PRESS RELEASE: Calidad Humana offers $1,000 Prize for a Filipino Photo Essay Contest

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by Grace Bondad Nicolas

“Today, give a stranger one of your smiles. It might be the only sunshine he sees all day.” — H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

“People seldom notice old clothes if you wear a big smile.” — Anonymous

These are just two of the proofs that a smile can make a difference, and that a smile can be the cause of a good and happy experience.  Around the Philippines, and whenever there’s a chance to meet respectable and empowered individuals, I make to grab the opportunity to greet them with a smile.

Filipinos don’t technically define a smile as just a facial expression formed by flexing our mouth muscles. A smile is an expression denoting pleasure, sociability, happiness, or amusement. Smiling is something that is understood by everyone regardless of culture, race, or religion. It is internationally known. Cross-cultural studies have shown that smiling is a means of communication throughout the world.

smile poster photo

The embassy of Chile, under Ambassador Roberto L. Mayorga, the embassy of Brazil, the University of Santo Tomas, the University of the Philippines, the University of Asia and the Pacific, the Ateneo University, De La Salle University, the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and The Philippine Star have joined together in a project called “Calidad Humana”: a project to preserve and promote traditional human compassion, friendship and the sense of humanity of the Filipino people. It also seeks to show everyone around the globe how Filipinos can still manage to smile in spite of natural calamities and problems. This project has an accompanying photo contest, “Smiles for the World,” with a first prize award of US$1,000.

Ambassador Mayorga welcomed me with a smile when I visited the Chilean Embassy on November 15, 2012 to discuss the dissemination of information to different social media practitioners. Our intention was to encourage more entrants, and to give awareness via social media not only to the Filipino people, but to the world. We sought to project the positive outlook of Filipinos in life, and to encourage all races to be the same in spite of the different experiences we face every day.

“Calidad Humana” would like you to share your photo to represent the cheerfulness of the Filipino people. and to address your message to the rest of the world. Tell your stories and let the rest of the world know the uniqueness of the smile you photographed.

The deadline for submission is be on February 28, 2013, and the awarding ceremonies are expected to be held in the first week of July. The cash awards are US$ 1,000 for first place, US$600 for second place, and $400 for third place. There are also non-cash prizes.

Competition Rules:

  1. This year’s competition is open to all Filipino citizens, regardless of age, place of residence, and occupation.
  2. There shall be only one entry per person, submitted in soft copy to the following address:
  3. An entry, to be considered, should comprise the following:
    • An original 8×10 photo showing one or more Filipinos at home, in school, at work, at play, at leisure, or in portraiture. The photography subject(s) should be existing persons, with the setting identifiable upon request of the organizer. Qualifiers and winners might be asked to produce the image in 13R photo size.
    • A positive, encouraging message with no more than 140 characters (letters, numbers, and punctuation marks) in font Arial 12.
    • An essay of one to three paragraphs in English, with no more than 200 words (excluding punctuation marks), appropriately titled, which succinctly explains the message of the photo. While the essay should be in English, Filipino words or terms may be used if deemed expedient by the author for absence of satisfactory equivalents in English. The concept of “calidad humana” (see above) should be explicit in the essay.
    • An accomplished entry form that indicates: (a) Full Name (First, Middle, and Last), Age (with Date-Month-Year of Birth); (b) Title of the Photo-Essay, Brand of Camera Used and Technical Settings (if any); (c) Home Address, Land Line, Mobile Number, and e-mail Address; (d) Current School and/or Place of Work and Corresponding Mailing Address; and (e) Personal Certification on the originality of the photo
  4. Deadline for submission is 28 February 2013; awarding ceremonies are expected to be held in the first week of July.


Entries shall be the property of the Embassy of Chile, which reserves the right to use the work, edit and publish it as deemed appropriate, but always duly acknowledging the author.

A panel of five individuals shall decide on the preliminary qualifiers based on the criteria below. A final panel of five judges, to be selected by the organizing committee, shall determine the winners without regard to scores earlier given to qualifying essays. Winners shall agree to be interviewed on camera on matters related to the theme of the competition

The decision of the preliminary and final panel of judges shall be deemed final.

Without attempting to give weights to the criteria for qualifiers and winners, the basis for judgment shall be as follows:

  • Effectiveness of the photo, with the corresponding essay, to capture the spirit behind the Filipino smile and what it stands for
  • The overall quality of the photo and essay entry as a medium of expression, without necessarily appealing to technical considerations, except perhaps for grammar, mechanics, and usage in the case of the essay
  • The uniqueness and impact with which the photo and the essay convey the theme of the competition

Judging shall always be on the photo and the essay in combination.

According to the project site:

Calidad Humana” is human compassion, sense of humaneness, strength of character, and human tone. It is unique to the world. It is expressed through our cordiality and friendliness, our positive outlook in life, and SMILES on our faces. “Calidad Humana,” literally translated as the quality of being human and loosely translated as strength of character, may refer to the sum total of distinctively human characteristics that dignify and ennoble a person and enable him to contribute to a culture of excellence either in his immediate, mediate, or broader environment … either in unusual or day-to-day situations and circumstances. It is not a state a person is in but a constant movement to attain the state of human perfection. “Calidad Humana” marks the person noble in his dealings, steadfast in his convictions, and unfaltering in his equanimity, without any pretensions … everything that contributes in the end to a life well-spent. One need not have most, or much less all, positive traits in heroic proportions, nor would one need to be exempt from defects of character. What is needed for “calidad humana” is a quality or a cluster of qualities that steadily stands out in one’s personal and social life, hand-in-hand with an unwavering struggle for the other human virtues.

Around the Philippines, you will find Filipinos with their happy smiles in spite of hardships or problems. We are born to be tough, and to show to the world that we can do everything. We have proof in our smiles, not only around the Philippines, but around the world as well.


UPDATE 2012-12-20:

The first prize winner of the photo contest “SMILES FOR THE WORLD” will now get US$1000 and roundtrip ticket to Brazil and Chile, courtesy of our partner Coca-Cola !!!
In order to provide information of these splendid prizes, we will release a new poster which we will deliver to all of you as soon as possible.
Likewise, we would like to extend  the date of the deadline in submitting the photos and messages until the end of April 2013.
Welcome to our new partners:  “Expat Travel and Lifestyle Magazine”; “Bravo Filipino Magazine”; “Humanitinetwork”!
For more information;
Engr. Grace Bondad Nicolas

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