HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Three months after Super Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines, the destruction and relief struggles are no longer dominating headlines -- but a filmmaker from Hawai'i is hoping to change that.
"The world needs to see what happened and the world needs to know they can still support what's going on," said Anthony Begonia, documentary producer of "Bayanihan: The Spirit Of Community".
According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Filipinos and part-Filipinos make up the second-largest racial group in Hawaii.
It's clear our community's ties run deep -- more than $1.75 million dollars was raised at "Kokua for the Philippines", despite severe weather canceling the television broadcast and outdoor concerts.
Begonia, whose family is from Kaua'i and who is of Filipino descent, hopes his documentary will remind Haiyan victims they are not forgotten.
"We hope that it can soften the hearts of people. We believe that what we can't sometimes see, we can't really grieve -- but we have a chance to see it now and maybe we can have some empathy towards what happened there," Begonia said.
Armed with a camera and fueled by faith, Begonia and documentary director and cinematographer, Ricky Fosheim, landed in Tacloban ten days after Haiyan killed 6,000 people. Three months later, nearly 2,000 are still missing.
"They have so little to begin with and then all of that was taken away from them, and they just welcomed us with open arms. We ate with them, we laughed with them, we cried with them. We were embraced in their community and it felt so good to be appreciated to be there," Fosheim described.
Begonia and Fosheim chronicled two Salvation Army cadets who were searching for missing family members.
"We didn't know what was going to happen, it was reality filming at its finest. We were just covering what we could with very limited resources," Begonia explained.
The filmmakers hope their documentary will remind people of the hundreds of millions of dollars still needed for food and emergency shelter. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, $78.7 million is still needed in food security assistance and more than $132 million is needed for emergency shelter.
"100% of a donation to the Salvation Army for the relief effort in Tacloban goes directly to the people of Philippines," explained John Chamness, the Divisional Commander of Salvation Army Hawaiian Pacific Islands Division. "I think it's always important for the people of Hawai'i, as we have always done in the past, to reach out and help our neighbors in need. We have such a great connection with the Philippines, many friends and family live in the Philippines and vice versa many people from the Philippines live here in Hawai'i, and those are our brothers and sisters, those are our neighbors, those are the people we have relationships with. We need to continue to support and help the people in the Philippines," Chamness said.
Typhoon Haiyan displaced an estimated four million people in the Philippines -- that's more than Hurricane Katrina and the Indian Ocean tsunami combined.
"The problems actually get worse for many people, they don't get better. Our hope is that people don't forget about everything that happened," Fosheim said.
"Sadness could've been something we saw everywhere, but the spirit of the Filipino people was truly evident. They never give up," described Begonia.
The documentary premiered Monday night on the Salvation Army Vision network and is available online. Filmmakers cut more than 28 hours of footage into 26 minutes.
Watch it here: http://www.savn.tv/campaign/view/1150