Vanessa Hudgens joins effort to help Philippines

By Yong Chavez, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Dec 27 2013 01:41 PM | Updated as of Dec 27 2013 09:41 PM

HOLLYWOOD – Filipina American actress Vanessa Hudgens is taking the time out of her busy schedule to support a project for the Philippines.

Hudgens mom, Gina Guangco, is a Filipina and the Hollywood actress said she's always been proud of her Philippine roots.

"Hello to everyone in the Philippines! I just want to wish you all a very merry Christmas. I'm sending you prayers and so much love. God bless!" she said.

Hudgens said hearing about the devastation of typhoon Haiyan broke her heart.

"It still makes my stomach turn when I think about it. It's so sad. It's so hard with natural disasters, you don't see them coming and it just takes so much work to rebuild," said the actress.

The actress is supporting UNICEF's campaign in the Philippines which puts immediate and long term relief efforts in place even after news cameras have left and the public's interest in the victims' plight has waned.

"The aftermath is bigger than we could imagine being here in the States. They have to completely rebuild the country, children are completely vulnerable. I mean schools have been swept away, they are out on the streets susceptible to diseases and it's hard to get food to them. There are just so many different factors that contribute to getting the Philippines back on its feet," she said.

On behalf of UNICEF, Hudgens recently accepted P100,000 donated by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to aid typhoon survivors.

"Ang gusto namin sa UNICEF Philippines. Ang mga bata sila ang parang helpless. Ang important ma-avoid nila diseases," said Ruben Nepales of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

His fellow member, Theo Kingma, added, "because of the Golden Globes we are able to do things like that and in this case with typhoon Haiyan, make a substantial donation to UNICEF for the people of the Philippines."

The young star also plans to visit the Philippines.

"I totally would. My mom hasn't been to the Philippines since she came out to the States so we could bring her too," she said.