Monday, April 12, 2010


I won a local photography contest, ranked 2nd out of 179 entries. Winners were announced last November 5, 2009. But until this very moment, I haven’t received the prize money of 20,000 pesos (equivalent to US$450 or 40,000 Yen).


behind smiling masks
inner colors dimmed and dark
emotions unmasked

Last October 2009, I went home to attend my brother’s wedding and at the same time, to experience the revelries of MassKara Festival. I saw a poster about a MassKara-related photo contest. To make the story short, I joined and submitted my entries and other requirements before my flight back to Japan. Bodyshot Photography is the contest organizer (though on articles it says PhotoPROS, Inc) and informed me that all entries will be exhibited at SM City Bacolod from Nov 2 to Nov 8. Judging and announcement of winners will be on Nov 5.

November 7, 2009. My brother went to SM to check whether the exhibit is still on-going. And then he thought that one of the winning photos was mine. He went home immediately, took his camera and sent me this photo. It was my shot. I told him that maybe the organizers will send a notification mail or will make a call informing that I won. Nothing. No call. No mail. For the past 14 days.

I started to think that maybe it wasn’t my photo after all. Perhaps somebody submitted a very similar photo to mine. Since I didn’t receive any notification, I googled the theme and lead me to this site, Winners of MassKara Photo Contest. This is the only confirmation I have. My only evidence even with my name incompletely written. It was my photo and made me wonder why I haven’t received any sort of notice.

Moving on, I instructed my younger brother to call Bodyshot Photography for confirmation. After asking my brother loads of questions, they confirmed that I won but advised my brother to wait for the official notice / call from the sponsor since they didn’t have the prize money yet. After three days, my brother called again to follow-up the status. This time they told him to check the Negros Daily Bulletin, a local newspaper, since they will be publishing the names of winners soon. Since then, my brother bought newspaper every day for two weeks. Nothing. Negative. I told him, just call them one more time and asked them about the status. He obliged. The organizer told him to contact EPSON, the main sponsor, for the said prize.

Next chapter. December 10, 2009, I sent an email to an EPSON representative (ER) and after some introduction, I ended my mail with

“In this regard, I would like to know how can I claim my prize? Or will EPSON send some notification to the winners?”.

And within minutes, I received a reply from her, thanked me for participating and congratulated me for winning. That was my second evidence. A good start, I thought. A little later, she informed me that she contacted NIKON for my prize money. Come again? From EPSON to NIKON through Columbia Digital. According to her, NIKON is in-charge of my prize will be contacting me as soon as.

December 14, 2009. ER asked me for my account number and bank information as required by NIKON guy (NG). She ended the email with

“Maybe I'll just email you once Nikon has deposited the prize already”.

I was still hopeful and sent the required details immediately.

December 27, 2009. I inquired about the update. The next day, ER told me that she’ll follow up with Nikon and will give me feedback ASAP.

Then it was 2010.

January 11, 2010. I followed-up the status again to ER. She was surprised that NIKON hadn’t contacted me yet. She thought everything was settled.

January 18, 2010. Another follow-up was sent.

January 29, 2010. This time, she gave me the email of NG. I told her I’ll wait for another week before I’ll email NIKON. Still no word from the sponsor.

February 10, 2010. I decided to email NG, summarizing what has transpired between me and ER since December 2009. But I haven’t received any reply from him. Zilch. I emailed him again last February 15, 2010 asking for some acknowledgment. Nothing. I am not sure if its too difficult for him to hit the reply button or he is just too lazy to do it.

Feb 19, 2010. I informed ER about this (although she might very well knew since she was included on those emails). I told her that I am already getting frustrated. The EPSON rep told me that even she transferred division already she still followed-up NIKON every time I sent an email.

March 8, 2010. I sent another follow-up mail to ER. No reply from her. Sent one again last March 22, 2010. A part of her email, baffled me actually

“I really don't know what's happening. Epson gave the prizes to the others (the ones we were supposed to give prizes to last year already)”. So, all winners received their prizes other than me. WOW! "

March 22, 2010. A friend of mine contacted EPSON via its website and was able to talk to ER. She reiterated that NIKON was in-charge of my prize.

March 23, 2010. ER informed me that her colleague will have a meeting with NIKON and will raise this issue.

March 25, 2010. A rather disturbing email came from ER.

“We followed-up with Nikon and they said it's being processed. No date was given still. :(“

April 3, 2010. I expressed my frustration and puzzlement about this. And last April 4, 2010 I received an email from ER.

“I'm honestly personally frustrated as well. It is truly surprising that they cannot award this right after the announcement of winners. Epson has done it. We have awarded our winners. I'm truly sorry for this.

I really have no means of doing anything more. All we can really do is follow-up with Nikon. I don't know what to say. They have been telling us since the first time you emailed me that they are processing the payment already. “

That's it. That triggered me to write this blog entry.

From here on I don’t know how to follow-up anymore as more or less I will be receiving the same replies. In 6 months time, Bacolod City will be having its MassKara Celebration again yet my prize money is still in limbo.

And as mentioned earlier it seems that I am the only unlucky winner of this event as everyone else received his / her prize.

This is my first win in any photography contest and thought it would be special. But it turning out to be the other way around.

Who is to be blamed here? I am really disappointed and frustrated about how this contest was handled. As a participant I have done my share and organizers as well as sponsors should do theirs too. First, the organizers should have anticipated issue like this and have done any counter measures to avoid it.

To the sponsors, this is one of your marketing strategies. Your names are displayed on the posters and I guess that’s one way of returning the favor from your sponsorship. Once you commit, have your word to it.

I am not yet sure what would be my next step in order to claim the prize. Yes, that 20,000 pesos which I won fair and square.

Any advice?



  1. sabi kasing lumipat ka na ng Canon eh. ayan, inapi ka ng brand na pinakamamahal mo. heheh Nway, I think you should write the overall organizer of the Masskara Festival - dapat kasi, bago nila payagan mag pacontest ang isang grupo, sinigurado nilang ready na yung prize. tapos, padala na rin tayo ng demand letter.

  2. well, this is something bad for the sponsors.
    first of, they should be prepared since they agreed to be a sponsor right? so they should have set aside the budget for the prize already!


    "nikon kasi" bwehehehe! kidding ;P

  3. whoops. torni posted first. parehas lang kami ng sinabi.

    go canonistas! LOL HAHAHAHAHA!

    post na sa fb to!!!

    well i really hope they give you your prize ALREADY!!!!!!

    kelangan talagang mag ingay muna bago gawan ng aksyon ano? gusto pang mapapahiya eh.

  4. Wala pa yata akong nababasang issue tungkol sa Pentax, hahaha. Goodluck Johnny, nasa likod mo kami :-D

  5. @torni, di ko nga sinabi na Nikon user ako e haha. pede ba kita kuning abogado?

    @katek, sana. i was very patient. pero the tone of uncertainties on their replies prompted me to write this blog.

  6. tama si attorney wahaha... itawag na sa pulisya yan! hahaha..

  7. They are supposed to be responsible and organized in sponsoring a big and well known event! Even Private sectors are having the Cancer of Society now as well. How much more for the other small sponsored raffles, contest etc. and in the presence of a government agency such as DTI thay could do whatever they want. This must be stopped!!! this is no longer a simple crime!

  8. @kuya ben, lumabas na ang comment mo. haha.

    @alaine, ano number ng pulisya?

    @anonymous, that's what i'm thinking too. 6 months had passed already but still no firm answer on when im going to get that prize. oh well.

  9. This will go bad in the name of those mention Big sponsors, they still have time to fix this one up even if it's too late. This is just a small money for them but big enough to bring their name in the negative side.

    Be responsible guys... Big problem came from the small one's...

  10. @rey, yes, it is a bit surprising why this is taking 5 months or so for that amount. and i really believe when the moment they said YES to the organizer, they are now responsible for their words.

  11. Columbia digital? Swapang yan, wag umasa...Anlaki-laki ng patong nila sa Nikon tapos ang panget ng after sales. Sana Canon na lang nag-sponsor...:))

  12. @anonymous, actually this is my first time to hear about them.. i still hope they'll pay me though

  13. bka na-corrupt n ung prize m..isumbong mo kay tulfo..wakeke-suzie

  14. Bad, bad, bad..really bad nikon...what you did was right strange that they cannot afford giving 20,000 pesos..
    this should be a wake-up call and so bad that they really want to come to this extent before they take action...
    Go on mai, we will support you...
    Buy new camera,hehhe...we should not prioritize this kind of company who never mean what they say. With this incident, im thinking if i will believe any of their advertisements.

  15. @suzie. ano number ni tulfo

    @anonymous. that is my question too. for 20K, this is like taking forever. tsk tsk

  16. so sorry to hear about this John, though am very hapy for you for winning this contest, and am sure the recognition is worth more than the prize, but still, you deserve your monetary prize. hope you get it soon.

  17. thanks ms beth. still hoping. and waiting.

  18. Naku talaga namang yang mga sponsors na yan. Nag propromise tapos hindi tinutupad.
    Wag na sana silang mag pakita sa susunod na Masskara.

    Anyway congrats sa pagka panalo

  19. As a winner, you should not be the one running after your prize. It is the organizers' responsibility. BOOO to them. I agree with Torni. They should have made sure that they have collected all prizes before going on with the contest or even announcing the winners. Sa parte ng mga prize sponsors naman, dapat sa organizers sila managot. Dun sila nagpromise e. O baka naman may nambulsa na ng prize. 20 thousand pesos is still a lot of lugaw!

  20. In my honest opinion, I think you should fight for this. I am not talk about money but responsibility, management and how they communicate. At least it shall be a lesson to the others in future before they participate in Masskara contest.

  21. naku mai ... ganyan pala ang nangyari .... nagpapaasa pala ang Nikon??? buti na lang Pentax ako ~~~ hehehe

    Pero dapat ang organizers nang Photo contest ang responsible sa pag claim nang prize .. bakit ikaw ang nag-fa-follow up sa sponsor nila? Responsibility nila iyun ah! Unless na sa umpisa pa lang indicated na sa contest rules na sa direkta sa sponsor nila kukunin ang prize.

  22. kung di nila mahabol ang sponsors, dapat galing na mismo sa bulsa ng mga organizers ang prize! di ba?

  23. Good that you've kept track of your correspondence. Unfortunate that Nikon is falling down here. Not sure what to suggest. Don't give up! But on the other hang, don't spend so much time that it makes it not worth your time :(

  24. put it in a newspaper of TV newscast.

  25. mai, siguro hinde na sa Nikon ang prob jan,, baka na corrupt na yan ng kung sinong namamagitan between you and nikon, alibi na lang nila na follow up nga, kasi hinde naman isasakripisyo ng Nikon ang pangalan nila sa halagang 20000 pesos,,,

    kung ako mai, let go ko na yan, winner naman talaga ang shots mo, and un ang important ,

  26. @Dino oo nga wag na sila magpakita dun. irereklamo ko sila uli hehe

    @Ate Rya, yup. it was really weird that i didnt receive any notification from them. buti na lang alert kapatid ko at salamat na din sa internet

    @bbydkm yes i know. this is not about money anymore. i am afraid that incident like this is happening in every contest. tsk tsk

    @ate ade ako pa nga gumawa ng paraan apra malaman ko na nanalo pala ako hehehe

    @ate rya wala daw sila budget haha

    @Thank Michael, I am fine i think i was able to complete this blog entry. this could serve as an awareness to others too

    @Anonymous wala ako kilala sa media

    @Dash, either Nikon or Epson lang. dalawa lang sila may ang responsable dito e. wala lang kung naisip ko din na i let go to. pede na namang mangyari sa sunod na mga contests....

  27. mai eto nga pala ang pinakamagandang background ng blog mo so far ,, para sa akin,,,hehehe,,

  28. salamat. ikaw kelan ka update blog mo? ehehe

  29. ano na update to? nag post na ako sang thread sa DPP para ma raise man didto ang issue.. ari ang link o

  30. Akala ko sa gobyerno lang ang ganitong pangyayari

  31. Do you have a copy of their poster? Di ba may "DTI-NCR" or something permit sila? Go to the agency that they got the permit from. I-reklamo mo na lang sila dun at kalimutan mo na prize kung walang magagawa ang agency. Wag na lang natin silang suportahan next time. :-)

  32. @kiks, thanks gid. as usual wala pa din. hehe

    @anonymous, hehe kahit san pala nangyayari to

    @Alaric, before i plan to post this blog i've been looking for that poster. pero wala na akong naktita sa net... isa yan sa iniisip ko. hanggang ngayon hinahanap ko pa din ang poster na yun para madali magreklamo

  33. totomai sumbong mo dito

    di yan tatantanan!!!

  34. For me, it will be the responsibility of the organizer to follow-up with their sponsors. In the first place, it was the organizer that approached the sponsor for sponsorships and prizes. The deal was made between organizer and sponsor and Im quite sure with a contest this big, they should have signed contracts regarding sponsorships and prizes. I suggest you write your story to visayan daily star ( and have it publish so that the readers here in Bacolod City will know.

    I hope you get your prize soon.

  35. @anonymous, i think so too. it was weird running after the sponsors to claim my prize. i will try to write to visayandailystar in case i wont be receiving it by next week.

    @anonymous, ill check that gmanews link :-)

    thanks again everyone. hopefully this will be resolved soon.

  36. media lang katapat nyan, i-publicize na yan. mabilis pa sa alas kwatro ang sagot kapag nabasa nila pangalan nila sa media.

  37. sori ayaw gumana nung link sa comment.

    ayan na nai-blog ko na rin! click mo na lang name ko dito.

  38. tukayo salamat. hopefully maayos na to within this week para masaya lahat. update ko kayo.

    salamat din sa pag link at paggawa ng blog

  39. most probably it went to the pockets of the organizers... sad but true... otherwise nakuha mo na sana ang prize mo.

  40. i hope not my. mga mga tutulong na din. ayusin ko bago ako alis taiwan

  41. A smallish amount, but a prize is a prize - a promise, a promise. Why don't you show this post to newspaper or two, TV. Make a noise about it. I know people who complain just to see what they get for it... and it's usually something.
    Good luck anyway...

  42. Hi Stan, 20K pesos is already big in the Philippines :-)

    Yes, I have taken necessary measures about this one and hopefully I'll receive my prize soon

  43. An incredible scenario! Surely this amounts to false advertising and punishable by law! Pity too that you don't know any other prize winners to check if they really do have their prizes! That could be another avenue of evidence!

  44. Love the mask photo and poem. Congratulations on the win. That is great.

    Masks do dim colors. That image will stay with me.

  45. Thanks Sandy.

    @Gemma, I know, weird isnt it? I am doing best to get that money, lol :-) thanks

  46. wonderful poetry.
    Congratulations on your success!

  47. Congratulations on winning the contest! Your photography is stunning.

    Masskara - what an interesting word. I have recently had some go arounds with goliath companies. Seems like they like to hide behind their masskara. So frustrating. You have exposed them here and I agree the best route if you want to continue is to expose them to a larger audience.

    Your ku is powerful.

  48. Any response at all, Johnny? It certainly must be frustrating for you. I'd have probably given up, just as I've given up try to get compensation for my delayed luggage. AirAsia BAD!

  49. Any response at all, Johnny? It certainly must be frustrating for you. I'd have probably given up, just as I've given up try to get compensation for my delayed luggage. AirAsia BAD!

  50. Whoops, how did I manage to do two posts with different handles? XD Please keep us posted!


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