1st Place Winner



By: Mr. Medardo I. Marquez

TITLE: Smiles from the Heart

MESSAGE:  We may be naked and toothless, but we are blessed; for our spirits are undaunted and our laughter pure. We are children of Filipino earth. Our smiles brighten up every dark cranny in the land.

Something in a child’ smiling face irresistibly captivates and disarms. It does not seem to whether one takes snapshots of happy kids in a posh urban village, in an impoverished shanty town where this photograph was taken, or anywhere else; smiles of children are essentially the same. Like many of life’s subtle mysteries, a child’s smile is universal yet unique innocent but resilient, optimistic and authentic.

We are reminded of man’s innate goodness each time we see these little ones smile, because they brim over the qualities that best define our humanity: gentleness, warmth, sincerity and exuberance. Yet their power to inspire and touch lies largely on our readiness to open our heats to rediscover the child within us all; and to view the world, perhaps for the first time, with new eyes.


Mr. Medardo I. Marquez, 55 years of age, a businessman and photography enthusiast from Negros Occidental. The photo is of marginally located, gypsy-like, children, taken while Mr. Marquez was mountain climbing in Balibagan, Negros Occidental, more than 10 years ago.

The message title: We are Blessed: Our Spirits Undaunted and Laughter Pure


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