All roads lead to Binondo as several members of the country celebrate Chinese New Year next week. As the city’s Chinatown, and the world’s oldest Chinatown, it is at the epicenter of festivities.
Through the years, after World War II, it has become a popular destination to experience the way of life of Chinese and Filipino Chinese who have found a home in Binondo.
A recent smartphone shoot-off, organized by Argomall, an online tech retailer, highlighted the vibrant life and rich culture of this historic district in Manila.
Four participants were handed various smartphones for the shoot-off, which were carefully chosen based on camera specs and features. Shaira Venzon, a project coordinator for a post-production company, was given the Asus Zenfone 5Z. Digital project manager Nina Yumul took the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, while college students Kyle Macorol and Jedo Dela Peña got their hands on the Vivo V11 and Nokia 7 Plus, respectively.
Aside from having to take clear and creative pictures, the contestants had to make sure their images were in line with the theme “Trust and Authenticity in the Chinese New Year,” which emphasizes the need to be able to trust and rely on people, things, services, and everything else without having doubts.
Starting at 9:00 a.m., the participants had two hours to scour the streets of Binondo for the perfect photo moment. While photographers usually carry sophisticated DSLRs on photo walks, the smartphones held their own in terms of quality.
The contestants were impressed by how the smartphones performed, as well as intrigued by the rich culture of Binondo. The setting allowed them to observe the daily, unscripted lives of people from all walks of life. They also got to see first-hand the religious traditions and how individuals showed their trust in a higher being and toward other people.
All four photography enthusiasts were allowed to use their respective smartphones’ editing tools to enhance the photos. They were also required to upload at least 15 photos on social media but must choose one as their official entry. They were judged based on four criteria: Human Interest (35 percent), Adherence to theme (25 percent), Composition (20 percent), and Creativity (20 percent).
Dela Peña’s black and white image of a fruit vendor handing over change to one of his patrons emerged as the winner.
His picture taken by Nokia 7 Plus, according to Argomall, closely captured the essence of trust and authenticity, as with the tech retailer’s advocacy of offering trust and genuine service to its customers. The exchange between the vendor and the woman radiates warmth and trust, it said.
Dela Peña took home P5,000 worth of Argomall gift vouchers and other stuff including tumblers, travel kits, umbrellas, and a brand new mobile phone courtesy of the brand partner. Other participants also received P3,000 worth of Argomall gift vouchers, mobile phones, and goodies.
According to Chief Argonaut Karel Holub, Argomall is already planning of doing another smartphone shoot-off.
“Argomall is looking at making this a regular event to teach more young people how to use their smartphones and other techs to show others the rich culture of the Philippines, and of course, to also encourage them to explore digital photography,” said Holub.