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what's the SHIT about DSLR use in the Philippines?

Several incidents happened this week which finally pushed me to write about this---something I have been planning to do for the longest time. The experience I had last week really got into my nerves. It was rush hour Saturday. 11.4.11 when I decided to take MRT line 1 from NORTH EDSA-Trinoma to Shaw Blvd. I was amazed at how crowded the station was and the anecdote told to me by one of my Korean students automatically put a grin on my face again. She remarked, "I thought the ones selling the train tickets are listing the names, addresses and contact numbers of the passengers that's why the line was so long when I took your MRT and it barely moved". Such was my fascination as well. As a Filipino, that's something I accept as a fabric of daily life in the Philippines and we learn to laugh about it......

Back to my experience, I was amazed at how crowded the station was so I removed my DSLR from my bag and started snapping photos. I was careful not to catch the attention of the guards as I know a confrontation will ensue should they find out I am taking pictures. Unfortunately, one of the guards noticed me. When I was inside the waiting area, I snapped another photo that prompted one of the male guards to blow his whistle "sabay turo sakin" Seeing him approaching, I immediately deleted the photos para dina humaba ang usapan if ever. He continue pointing his fingers at me and remarked, why are you taking photos? kitang kita kita, kanina pa kita minamatyagan!! (In an arrogant and strong tone as if a punch will be landing in my face next) I said, ""o ayan , denelete ko na, me problema pa? "" He mutterd a few more words I didn't understand as he went away. Or maybe I chose not to understand his words coz my mind was racing and asking "WHAT IS THE SHIT ABOUT ME TAKING PHOTOS IN THE MRT?"

I know it's prohibited pero SHIT, bakit nga ba bawal? 

what's the SHIT about DSLR use in the Philippines?


This happened prior to the events of 11.11.11 where a group of more than 100 photographers protested in Luneta in fron of Dr. Jose Rizal's Monument to call the attention of authorities about guards telling them that taking pictures of the National Hero's Monument is prohibited. The action was covered by major tv stations including Abs-Cbn and GMA7. The news spread like fire and hours later, a FACEBOOK page was created to push for the cause of the group., As of writing, there are already 4,769 members, mostly hobbyist photographers.

SEE Inquirer article here: .

The issue generated reactions from bloggers and has finally reached the authorities involved including The Department of Tourism (DOT) , The National Parks Development Committee (NPDC) and and the Intramuros Administration (IA). They issued a statement saying -----
"We wish to inform the general public that there is no 'no-shoot' policy in Rizal Park and Intramuros. In fact, we encourage the public and all visitors to take as much photos of themselves, document their visits, to talk about it and share it with their families and friends all over the world" --- FULL STORY HERE .
photo credit: jbsee ,lifted from the fb page of BAWAKmagSHOOTdito

PS: I was one of the bloggers invited by NPDC last time to promote the new Luneta and the move to promote the area is in contradiction to the realities on the ground

So if that is the case, what's with all the GUARDS  telling even hobbyist photographers that shooting is not allowed in places like LUNETA, RIZAL MONUMENT, PACO PARK and INTRAMUROS unless you have a permit? Clearly something is going on here. Let me rest my issue on the MRT first and analyze the issue about our public parks.


Porke ba me dalang dslr, professional photgrapher na? diba pwedeng hobbyist muna? It's true that we cannot put all the blame on the guards as they are only following orders BUT....they should also have the head to discriminate which one is a professional shoot and which one is not. Shooting with a dslr doesn't automatically mean you are already shooting professional. IGNORANTE lang ba sa dslr? Common sense, a professional shoot is one where there are other gadgets involved including a tripod, reflector, lights, a generator, and make up artists. I mean, come on, a dslr user on a backpack passing by taking photos? These guards should be educated. If what the administrators are saying is true,we should help send them back to school. They are better at doing what they are not supposed to do. Why not go after all those pickpockets in Rizal Park instead? And what's the discrimination with locals all about? 


Still on the parks. The administrators are to be incarcerated. Accdng to official statements: "A minimum fee collected for a permit for commercial photography in Rizal Park is P1,000, which is good for four hours of shooting. The fees go to the National Treasury and are covered by receipts" I hope its really covered by receipts so that it doesn't go straight to the pocket of the administrators who issue the ORDER to the GUARDS to prohibit shooting without permit.


And who have thought about that policy of paying should you decide to do commercial shoot in the park? Is it the law or it was just made up by some brilliant people who are good at BUSINESS? Maybe they took the idea from private properties who charge for similar undertakings? The private property shoot I can understand, the PUBLIC PARKS, I don't see the point? So as the photographers can be extended assistance and security? Are you sure you provide such after issuing the receipts and payment has been done? I don't think so. And the rates are sky high. How can hobbyists sustain that when they only shoot for the sake of learning and not for commercial purposes. 

Bottom line is, ------it's all about the MONEY!!!! It's a lucrative business so people are fully engaging in it. That's what they want even the hobbyists would do, ask permits so that they could earn from us. Sana pag hobbyist and di naman pang commercial shoot wag nang permit permit at bayad bayad pa.



I would seek your advice here coz I am honestly not sure if  MRT stations are considered PUBLIC or PRIVATE. The reason I heard why they prohibit dslr use there is due to SECURITY.

DO I LOOK LIKE A TERRORIST TO YOU? DO the photos above show anything which could compromise the security of the place? So what's with the attitude of the guard in NORTH EDSA Station blowing his whistle and pointing his fingers at me as if I was holding a bomb?

If you are going to give a reason why IT's BAWAL, at least give us something BELIEVABLE .No bullshits Something we could bite naman. Come on, I don't need a dslr to blow up the area. All I need is to sneak a bomb trough the guards who use nothing but sticks to check my package. Those guards are useless unless you provide them with 21st century technology necessary for bomb detection. Ni baril nga dinila madetect (the security guards in SM know that). The only reason why there's no shooting in MRT yet similar to that SM Malls is because it's not a romantic place to shoot somebody. Mas sosyal sa mall kesa sa mga pangit na MRT Stations.

What they are good at is detecting DSLR users and intimidating them. Now spell inutil !!!!


I HATE the restrictions on dslr use in many areas of the Metro because we are left with very few places to cover as a result. In example, BINONDO-QUIAPO area which I find demeaning. Why, dahil don nagkalat ang mga street kids. And the place has become an INITIATION for new photographers. Like, if you have never done a PHOTOWALK in the area parang di ganap ang pagiging photog mo. And I hate that kasi sinu nga bang hindi matetempt na kuhanan ang mga BATANG YAGIT? I never did that coz I feel like it’s exploiting them. I take offense in that. Tas ang nakaka-irita —isasama pa sa International photo contests. Wala atang photo contest na wala kang makikitang entry from the Philippines ng mga gusgusing bata. And that is DEMEANING coz other contries perceive us as FILTHY and HELPLESSLY POOR because of our own doing as photographers. Yun lang. Sana, we showcase something good, wag yung puro mga batang nakatingin sa camera na puro uhog ang ilong and stuff. Just my opinion.:I donno who to blame, the authorities or tayo tayo ring photographers. :D

"If we want to change the way Manila looks, then let's change the way we look at Manila"- Carlos Celdran

“The Batang Yagit pictures have to stop . We want to promote the country by rendering pictures that showcase what we, as countrymen, have to offer”--Ms. Maricris Fabi Carlos (PiPho)'s a subject of another debate. :D

As I look at different discussions, there are hundreds of stories similar to my experience. Which show how ignorant this country is in dealing with photographers including hobbyists. I hope these recent events will change things coz if not, we will stay in this backward thinking which is keeping us in the DARK AGES in this very progressive, high tech and modern world.

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  1. ano bang makikita sa mrt na di pwedeng picturan? well rules are rules that need to be followed.

  2. I usually hold shoots at Rizal Park. We've never been reprimanded naman.. But one time, when a friend was setting up his tripod, dun na may lumapit na guard samen and told us that professional shoots need permits from their admin. When we asked if we can shoot without the tripod, okay naman daw. That was about 3 years ago, so I'm not sure if that knowledgeable guard is still in Rizal Park. I hope there were more guards like him though.

    Btw, joined the group.. :)

  3. Day by day, our society is getting more and more stupid. They do not trust their own security system kaya nagreresort nalang sila sa pagbabawal ng kung anong pwedeng ipagbawal.

  4. I think because of security reasons kaya bawal... sa Dubai Airport alam ko bawal din ata magpicture picture sa loob ng terminal kahit turista pa. Anyway, hindi ko alam kung bakit hindi pwede mag-picture sa Rizal Monument/Park, pano yung mga turista?

  5. Anton, as for public transport like the MRT I fully understand that because terrorists might use the photos to plot things against you or me. It would make them familiar with the place. Remember bombings that happened on Rizal Day?

    But for the parks or Makati.. that's BS...

  6. madaming bawal na wala namang mabigat na dahilan kung bakit.

    parang paradigm lang, siguro noon sinabi bawal kaya as years go, sasabihin na bawal kahit di naman talaga na-eexplain kung bakit labag sa rules.

  7. Somebody commented in facebook----The only reason I can think of why the use of DSLRs are being banned in public places by "authorities" is that they don't want pictures of their administrative shortcomings and corruption be taken in wide-angle hi-resolution shots with filters for manual correction for chromatic aberrations. ---yan din nasa isip ko. maraming tinatago kaya bawal dslr.:D

  8. PS: I was one of the bloggers invited by NPDC last time to promote the new Luneta and the move to promote the area is in contradiction to the realities on the ground

  9. regarding the public transport, im not really sure bakit bawal, its like the ones in public parks pag digicam cellphone camera ok lng pero pag slr/dslr bawal, anong diffrence? magiiba ba anyo ng lugar pag mas malaking camera gamit mo? with technology nowadays malilinaw na din ang kuha ng digicam and cellphone camera's mas high tech pa nga and mas mabilis nila mapapadala dahil yung iba may wifi na and smart phones could easily post them on social networking sites alam natin lahat yan.

  10. kung may masamang intensyon ang isang tao like terrorist... they won't use a dslr, they will use the spy camera things like ballpen camera etc.

  11. nauna yung FB group bago yung 11.11.11 photowalk. they planned it there.

  12. bawal magpicture gamit dslr, pero pag cheappangga na digicam or cellphone camera ang gamit, pwede?! haha

  13. puso mo.

    wala kang magagawa, like what you said hindi naman din kase nga lahat ng mga tao kilala at oriented sa kung ano ang kaibahan ng hobby at hobbyist sa professionals. my cousin is also a security guard, there are things na hindi nila nauunawaan kaya ipinagbabawal na lang ayon din yon sa company or administration.

    tama din yung isa, when he said kung ano na lang ang ipinagbawal, kase nga kapag walang knowledge ang isang tao you cannot trust them enough, but not to demean the manong guards -gets mo? sabi nga nung pinsang ko na security guard din, para nga naman wala ng masyadong sali salita bawal lahat! it may sound like ang ignorant naman nila.

    teka parang naalala ko sarili kong kabataan ah. lol

    pero yung sinabi ni kumagcow...that's stupidity naman on their part diba? kase kahit nga mobile phones me camera na pwedeng ipang kuha ng pics ang dali dali lang non, kunyare nagte text ka, bakit sila di pinipituhan......teka baka mapituhan ako lol

    ano kaya anton kung i-mount mo yang dslr mo sa magandang hitetch mong mobile phone? hehehe.

    i mean, terrorist, their job is to spread terror, picture or not.

    anyway, nobela na tong comment ko...hinay hinay lang anton. :)

  14. Hindi ko alam na may nangyayari pa lang ganito. :|

  15. Di ba sila nag iisip na ang daming high resolution na digicam ngayon at cellphone cam. dami ko nakikita sa MRT nun na nag tatake ng picture lalo pag puno yung area pero naka tanga lang ang guard. nung nilabas ko saken at nag shoot din ako pa nasita. sabi ko sa guard "Di mo ba alam na mas malinaw pa ang ginagamit nilang camera kesa sa camera ko?".

  16. happy to visit here friend
    from Turkey :)
    welcome too

  17. antonio... your heart... hahaha.

    agree ako sa ilan sa mga sinabi mo...

    pero oo nga napansin ko nga bakit pag di DLSR ang gamit pude, oks lang sa kanila esp sa mga public park o even sa museo... malungkot lang kasi sa ibang bansa ok na ok sa kanila yun, kung baga free adverstisement na rin pala sa bansa,,,

    pero wala tayo magagawa dun.. ika nga nila. batas ay batas...

  18. may gusto ako itry.. yung mga bagong dslr na maliliit ngayon (pentax,olympus and nikon).. kung masisita nila or hinde. if not, allowable talaga ang mag pics, if nasita, rules na ewan talaga

  19. obvious reasons why bawal sa MRT, security. Sa Luneta? why o why?

  20. Para namang museum ang MRT... Dati me and my friends were taking photos with a P&S sa MRT station, pinagbawalan rin kami. Tapos inaway ng mga kasama kong nanay, nanahimik si guard. Hahaha!

  21. Susme, sa Singapore nga at Hongkong na milyong-milyong turista ang nagpupunta (at di sila sigurado na baka ilan dun eh terorista na) eh hindi nila pinagbabawal na kumuha ng litrato sa loob ng MRT station nila (kahit nga sa loob ng train eh okay lang). Puro kalokohan talaga dito sa Pilipinas. Kaya tayo di umuunlad eh. Walang utak yung mga nasa itaas.

  22. amateur ako sa photgraphy nag shoot ako sa rizal park noon kasama ang kaibigan ko gamit niya ang Sony DSC H-7 ko (hybrid yung sony cam ko half P&S half SLR-ish)at gamit ko naman ang Canon 1000D ndi na kami nag dala ng tripod kasi hassle lang ito.. pero hindi ko alam na bawal pala mag shoot sa rizal park samantalang nalibot namin yung boung park kasama na ang Jap & Chines gardens pati yung martyrdom of rizal hind naman kami sinita ganun din naman sa Paco Park kasi sinama ko yung pinsan ko at kabarkanak (kabarkada na kamag.anak pala) ko dahil hindi pa sila nakakapunta dun dahil taga Binan, Laguna sila at paalis na din yung kabarkanak ko at that time siyempre may entrance fee yun gaya ng Jap & Chinese garden sa Rizal Park nag bayad naman kami ng entrance fee at hindi kami sinita ng mga guard.. ngayon dumako naman tayo sa Intramuros ay nitong nakaraang elaksyon ay nag pasya kami ng mga pinsan ko sa Paco, Manila (nakatira katabi ng Concordia College) na mag bonding kami sa Paco park at mag picture picture kami doon siyempre todo bihis sila (hindi naman naka dress at coat & tie na saktong porma lang, casual kumbaga) at saka kami pumunta ng Paco Park pero sarado ito nag punta na kami sa Intramuros.. akyat kami sa tapat ng Letran tas lakad papuntang PLM sa ibabaw ng pader sa intra, pero pag dating sa Baluarte de San Andres malapit na sa PLM ay nasita kami na bawal daw mag shoot dun at kailangan ng permit, eh wala naman akog tripod na dala at oo naka bihis yung mga pinsan ko pero yung get up nila ay casual lang naman.. so baba na kami at dumerecho na ng Robinsons manila para sumakay pauwi..

    key points lang ng kwento ko.. lahat ng ginawa namin ay hindi commercial photography, pang personal use lang (e.g. upload sa fb as album tas gawing profile pic).. another siguro kaya kami nasita sa Intramuros dahil sa get up ng mga pinsan ko na "pang photoshoot/commercial photography"? so its like bawal na din pumorma pag may lakad ka? edi mag pambahay na lang tayo kung bawal ang mapormang get up pag gagala tayo para hindi masita ng mga guard.. kailangan lang talaga na ma.orient ang mga opisyal ng mga pampublikong lugar, opisyal ng mga MRT at LRT, opisyal din ng mga malls like Ayala at SM malls para hindi hassle sa oras ng mga tao na may point & shoot na camera, hybrid cams or DSLR's ke amateur ka, hobbyist, o pro photographer..

    pero gaya nga ng ibang mga post dito sa mrt/lrt at malls hindi naman lahat ng may camera ay "terrorista" o "threat" na agad ang tingin ng mga guard sa kanila..

    we people who has any kind of camera wanted to preserve priceless moments that we would treasure forever and for future generations to see how beautiful ourselves,the places we go to, & our heritage on our time.. :)

  23. Hay Anton when I heard the news I thought it is absurd too. I don't know why they make stupid rules like this instead of focusing on making rules that actually help the citizens diba. Great! Before we can take photos at Rizal Park as much as we want. Now the tambay photographers there will surely secure a permit and monopolize the income.

  24. i have watched this photogs rallied in Luneta and i feel for them. seriously, it's sad because it's like my will of showing the beauty i see in such places, etc. is being taken a bit away from me.

    it would be okay if the guards or whoever is, should be more reasonable and knows more about the rules if there is. if it's not like main production to shoot any place, etc., i think it should be okay.

    about the MRT, it's just a rule to some, maybe check if there's "no photo-taking allowed" sign, if there is then that's the time you backoff.. :P

  25. I can totally understand why taking photos shouldn't be allowed in places like the MRT or LRT. Personally, I do not want my photos taken by some random stranger, especially when I have no idea where the photos will end up in. It's invasive and disrespectful.

    Of course, if I were in a park or any tourist spot, I should accept the fact that people would want to take photos. Heck, I would, too.

  26. I can totally understand why taking photos shouldn't be allowed in places like the MRT or LRT. Personally, I do not want my photos taken by some random stranger, especially when I have no idea where the photos will end up in. It's invasive and disrespectful.

    Of course, if I were in a park or any tourist spot, I should accept the fact that people would want to take photos. Heck, I would, too.

  27. bakit ka naman kasi mag-pipicture sa MRT? wala ka nman sa singapore or hongkong. In other words hindi ka turista. Buti sana kung nasa park ka, maiintindihan ko pa. Tsaka wag mo sisihin ang mga guards, trabaho lang nila un.

  28. The last part was what hit me the most. These senseless rules especially for Rizal park, Intramuros, etc. are one of the biggest reasons why we can't showcase the best parts of this country. Now, photographers are left with not much choice but photograph beggars and homeless kids. It's sad that it all boils down to corruption (if the fees don't have receipts).


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