Filipino camaraderie shone once again in the recent “Alay Sining 6,” a sculpture event held from November 19 to 21 at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Makati City.
Spearheaded by Rotary Club Makati West (RCMW), the sixth edition of Alay Sining showcased the works of about 50 top and up-and-coming sculptors in the country to raise funds for the club’s Gift of Life program that sponsor open-heart operations of children from poor families with congenital heart disease (CHD) ailments.
“Gift of Life International is a New York-based organization that is very successful in helping CHD patients from poor families.
They are present in countries all over the world, places like El Salvador, Uganda and Honduras. They were looking for a partner in the Philippines and that’s when RC Makati West chanced upon the project,” explained RCMW President Antonio “Tony” Lopez in an interview with The Manila Times.
“Since the Rotary Club is a dedicated group of professionals and businessmen, this is our way of giving back to the community. We’ve been raising funds since nine years ago, and we did raise some money, but it was hard to solicit every year, and that’s when we decided to launch Alay Sining,” Lopez added.
Aptly themed “Art with a Heart,” the event was organized by RCMW Culture Committee, headed by former RCMW president and National Artist for Architecture I.P. Santos.
Notable Filipino sculptors like Raul Funilas, Don Kishin Javier, Joe Datuin, Lucky Salayog, Richard Tuason, Pete Jimenez and Ulysses Veloso, to name a few, donated their artworks that were auctioned off during the events. The money raised will go to CHD pediatric patients who are not able to afford heart operations.
One of the artists, Antonio Raymundo, felt attached to the Alay Sining since he witnessed first-hand how it was like to deal with patients with heart ailments.
“I was in training for cardiovascular and heart complications at the Philippine Heart Center. I know what its like to deal with this kind of disease, and I think it’s a worthwhile project. I am involved in charismatic movements, and I always offer my pieces to God to inspire me to continue working,” Raymundo said.
The heart-warming event gave hope to some of its recipients like Seanalayne “Seana” Lucas, 5 years old, and Maria Lourdes Berrey, who is 12 years old.
Both were suffering from CHD and needed heart operations to survive. Now, they are thankful for a chance to live normally without the complications of CHD.
“Isa pong karangalan sa akin makita ang mga taong tumutulong sa amin. Binago nyo po ang buhay ng pamilya naming. Anim na buwan matapos ang operasyon pero hanggang ngayon naiiyak parin ako sa tuwa [It is an honor to meet the people that are helping us. You changed our life. Six months after the operation I am still in tears of joy],” said the mother of 5-year-old Seana.
According to the RCMW president, there are some 2,000 Filipino children born with CHD every year. With the long waiting list and the costliness of heart operations, unfortunate children continue to suffer with the death-threatening disease.
“Thanks to the sculptors’ participation in Alay Sining, we have been able through our Gift of Life program to help save the lives of nearly 300 children so far,” Lopez said.