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New Show Tackles Taboo Filipino Issues

rsvp talk showThis article was written by Yong Chavez for ABS-CBN North America Bureau on September 1st, 2011.

RSVP” is The Filipino Channel’s (TFC) newest US-based weekly talk show and it aims to get their viewers engaged through an honest discussion of issues.

“RSVP” hosts actress G Tongi, Dr. Tess Mauricio and their guests will discuss sensitive issues such as challenges faced by bi-racial Pinoys, Filipinos’ obsession with whitening products, and what people do to be stars in the Philippines.

“We talk about issues that men don’t want to hear and women are too afraid to talk about and that in itself is very intriguing,” said host G Tongi.

“RSVP” is directed by ABS-CBN talent RD Alba and has Michael Carandang, an Emmy Award-winning producer of “The Tyra Banks Show” and “America’s Next Top Model,” as its show runner.

“People ask me all the time, ‘O, you’re going from mainstream to TFC, bakit, why?’ I’m like, ‘Why not?’ I think, Filipinos, it’s a great community here. If you produce a show for them that they love, I think that’s a great accomplishment by itself. I was born in the Philippines. I grew up in the Philippines so to be an immigrant and to move in the US regardless of how successful I’ve become in the US, it means nothing to me and my family if I can’t contribute sa mga Filipinos. TFC has been on for so many years and it cured my homesickness noong nasa Indiana ako,” said Carandang.

It was The Filipino Channel that brought them together.

Mauricio, a highly respected dermatologist in America who has been a guest on US mainstream shows like “The Doctors,” “The Rachel Ray Show” and “America’s Next Top Model” as a beauty expert, sought out Carandang after watching him featured on TFC.

In an episode, Mauricio will share the truths about beauty treatments, including the ones being marketed in the Philippines despite being considered unsafe by heath professionals.

Growing up, Mauricio also struggled with her skin color due to the pressure in the community to be as light-skinned as possible.

“In the Philippines, there’s all this obsession about obtaining white skin, bleaching to a point where it’s really unhealthy both physically, emotionally and psychologically. I was able to share about a topic that’s close to my heart,” Mauricio said.

Their first season’s guest list include notable Filipino and Filipino-American celebrities and also American newsmakers.

One of their upcoming guests is the so-called “Octomom” Nadya Suleman, who opens up like she has never before in her mainstream TV interviews.

G Tongi said she is excited for the chance to pursue an outlet that is very different from acting.

Her fans will also get to see her kids for the first time on the show.

“We did an episode where we discussed being bi-racial. I was really able to talk about that. It was a huge sigh of relief to be able to open up and share that about myself,” said G Tongi.

In their premiere episode on September 10, former Philippine actress Patricia Javier will reveal something personal that she has kept from the public.

Through stories like hers, “RSVP” aims to educate its viewers.

“It’s a talk show that empowers women,” G Tongi explained.

“Gusto namin na yung mga Kapamilya na nanood sa bahay, we want them to follow and watch and listen because a lot of the topics that we discuss this season are topics that we don’t normally feel comfortable talking about as Filipinos. What we did is we highlighted the stories that made us understand the topic a little better,” Carandang said.

Apart from issues, they will also feature high-achieving Filipinos in different fields with expertise to share to Filipinos who want to know how to make it in America.

“We really hope to inspire Filipinos out there to be proud to say they’re Filipinos,” Mauricio said.

“RSVP” will be shown on TFC every Saturday.

A Dermatological Look at Skin of Color (Including Asian Skin)

There is an impressive emerging interest in my field regarding the rejuvenation and treatment of skin of color, including Asian skin. As a Filipina Cosmetic Dermatologist, I have had the privilege of traveling around the world educating physicians on why skin of color (like my brown, mocha colored skin and that of my fair skinned Korean husband) is different than white Caucasian skin. And, more importantly, how those differences in skin color can impact the efficacy and safety of treatments.

The difference seems so obvious when we look at each other’s different skin color. It all boils down to the difference in the amount of melanin (pigment) in our epidermis (the very top layer of the skin). This melanin offers dark skin an advantage with less aging, less wrinkling than the more fair skin counterparts, because melanin protects us from sun damage. However, the downside is that melanin can make laser and skin rejuvenation treatments more challenging because it can absorb too much heat and energy from laser treatments causing complications like burns or discoloration on the skin.

The great news is that one of the biggest advances in technology has been our ability to now treat Asian skin and even those with darker skin. With the proper technology in the hands of experienced practitioners, we can now enjoy the benefits of laser hair removal, skin rejuvenation, wrinkle reduction and skin tightening!

The beauty and aesthetics industry is taking a much closer look at skin of color as a new and untapped market for new products and innovation in technology. As a result, this year has surfaced many opportunities to learn more about Asian skin and how it will respond to emerging technologies, especially in skin whitening and skin rejuvenation.

We have a number of important clinical studies, like the study on a breakthrough topical skin whitening cream, which is free of charge to everyone who qualifies. I urge those who may be interested in the studies to contact us.