The Embassy of Chile organized a very unique photo exhibit at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila City in a touching effort to showcase “the Filipino’s strength of character.” Dubbed The Smiles for the World, the visual display is the result of Chilean Ambassador Roberto Mayorga’s invitation to locals and those who work or have migrated to other countries to capture images of “the positive qualities of the Filipino heart through their smiles” for submission to his embassy.
“When I first came to the Philippines I immediately noticed the positive aspect of Filipinos, who in general have more compassion compared to other countries,” Mayorga said in an interview with The Manila Times at the exhibit’s inauguration on February 18.
“Friendship, resiliency, hospitality and humility are some of the attributes that Filipinos should be proud of. They themselves are not aware of these positive aspects and often take them for granted,” he continued.
The ambassador believes that there is something positively powerful in the way Filipinos go about their daily lives—often with smiles despite hardships—that he asked those who joined the contest to write an accompanying message with their photos. Addressed to other nations, Mayorga suggested they encourage the world to be more like Filipinos in order to become happier, friendlier and peace loving.
The Department of Foreign Affairs lent its support to this very laudable project of the Chilean Embassy by disseminating the contest rules through Filipino embassies and consulates around the world. Mayorga also enjoyed the support of the Department of Tourism, which in turn were grateful for the positive light in which the Philippines was shown, in the hopes of drawing more tourists to the country.
From the deluge of entries 31 photos were displayed at the UST Main Building Lobby, following previous showings at the Cultural Center of the Philippines and the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) in late 2014.
The Smiles for the World is part of the Chilean Embassy’s Calidad Humana project, loosely translated as human compassion, which aims to preserve the Filipino quality of prioritizing “concern for others” over material things.
Besides the exhibit, Calidad Humana’s program comprised of extensive research, development symposiums and discussions with five partner universities in the Philippines, namely, UST, University of Asia and the Pacific, De La Salle University, Ateneo de Manila University and the University of the Philippines.