Cebu Normal University (CNU) representative wins 1st Place in Civil Service Commission (CSC’s) Regional Online Photography Contest with his photo depicting the realities of education in the ‘new normal’.

CNU Medellin Campus Registrar Elizar Alburo was chosen to join the Online Photography Contest of CSC as part of the month-long celebration of the 120th Philippine Civil Service Anniversary (PCSA) in September.

His photo entry entitled, “Shine in the Darkness of the New Normal” bested 20 other entries in Central Visayas making him the regional 1st Prize winner.

Alburo’s masterpiece depicted the two different modalities of learning in the new normal – online and offline distance learning. By simultaneously depicting the two scenarios side by side, the photo effectively captures the stark realities of education in the new normal. 

The winning photo entry of Elizar Alburo that landed him 1st Place on the Civil Service Commission (CSC) Regional Office VII Online Photography Contest.

The left side of the photo depicts the online mode wherein the student uses a laptop and touchscreen phone as electronic gadgets to aid him with distance learning. Meanwhile, the right side represents the situation of those in offline mode with books as reading materials without an internet connection. 

Alburo said he wants to encourage students to have the willingness to learn and to continue studying even with the challenges caused by the pandemic. He said that offline mode can be an option for students without a stable internet connection rather than to stop schooling. This is the core message of his photo – for students to shine in the darkness of the new normal. 

“Against the light, but it’s worth the fight. Keep the light of your dreams come [sic] alive,” the caption of his photo entry indicates. 

Alburo also acknowledged that the feat was a product of a collaborative effort. He said the entry was conceptualized with the help of his colleagues and the support of Medellin Campus Director Dr. Grace Malaga to adhere to the online photography contest theme, Journey to the New Normal. 

The photoshoot was also conducted in the Library of CNU Medellin Campus. The models of his entry were children of his colleague. Personnel from the General Services Office (GSO) also helped with the set-up of the photoshoot.

Alburo said he was shocked when he knew he won regionally. He said that although he works as a freelance photographer as his sideline, it was his first time to join a photography contest. 

It is also the first time that CSC has conducted the Online Photography Contest participated by government workers in the country. 

Alburo shared that he was surprised when asked to be the representative of the University but took it as a challenge also and an opportunity to represent CNU. He said he is grateful for the opportunity and help given by the CNU Human Resource Management Officer, Mrs. Mary Margaret Cornejo.  

Alburo will receive a cash prize of P5,000 and attendance to any Learning and Development Courses offered by CSC Regional Office VII of his choice for free as his rewards.

Three best entries were selected from each of the 16 regions in the country and out of the 48 entries, three were then picked again as winners for the National competition.  

The participants were judged according to content and adherence to the theme, visual impact (including color and lighting), creativity and originality, and photography quality.   

“The activity was visualized to provide a venue for public servants to create, appreciate, and spread positive images that would convey the beauty and importance of living despite the challenges and uncertainties brought by the COVID-19 situation,” CSC Human Resource Relations Office (HRRO) OIC Director III, Atty. Krunimar Antonio Escudero III said. 

Escudero said that the photos sent as entries to the contest are a testament to the artistry and creativity of Filipino government workers.

The contest was organized by the CSC HRRO and PCSA Steering Committee.

The 1st CSC National Online Photography Contest Awarding Ceremony was held on September 15, 2020, and can be viewed in the Philippine Civil Service Commission Facebook page. (JDF)