The Halo Halo Collective

The Halo Halo Collective was born out of the desire to connect, share stories through creative content, and a gravitation towards one another. This collective of Filipinas and Filipina Americans both born in the US and abroad, is also a group of Filipina and Filipina Americans of full or mixed/multiracial identity. Founded by fashion and lifestyle bloggers Abbie Fontanilla, Em Santos-Farrales, Johanna Vizmanos, Kimiko De Pedro, Maica Sta Ana, and Nerrissa Senores, the idea to come together and create a safe space for Filipina American women to explore their identities and be advocates for one another was formed.

Their launch event was simple: to meet up and take photos together. They worked with a full Filipinx crew of creatives (videographer, photographer, etc) utilizing the opportunities to leverage each others’ talent. Each woman reached out to their social media following and the event was attended by 19 Filipina and Filipina American bloggers based in the Bay Area, creating a beautiful portrait and much dialogue. The women found connections through their experiences in life and blogging, and identity and inclusiveness. They have since seen many collaborations within the group, held a charity event where 3 balikbayan boxes were sent to the Philippines, and are planning a self care event in collaboration with fellow Filipina American personal trainers, yoga instructors, and health and wellness women, as well as an event/panel between blogging groups of different cultures.

Halo halo translates to mix mix. The common denominator may be their different Filipina backgrounds, but the names ties the group together as a unit.

Facebook Group:
THHC Trailer:

Photo by JJ Casas ( @jjasef )

Photo by JJ Casas (@jjasef)

What was the inspiration behind The Halo Halo Collective? And how did you come together?

All five co-founders are life and style bloggers based in the Bay Area. Two of us are Filipinas who emigrated to the US and three of us are Filipina-Americans born and raised in the Bay Area. All of us attend local influencer events, so our paths were bound to cross. One night we were under the same roof and stayed at that venue for hours sharing our stories with one another. We realized having that safe space to share similarities, differences and experiences not only taught us a lot about each other-- but about ourselves and our identities as Pinays.

We made a plan to meet again, where we would continue to talk, create content and share the experience over good food! We posted on our instagrams to see if more local Filipinx bloggers and creatives wanted to join in. Overnight, we had 30+ people reach out with interest. That made us realize the need for creating this important community. That small conversation planted a seed and blossomed into something much larger than ourselves.

How does it feel to create/come together as a group of Filipina American women and empower one another?
It’s incredibly inspiring. The blogging and influencer community definitely has a diversity gap. For so long, there was always this underlying level of understanding when we met another filipinx blogger, but until now, there wasn’t a central network or group for them to come together.

With only two events under our belt, we’ve witnessed so many new friendships flourishing in this growing community. We’ve seen our attendees collaborate with one another, and support each other at events their hosting. There’s nothing more rewarding then witnessing that happen organically.

Photos by JJ Casas ( @jjasef )

Photos by JJ Casas (@jjasef)

What do you want to accomplish as a group? Goals, collaborations, events?
The Halo Halo Collective strives to connect Filipinx bloggers, businesses and creatives. Through events and a growing online community, we aim to cultivate an empowering network of meaningful relationships and creative opportunities. We strive to recognize our cultural roots, celebrate our diversity, share our stories, and inspire collaboration with one another and within our local Filipino-American community.

How important is representation and diversity in your work?
Diversity, inclusion and belonging is so important to us that it’s part of our name. We’re huge fans of the dessert (who isn’t?!) but we chose Halo-Halo because it translates to Mix-Mix. Even though our filipinx ancestry ties us together, each of us bring something unique to the table. Morena or mestiza. Philippines born or American born. Full Filipinx or multi-cultural roots. In addition to being bloggers, our community is full of personal trainers, photographers, videographers, architects, yoga instructors, nurses and so much more. We learn so much from one another in a few short hours.

Representation matters-- it will reach and inspire others to others who resonate all over the globe. We recognize the diversity gap in digital media and the influencer community, and believe in nurturing a rising tide.

In addition to celebrating our diversity within the organization, we want to expand this larger conversation beyond our community. There is always room for growth, and that happens when you mix different perspectives together. We are planning collaborative events with fellow culturally-focused blogger organizations and are excited to connect with them.

What is your favorite content to create? Some of your favorite projects?
We’re passionate about collaborating with photographers and videographers to share a vision and make it a reality. Each person involved has a chance to flex their creative muscles, whether it’s behind or in front of the camera.

Our group portrait from our launch event was one of our favorite and most impactful pieces of content we’ve collaborated on. It took all 20+ people involved to bring that to life, with special thanks to the following Filipinx creatives:

Creative Director: Maica Sta Ana (@maicaerica)
Portrait and Co-Founder Group Photographer: JJ Casas (@jjasef)
Videographer: Eric Tamayo (@hueguh)
Large Group Portrait Photographer: Reggie Llanda (@rllanda)

What is your biggest driving force?
It’s one another-- It’s knowing what grows from the hard work that happens behind the scenes.  Our international network of bloggers, creatives and business owners is growing quickly! We get inspired watching the community build meaningful friendships and support one another.

Do you have any events, projects coming up that you are excited about?
Since launching in October, we’ve had two events. We have two upcoming events in the works for early 2019. Right now, those events occur in the Bay Area, but we aspire to host across the US and internationally.

In between the events, you can always find us online on instagram and in our facebook group! We’d love to connect with fellow Filipinx bloggers, creatives and business owners from all over the world! :)

Meet the The Halo Halo Collective Team!
Abbie Fontanilla (@abbie.fontanilla)
Em Santos-Farrales (@emstateofmind)
Johanna Vizmanos (@johannavizmanos)
Kimiko De Pedro (@kimiko.marie)
Maica Sta Ana (@maicaerica)
Nerrissa Senores (@msnerriss)

The Halo Halo Collective  Photo by Reggie Llanda ( @rllanda )

The Halo Halo Collective
Photo by Reggie Llanda (@rllanda)

Jeannine Roson