Quezon City, Philippines — The East Asian Seas Congress organizers today announced the winners of the EAS Congress 2009 Regional Photo Contest, which was organized by PEMSEA and co-sponsored by HP Philippines. Running from July 2008 to February 2009, the contest received more than 500 photographs submitted by 187 photographers from 12 countries in the East Asian region, namely Cambodia, PR China, Indonesia, Japan, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Viet Nam.The three grand prizewinners are: Youth Category - Mr. Rogie Eloise Abala (Philippines) for his photograph "Seaweed Planting," an interesting photo depicting seaweed farming as an alternative livelihood to fisher folks and their families; Hobbyist Category - Mr. Ee Cheng Lee (Malaysia) for his untitled photo that captured amazing details of a clean, serene river while a woman collects floating soda cans and Professional Category - Mr. Tan Ee Long (Malaysia), for his rendition showing interdependence between man and nature entitled "People and Birds Living Together in Peace".The grand prizewinners win an expense-paid trip to attend the East Asian Seas Congress 2009 including airfare, allowance, accommodations, and conference materials. HP printers will also be awarded to the 3 winners.The entries underwent two rounds of evaluation and were assessed based on relevance to the theme (35%); composition and creativity (35%); and clarity and technical quality (30%). The preliminary evaluation was conducted by each country's PEMSEA National Focal Point. Photos were narrowed down to the best entries to represent each country in the final evaluation. Thirty-three final entries then moved to the concluding evaluation carried out by a panel of judges comprised of respected environment photography experts and enthusiasts, namely Mr. Jose Ma. Lorenzo Tan of World Wildlife Fund (WWF-Philippines), Dr. Gil Jacinto of University of the Philippines - Marine Science Institute and Dr. Cora Claudio of EARTH Institute. Co-sponsor HP Philippines also participated in the judging, represented by its General Manager, Ms. Jenny Sotto-Siquioco."The array of photographs we received captured the actions and initiatives in sustainable coastal and ocean protection, development and management in the region," said PEMSEA Executive Director Raphael P. M. Lotilla. "We are happy with the response to the contest from such a diverse group of photographers, cultures and experiences. We are looking forward to showcasing the winning entries in the SEAnergies exhibit of the EAS Congress."Special awards are also given to entries that received the largest number of votes via online voting conducted in April. The Online Favorites are: Youth - Child/Odion 01 (Philippines); Hobbyist - Dried Fish at the Shore (Philippines) and Professional - Bakawan/Mangrove (Philippines).