Earth Day and the Arts

4/24/20212 min read

AS WE continue to grapple with the newest set of restrictions in our community quarantine life, the annual celebration of Earth Day last April 22, 2021, in our province came and went, almost without a whimper, much more a bang. However, the light of hope flickers with the efforts of the Save The Trees Coalition (STC) and the local artists with the “Aldo ning Labuad: Virtual Paint For A Cause” launched on Earth Day this year via the social media.

At the trees front, STC is in the midst of a legal battle to save 259 fully grown trees from being cut at the Friendship Highway in the national government’s bid to widen the existing road network and much of the group’s funding comes from volunteers. Among the staunch supporters of the STC are prime-movers in the Kapampangan Arts Scene, including one of the original Save the Trees artists and Most Outstanding Kapampangan Awardee Herminigildo Pineda, ecowarrior Louie Reyes, and art enthusiast and events maven Bennylee Luat Baltazar Bondoc who first conceptualized a physical exhibit for the first-ever Save The Trees Painting for a Cause.

When the surge in Covid-19 cases in our province happened and gatherings started to be discouraged, the creative team together with the Save the Trees Coalition brainstormed and innovated with the virtual exhibit instead for this year’s Aldo ning Labuad.

Participating virtual artists drew inspiration from the life and struggle of the 259 Friendship Trees, brought to a new life in a myriad of media and interpretations. Notable Kapampangan artists, budding painters, and professionals contributed their best renditions for this one-of-a-kind virtual exhibit and art sale. Proceeds of which will help fund the Save The Trees Coalition’s preservation efforts.

These artists are laudable, not only for sharing their talents generously but also for their love for the environment. Kudos to all the participants in the Aldo ning Labuad 2021 namely Dr. Carmela Dizon, Mikel Ryan Lorenzo, Richard Sy, Red Dizon, Roseller Romero, Ezekiel Guanzon, Andy Bondoc, Lloyd Dacayanan, Engr. Andy Ramos, Lowry Maniego, Dodjie Aguinaldo, Architect Edwin Catli, Jerwin Bangeles, Antu Ong, Nicolas Cunan, and Alvin Dungca.

My good friend kong Andy Ramos together with Alvin Dungca have been mainstays of Save the Trees Coalition since 2009 when the coalition successfully fought for and saved the MacArthur Highway trees along the Baliti to Telabastagan stretch. These days the titos of Kapampangan art, the likes of Architect Edwin Catli and kong Andy enjoy the fresh air and the outdoors with their plein-air painting sessions, especially during this pandemic.

I’m also happy to see the name of Dr. Carmela “Malay” Dizon in the artists’ roster and what a wonderful surprise it is to know that she is a talented painter aside from being a great academic in one of our local universities in Angeles City.

Kudos to the Save The Trees Coalition, the organizers, and the artists for this faithful reminder and meaningful Earth Day commemoration. Every step counts in ensuring that there is an earth for our children to inherit.