards for EPSON Pano Awards 2013 in Australia, and two Gold Awards for Trierenberg Super Circuit in Austria. He was 1st place winner for Sheikh Zayed Humanitarian Photography Competition.


Manny Fajutag

Despite his stature as a multi-awarded photographer based in Abu Dhabi, Emmanuel “Manny” Fajutag works as VIP Helicopter Mechanic for a living.This native of Simara Island in Romblon has gone far.

He was chosen as one of the Ani ng Dangal awardee by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) for achieving the highest levels of artistic excellence in visual arts and bringing honor to the country. The award was presented by NCCA Chairman Prof. Felipe M. De Leon Jr.

The Ani ng Dangal or “Harvest of Honors” is an annual affair in the Philippines celebrated as a highlight and concluding rite of the Philippine Arts Festival. With this award, Manny joined the ranks of former recipients Nora Aunor, Sarah Geronimo, Jericho Rosales and Lea Salonga. It is given to a natural-born Filipino artist or group that has reaped top honors in international events. Its coverage includes the seven art disciplines: Architecture and Allied Arts, Cinema, Dance, Dramatic Arts, Literary Arts, Music and Visual Arts.

 Manny won in the Open Travel category of the 2013 Sony World Photography Awards. He competed with the nine other open category winners for the Sony World Photography Awards Open Photographer of the Year title.


Jeffrey Farannial

Jeffrey Faranial is a Licensed and Registered Architect in the Philippines. He’s presently a Visualization Director, a post he holds since 2012 at the Kristina Zanic Design Consultants. He earned his degree in Bachelor of Science in Architecture (2003) from the Technological Institute of the Philippines. He was a Consistent Dean’s Lister and University Scholar.

His first photo exhibit was held five years ago. It was a two-week display to showcase a theme about Bahrain, their lifestyle, culture and the local way of living. Some of the projects he has done were being commissioned to do an interior and exterior  photography such as hotels, show-flat for residential development, car showrooms, golf and country clubs, private yachts, banks, food and beverage and quite a few of corporate office. He is also in partnership with some travel companies who are constantly updating their marketing materials.

His awards include HIPA – Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award  2nd Place Winner – Best Photo of Al Marmoum competition and Gulf Air Photo Competition  1st Place Winner – November 2010


Cesar Julius V. Parroco, Jr.

Cesar Julius V. Parroco, Jr. is one Filipino overseas who has earned respect and admiration from the locals and his fellow expatriates. He had been in Dubai for 14 years and counting the days he first set on the desert, there is no question that he had achieved much for his family and the Filipino community.His appointment as Manager of Technical and Web Communications allows him to travel in and out of the United Arab Emirates almost on a weekly basis. He juggles a dual role which to him is “both challenging and exciting.”

“Since everything now is digital, the focus of the company’s marketing activities is into this arena and I am filling the role of managing its online strategy that includes its social media network not only in the Middle East but as well the whole of Africa.”


Donnel Gumiran

Inspired by what is yet to be discovered, Dubai-based artist Donell Cablas Gumiran has proven to his global following that dreaming plus positive actions result to success. For his extraordinary achievements, he was chosen as Brand Ambassador of Fujifilm Middle East in 2014. Donell, 41, is presently the Design Director/Senior Art Director of The MOB Advertising Agency.


Buddy Gadiano

Buddy Gadiano is one Filipino lensman we can always be proud of. From being a storekeeper and dispatch officer of a foodstuff manufacturing company, he was able to save money to buy his camera.

Since then, this native of Palawan was able to establish a name overseas as a multi-awarded photographer. This year 2014, he won 1st Place in the ART4SIGHT organized by Noor Dubai Foundation. He took the 3rd spot in the Khalifa Award – Date Palm through the eyes of the World Photography Competition in Abu Dhabi.

His shots can be likened to glittering gems that keep burning in the hearts of his subjects. A global achiever with inimitable thirst for artistic excellence, he sparkles like diamond in Dubai.


Roger Alfonso

This 32-year old native of Guagua, Pampanga could have been a rock star and a guitar player.The magnet of camera though has opened his eyes to a great, wonderful world. 

Roger P. Alfonso has won in major photography competetions. In 2013, he was first place in the Architectural Sub Category of the Mansoor Bin Mohammed Photography Award. In the same year, he was declared Grand Prize winner in the Nikon MEA Gitex Photo Challenge.


Anthony Tario Austria

This Filipino achiever works as an architect and visual artist for a consultancy company in Abu Dhabi.Outside of his regular workload, he embarked on a mission to contribute to the world of arts. In his journey, he has proven that poverty can never be a hindrance to reach one’s dream. Instead, it was an inspiring factor for him to courageously pursue with much vigor and commitment his desire to be on top.

As a well-respected photographer in Middle East, it was never hard for Anthony Austria to be recognized on a global scale. He took the first spot in the 2014 Western Region Al Ghabria Photography Competition and Sharaf DG World Photography Celebration Photography Competition. He was Grand Prize Winner of the Arabian Eye Street Photography Competition. He was also a winner in the Tokyo International Vaccine Institute Photo Awards.


Michael Cruz

Michael R. Cruz is   an official Fujifilm X-Photographer and very humbled to be part of a prestigious list of photographers around the world. Some of them are his photography heroes so he’s quite proud of that as well.

He won 3rd place in Emarati Skyline Category at Al Mansoor Photography Awards, one of the major photography competitions. “I usually don’t join competitions but this win inspired me to join other major competitions.”


Suzette Peachie Bayonito

Photography has been a blessing to her. “I continuously receive assignments in events, wedding and portraits. She also updates her portfolio from time to time.”

She was featured in the Nikon Middle East & Africa website. In 2013, she won in the Traveler Arabia and received Special Merit in the International Cityscapes Art Competition.Suzette is actually working fulltime as an architect.


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