Charity Sale: This Longtime Makati-based Photography Club is Helping Children in Bulacan Get an Education - Lifestyle Asia

Zone Five Camera Club is holding a virtual exhibit, the proceeds of which will benefit Assumption Development Foundation.

Zone Five Camera Club (ZVCC or Zone V) is a group of individuals with a shared passion for the art of photography. Their aim, to elevate the art in its varied forms and to find a community steeped in learning and camaraderie. 

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Because of the challenges that the world is facing today, ZVCC felt the need to help alleviate through their art. ZVCC will be holding an online exhibit and charity sale at Zonev.org, which runs until 31, 2021.

Called ‘Images of H.O.P.E.’ (HELPING OTHERS PROSPER & EXCEL), the event will showcase some of the best still camera work by Zone V. Proceeds from the sale will benefit Assumption Development Foundation (ADF), a non-profit organization dedicated to the learning development of select youths of Sapang Palay, Bulacan.

For more than 40 years since its formation, Zone V has grown in both membership numbers and craft skill, with many among its members receiving local and international acclaim in photography competitions.

The Club is passionate in their pursuit for photography as a pure artform, and firm on the belief in the medium as a conduit for making a positive difference in people’s lives. ADF is one of many advocacies.

Teaching children

Established in 1966, ADF was created out of necessity. Thrust into no man’s land, around 20,000 informal settlers were moved from Manila to Bulacan, and lacked the most basic of needs. 

“Dired Sapsap,” by Jun Bongat

A Carmelite Missionary and Assumption College San Lorenzo set up a school to provide education for Grade 1 to 6 children. ADF became a foundation in 1995, whose mission is to “help disadvantaged children by breaking the cycle of poverty through education.”

An ADF website post in November 2009 said that more than 586 high school students and 162 college students have graduated from the program.

‘Images of H.O.P.E.’ aims to sell 200 prints and raise at least P300,000, which will be used to buy computer equipment for ADF scholars. The prevalence of remote learning in the new normal makes computers a critical and indispensable education tool. 

ZVCC’s ultimate goal is to build a learning hub at ADF. Earlier in the year, the Club partnered with PLDT to connect the ADF facility with fiber connectivity. 

With the coming addition of the computer sets, ADF scholars soon have a fully-functioning digital learning center.

Going virtual

ZVCC members stay sharp by holding friendly competitions as a way of recreation as well as challenging one another every month.

From its regular meetings and photo contests held at the Old Swiss Inn at Makati, the Club reached an impressive milestone when it transitioned onto online platforms in the first quarter last year due to pandemic lockdowns.

Landscape by Allin Santiago

The onset of COVID-19 shifted most everything to the virtual world, thus Zone V developed ZHub, the club’s website Zonev.org to serve as its virtual hub. 

It catalogs all Club activities namely monthly contest winners, newsletters, the Z Academy – a learning platform consists of artist talks and workshops headed by Jeff Dytuco, and member’s galleries – all of which are collectively designed to drive traffic into Z-hub website.

ZHub will serve as the stage for the ‘Images of H.O.P.E.’ exhibit/charity sale. 

Featured will be color and black and white prints from its 50 members, including the club’s ambassadors. This is composed of Jay Camus, Manny Inumerable, Cha Pagdilao, James Singlador, Danny Yu, and Ruben Castor Ranin, who was himself a recipient of an ADF scholarship.

Artist ambassadors

Combined with his discerning eye for visual arts, Camus has always wanted to capture beauty. Though he came across Zone Five at a 1993 exhibit, it wasn’t until about a decade later that he officially joined. He eventually became club president. Camus enjoys macro shooting the most, especially creating experimental, conceptual, and abstract images.

Another former ZVCC president, Inumerable was introduced to photography when he was 12 years old with an inherited Royal 35M rangefinder. His favorite subjects are landscapes and human interest. His biggest pride is his collection of amazing antique cameras, which are housed at their ancestral home turned museum, the “Galleria Taal” in Batangas.

Photography has been profoundly transformative for Pagdilao; making simple everyday experiences fuller because of newfound keenness to details and the realization that there is beauty all around. She is the current chair of the Federation of Photographers of the Philippines Foundation Photo (FPPF) World Cup 2021, and is on her second term as president of ZVCC.

A recipient of the “Ani ng Dangal,” a prestigious award given out by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Singlador’ images represent his advocacy for environmental and nature conservation and a passion for travel and mountaineering. 

He has also won numerous awards from international photography competitions and was once the president of the FPPF Photo World Cup.

“Ethereal,” by Noel Casaje

Yu had been shooting since the days of film before settling down to start a family. Now that he’s retired, his interest in photography was rekindled as a hobby. His favorite genres are travel and street photography. He is the former president of Copacabana Apartment Hotel and chairman of Copa Holdings, and also a former president of Zone Five.

As mentioned, Ranin is a proud scholar and product of the Assumption Development Foundation. He indulges in photography as a hobby and his interest in landscape and travel photography began during his mountaineering days in 2012. 

His images have received numerous accolades, and he founded a couple of photography clubs before joining ZVCC as part of his personal advocacy.

“Silhouette,” by Bong Venavent

“At Zone V, we believe that photography as a creative outlet is not a means to an end. And so we’re using our passion to contribute to change,” says Pagdilao. “Yes, ‘Images of H.O.P.E.’ is a showcase for the talents of ZVCC’s membership. But more than that, it’s a way for us to use these talents in helping the community.” 

At the moment, ADF has 287 high school students in four high schools at Sapang Palay. It also provides assistance to 173 college students attending different universities, state colleges, and institutes. 

“Zone V invites all art buffs, collectors, and photography enthusiasts to please join us in this worthy cause,” Pagdilao adds. “Together, we can push to make a change for the good one print at a time.”

Banner Photo: “Ang Mga Pag-Asa ng Bayan,” by Manny Inumerable

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