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EARTHFACES: The beauty of the Filipino Spirit

Updated: Mar 16

by NJ Torres - Jacobson

Earth FACES : Facial Care Centre, in partnership with Philippine's Climate Change Commission, the local government and the Headshot Clinic’s Project Showcasing Filipino Resilience Through Portraits

Facial Care Centre as part of our Corporate Social Responsibility program, in partnership with Headshot Clinic, local government of Tacloban & UNICEF and the Climate Change Commission, spearheaded #EarthFaces, a project that aims to raise awareness of climate change and send a message of hope to Filipinos and the rest of the world. Aimed to bring smiles to different families by giving them their very first family portraits after the Typhoon Yolanda. Their story of resilience is told through a series of portraits, rebuilding the most basic foundation of all, the human spirit. Call to action: Be aware of the problem. Be an #earthadvocate and go to #earthfaces #earthfacesLIVE

Earth Faces Climate change.

It’s here. It’s Now. It’s our reality.

In November of 2013, Typhoon Hayaan, locally known as Yolanda made landfall and brought havoc in the Philippines. It was the strongest storm in history. Making it the toughest test in the Filipino spirit.

Filipinos rise above the calamities, we help others as we helped ourselves. We were overwhelmed with the whole world united and came to our aide showing the true meaning of love and generosity.

Even if they’re lost their home and live in tent their children are determined to continue their education. These families lost almost everything including photos that hold memories we may not be able to bring the memories back but we can make new ones, new history, new stories, new memories..

Being able to capture these moments, their smiles, it is priceless. Pictures to show them how we see them. The Earth faces climate change, disasters, calamities, but it also faces hope, strength and resilience. There’s still a lot of work to be done. Everyone has a role to play. Be an earth advocate.

Helping others is the truest, highest form of beauty.


Earth Faces: taking and giving pictures

Facial Care Centre (FCC), a business that specializes in skincare treatments, known as a company that set the bar high for skincare treatments and services, FCC’s Corporate Social Responsibility endeavour this year 2014, had the same level of ambition. In partnership with Climate Change Commission and the Headshot Clinic (HSC), a digital platform that merges headshots with advocacies, have partnered for our biggest project yet: Earth Faces, a climate change campaign that showcases 100 stories of Filipinos through portraits. It weaves together stories of those who lived through Super Typhoon Yolanda, and those who did their best to help them. The subjects are a mix of advocates, celebrities, media personalities, and survivors shot on location.

Our lean team of six: NJ Torres Jacobson, FCC’s PR manager; Headshot Clinic’s photographer, Niccolo Cosme & Dwight Bayona and videographer, Antonio Dimaguila; makeup artist, Kay Arias and writer, Anna Oposa, we set out to photograph 22 families in 4 island provinces in 7 days. We printed instant photos with their heavy-duty reliable Cannon printer, put the best family picture in the frame, and whipped up a small exhibit of their BTS photos and headshots.

For city dwellers, being made up and photographed may not seem like a big deal. For many of the families we met in Tacloban, Malapascua, Leyte and Coron, it was a milestone.

Earth Faces endeavors to capture through film and photographs, the human strength to overcome risk and adversity as told by the survivors of Yolanda. It is a storytelling of portraits that weave a magnificent tapestry of human resilience, linking the lives of these survivors and those closely praying for them. In a span of 7 days, they’ve met and captured the smiles of 22 families in 4 island provinces and handed over their family portraits. For many of the survivors, it was their first family picture; for others, the new portraits replaced lost, old photographs.

Meeting the families

Our first stop was Tacloban, ground zero. We met the Dela Peña family in their new home, a donated tent. Mommy Marlyn shared that the most painful part of the experience was being called robbers. “We didn’t have anything to eat for two days. We were wearing the same wet clothes for three days. We didn’t have a choice,” she explained in Waray while wiping away her tears. Her children are back in school and are determined to continue their education.

We then spent a day in Malapascua Island, Cebu, where families and dive centers have been working together to clean up the coasts and seas from trash and debris. They aim to make it the renowned diving destination it once was.

From Cebu, the EarthFaces team headed to Suyac Island in Negros Occidental, known for its century-old mangroves. When Yolanda roared through the island, the mangroves shielded the community from the storm surge, leaving zero casualties. The people are prioritizing the restoration of the beach-forest and its damaged walkways. The survival of the residents and the mangroves shows that when we take care of the environment, it takes care of us.

For the fourth and final stop, we made our way to Coron, Palawan. We sat down with Al and Melanie Linsangan, a couple that runs a photography shop and tour operations. As part of rebuilding efforts, they’re helping over 160 families by providing employment opportunities through tourism.

The value of a family picture

During our interviews, we asked the families what they were most thankful for. Each family answered in Filipino, “We are all alive and complete.”

Whenever we revealed the makeshift exhibit of the families’ pictures and headshots, everybody lit up. Others started crying. For many of the families, it was their first family photo ever. For some, it replaced those lost or damaged by the typhoon.

In any case, the framed family pictures now hang in their new or repaired houses to serve as a reminder that the Earth faces climate change, disasters, and calamities, but it also faces hope, strength, and resilience.

Resilience in Portraits

Climate change is upon us. In fact, experts say it’s happening now as seen in the Earth’s rising temperature, melting ice caps and rising sea levels. But despite these staggering observations there is a rampant “climate change denial” in the absence of concrete laws and policies to fight one of the most defining issues of our time.

The recent events of Typhoon Haiyan, the biggest storm ever recorded in the Earth’s history, had become the world’s sobering reality.

Thus, the Facial Care Centre, Headshot Clinic, Climate Change Commission, together with Emmy-award winning Filipino producer Michael Carandang, supported by Facial Care Centre’s Corporate Social Responsibility program, spearhead Earth Faces, a formidable project that aims to raise awareness for Climate Change and at the same time, send a message of hope to Filipinos and the rest of the world.

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