Category Archives: Fundraising

More Fundraising work to be done

by jun asuncion

A cruel twist of fate would have it that the Ketsana Foundation’s library project be deferred to another propitious time. The unimaginable scale of destruction to lives and properties, the unfathomable depth of sorrows and pains, existential angst and social displacement of the victims which typhoon Haiyan had left required from us a reflexive change of plan and priorities. Even Switzerland had to defer some planned activities last November 18 by declaring this day  a national fundraising day for the typhoon victims in our country. So every sensible individual and nation saw the urgency of the situation, hence, a shift in priorities.

In keeping with Ketsana Foundation’s rule of thumb of helping the affected directly, two of its members will be going to these typhoon-ravished areas to give some families things they needed for their livelihood, such as fishing boats, garden tools, etc. Simply said, tools they need to start rebuilding their lives and immediate environment.

We have decided, however, that only half of the total proceeds of the benefit concert last week would go to the south and the remaining amount for our library project in Bulan.

This means, we have to organise another fundraising activity next year to reach the amount needed for this project. For those who may be reading this message and who feel the need to help Ketsana Foundation to finally  realize this project, please contact us. Soon Ketsana Foundation will have its own website where we can publish in detail all our activities and report the financial status. This is in keeping with transparency and credibility for we know that those who want to help also want to know what happens with what they give.

The benefit concert itself was a total success. Many people came that evening of November 21 in spite of the sudden snowfall which caused a little turbulence in the otherwise always orderly streets of Zürich. The pianist Dr. med. Robert Siebenmann did his best to make the cold evening a pleasant one for all with his warm and very personal rendition of Brahms and Chopin. The apero held at the lobby was opulent as  many friends came with their home-made specialties like Christmas cookies, Glühwine, cake, sandwiches and wines. It was a crowd of medical people, of artists and musicians.

I thank Mila, Elizabeth and Franklin Patricio and Madeleine Borel for their priceless help in making the event a success. Our biggest appreciation naturally goes to our pianist Robert Siebenmann for inspiring others to help and to all of our sponsors, friends and guests. Last but not least, our best appreciation and acknowledgement goes to our consul Miss Tess Lazaro (who delivered a nice  spontaneous inspirational speech) and cultural attaché Irene Sadang for gracing this memorable evening with their presence. Photos of the concert to follow.

For the meantime, we ask the children of Bulan to be more patient as we work more to realize our plan. Thank you and carpe diem.

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Benefit Concert: Message Of Ambassador Leslie Baja

Leslie.baja
 Ambassador Leslie J. Baja

Philippine Embassy, Berne, Switzerland

MESSAGE

Congratulations to the Ketsana Foundation, especially to the two individuals who started  it, Franklin Patricio and Milagros Asuncion, and its two active members, Jun Asuncion and Elizabeth Patricio, for successfully organizing another charity event for the benefits of our less privileged brethren in Sorsogon!

I was moved while reading the story of how your library project came about. I hope that the magnanimity, determination and the noble cause you have always espoused will be
an inspiration to the other Filipinos in Switzerland to continually share the fruits of their  success to our less fortunate countrymen in the Philippines.

I share your pride and congratulate you on your past achievements of providing mobile tent centres for the medical missions in Sorsogon, as well as the other assistance you
have extended since 2008 to help brighten up the lives of the victims of natural disasters  in the provinee. Your untiring efforts and unwavering enthusiasm has continued to be the source of  strength for our less privileged people in Sorsogon who have been the recipients of numerous tragedies in the recent past. It should be an inspiration to many to pitch in doing deeds of kindness and acts of charity.

I thank Dr. Robert Siebenmann for generously offering to do this classical piano concert and sharing his talents to help build a brighter world for the children of Sorsogon.
Helping build a humble library for these children is already one big step towards the realization of their dreams. I also thank all the friends and supporters ofthe Ketsana Foundation who, through these years, have tirelessly supported the cause of the foundation. May your unflagging support and generosity inspire others to do their share in building a world free from the bondage of poverty.

To all of you at Ketsana Foundation, your friends and supporters, my best wishes on your future projects and hope that the little drops of kindness from your heart will make a mighty ocean of love!

Leslie J. Baja            Message of Amb. Baja to Ketsana Foundation ( original in pdf)

Ambassador

 

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info@philembassyberne.ch

www.philembassyberne.ch

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Benefit Concert 2013

by junasun

The Ketsana Foundation in Zürich which was founded by Franklin Patricio and Milagros Asuncion, with active members Jun Asuncion and Elizabeth Patricio, has organized another Benefit Concert in Zürich this coming November 21, 2013 which will  be held at the Gemeindesaal Zollikon, Rotfluhstrasse 96,  8702 Zollikon, Zürich.

This will be another  classical piano evening which will showcase for a charitable cause the musical talent of Mr. Robert Siebenmann, himself a seasoned Swiss heart surgeon working at the world-class Hirslanden Clinic in Zürich.

P1180632-002

Dr. Robert Siebenmann, classical pianist and heart surgeon

Convinced of our cause of helping young people develop love and passion for reading printed books, and impressed at how the Filipino pianist Mr. Cases played for the Ondoy victims last 2009 to help our medical missions in the Philippines, Dr. Siebenmann readily offered his precious hands to help us raise funds for our project of building a modest public library in Bulan for the young students.

To add extra boost to the morale of the Swiss-Filipino friends who support this project, we have also invited our Philippine Ambassador in Berne Mr. Leslie J. Baja to join us this evening. With Dr. Robert Siebenmann’s precise and relaxed hands as a surgeon, an evening of quiet and relaxing classical piano music of Johannes Brahms and Frederic Chopin  awaits us on the 21st of November for sure.

We also invite friends of Bulan Observer from all over the world to join us and to help support this Library Project.

library

My personal message for the Concert on November 21:

Now, may I ask? When was the last time you were in a library? Long ago? Not me, for I’m every day in a library, – in my mini library at home. Indeed, it’s such a special privilege or a luxury to have one at home where you can read and write undisturbed to compose your mind. In my library, I have written many articles for my blog. A library is very similar in a way to a Karate Dojo because it’s a place of quiet, respect and introspection; a place for working and of balancing your mind and body.

The Roman Orator Cicero once said that ” if you have a garden and a library, then you have everything you need”.  The same Cicero said that  “We are not born, we do not live for ourselves alone; our country, our friends, have a share in us”, – kind words from a man who existed over a hundred years before Christ.

It is in this context of garden, library and sharing that we felt moved to take Cicero literary and continue with this project of building a modest library in Bulan for those children who don’t even have a garden or a proper home. A library is a meeting place, a very democratic place where young people learn to know their culture. Hence, raising funds to build a library is building up culture as opposed to destruction of culture by  cutting funds meant for public libraries as some government leaders do.

There is a personal background to this library project. For it was once my plan to help a primary school in Bulan by sending boxes of books in English I have bought myself for their library which in itself is in a very desolate situation for lack of government funds. But on their way to Bulan, in 2009, these books were destroyed in Manila by a series of heavy floods that hit the Philippines at that time. Instead of replacing those books, my friends here decided we would rather send medicines and first aid materials to the victims in Bulan. Yet along the way we have never given up this library project in spite of the typhoons, floodings and earthquakes that batter the archipelago every year.

But a noble dream remains just a dream if one does not act.

We acted and that’s why we are gathered here tonight because we invited you to help us make this dream a reality. The fact that you are here tonight means you support culture and you feel that others have a share in you.

One person who felt the same way even went beyond that for he volunteered also to play piano for us tonight. As a heart and vascular surgeon by profession, his duty is about saving lives of people who come to him with broken hearts in the true sense of the word, people who are between living and dying. The same hands and fingers that have saved people from dying will be playing the piano tonight and thereby saving a piece of culture in Bulan someday soon, – i.e., as soon as the library building has been built with a little help from all of  us.

My heartfelt thanks then to our pianist Dr. Robert Siebenmann, a heart surgeon with a heart for the less fortunate children, for taking with us the very first concrete step to realizing this library project, – where  children living ten thousands miles from here  may have dreamed of.

About Dr. Robert Siebenmann (English translation of the German original by junasun)

Robert Siebenmann began his piano studies at the age of 12 years with piano lessons at the music school and the Winterthur Conservatory with Emil Schenk.

During his High School in Erlangen ( Germany ), he continued it with Karl Pratter. In addition to the study of medicine in Zurich , he took piano lessons with Alfred Ehrisman . The time-consuming and demanding training as heart- and later as  vascular surgeon, had left him at times with little or no time for playing the piano, However, he had never given up completely to continue with his favorite hobby. But as a busy cardiovascular surgeon at the clinic Hirslanden he has but only on the weekends the time to practice and play .

He feels honored to receive as  an amateur the opportunity to play for a charity event in front of an interested  audience. The main thing here  is primarily to support a charity event, an event being organized now and then  and with success by a group of Filipino nurses of Clinic Hirslanden and their friends. He asks the audience not to expect a professional performance yet  he hopes that he is able to do justice to  the music and to the composers..

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Aries Caces And The Beauty Of Piano Music

by jun asuncion

If  you understand that music is a craft,  then you would also appreciate watching how musicians work offstage in full concentration as they give form to a printed music and refine the details. It is hard work. Personally, I enjoy more watching rehearsals or musical workshops for that matter than concerts for the simple reason that I learn more about music. In a concert situation you’ll only find yourself adoring the artist after a virtuosic or in your own opinion a perfect piano playing and interpretation. But if you ever learned something about the music and techniques, that’s another question.

I have seen two years ago how Aries Cases rehearsed his pieces in the morning before his evening concert, and how he was completely absorbed in his playing amidst the noises around him as chairs were being pushed and pulled, mics and mixer being tested, stage screen rolled up and down, tables set, etc. Aries just went on undisturbed, hovering his fingers on the Steinway keys, playing a barrage of perfect glissandos  of Liszt’s Mephistopheles Waltz, Beethoven’s Appassionata, to name just a few of his very heavy playlist that evening of 2009. After his rehearsal, I helped him re-position the piano in search of the point on the stage with the best acoustic return for the pianist. And then we talked about music.

Now, as my mind is full with classical music again in anticipation of  Aries’ concert  in Zürich next month, I was fortunate enough to have found uploaded video materials with Aries and his student during a master class on Beethoven’s piano works held in Manila. Here you can see how a master shows the student the finesse of piano playing and musical interpretation.

I look forward to meeting Aries next month with Franz Liszt in his luggage, I mean in his head, for I know he will be playing Liszt’s piano works wholly  from memory. I’m over the moon as I imagine  to hear live Liszt’s Liebestraum, Hungarian Rhapsodies, Trancendental Etudes and perhaps Nuages gris.  This year marks the 200th birth anniversary of Franz Liszt, the enfant terrible of piano in his time who, in 1848 in his mid-age, had left the concert stage and retired into seclusion in search of new musical forms and harmonies which resulted in his symphonic poem – a one movement orchestral music-  and  in works containing whole tone scale, parallel fifths, diminished and augmented triads and dissonances, thus breaking the walls  of classical constraints and laying  the foundation for 20th century composers like Ravel, Bartok and Debussy and anticipating to a great extent modern musical forms as rock and jazz.

My acknowledgement to Aries’ student for his uploaded video clips.

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The Pianist

Vienna based pianist Aries Caces is one of the most versatile Filipino concert pianists. Aside from being a chamber musician and repetiteur, he is also a conductor. The late Manila critic Vilma Santiago-Felipe described him as “another gem in the Philippine music scene.” At the age of seven, he enrolled at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Conservatory of Music as a personal scholar of Prof. Feliza Custodio. From 1980 to 1985, he attended the Philippine High School for the Arts and the UST Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of Prof. Ernestina Crisologo and Prof. Bernardino Custodio. In 1982 he won First Prize in the National Music Competitions for Young Artists (Piano Category). Two years later, he was runner – up in the Manila Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competitions. Caces came to Graz, Austria in 1985 upon the invitation and arrangement of then Austrian Ambassador to the Philippines, Dr. Friedrich Posch. He studied with Prof. Walter Kamper at the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Graz. From 1986 to 1993, he was under the tutelage of world-renowned pianist Prof. Paul Badura-Skoda at the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna. He finished his “Diplom” in 1989 and obtained his Master’s Degree (Magister Artium) in Piano Performance in 1994 under Prof. Roland Keller. He also studied Piano Chamber Music with Prof. Georg Ebert. In 1999, he finished his “Diplom” in Conducting at the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna under the tutelage of Prof. Uros Lajovic. Caces has performed several solo recitals and various concerts in the Philippines, Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, and the U.S.A. In 1989, he was soloist of the Hochschulsymphonieorchester in a concert performed at the Golden Hall of the Musikverein in Vienna. He was awarded the “Prix Decouverte” during the Festival International de Musique in Le Touquet, France in 1991. He has also played as soloist of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, UST Symphony Orchestra and the Hannover Kammersymphonieorchester. In 2001, he was a featured soloist of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra during its first European tour. He was a recipient of several scholarships, including the Makiling Academy and Research Institute for the Arts (MARIA), UST Conservatory of Music Alumni Association, Music Promotion Foundation of the Philippines, Cultural Center of the Philippines Young Artist’s Fund and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research.

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A Visit To Sta. Remedios Charity Medical Clinic

 by jun asuncion

Last 2009, 2010 and early this year, we were in the Philippines for various reasons.

In some occasions, we went as far as Bulan, visited relatives and nice places in the region

and, of course, Sta. Remedios and took some photos of people and of these  places.

This year, we shall be continuing with the projects we have in mind for the medical mission

and for the Bulan Observer Foundation that we are trying to set up.

The  Bulan Lions Club Medical Mission

 (photos courtesy of the Bulan Lions Club)

On Mission: Mr. Antonio Vytiaco, Sr. of Bulan Lions Club.

 A photo of Mr. Antonio Vytiaco, Sr. of Bulan Lions Club,
the person who organized the distribution of the medicines
sent by Bulan Observer and Team to the people in need.
 
Special thanks to Dr. Maria Belen Gordola, the president of
the Lions Club International, Bulan Sorsogon Chapter and
all the helpers behind for making their medical missions a success.
 
 
Bulan Observer, together with Franklin Patricio, Elizabeth Patricio,
 Mila Asuncion (all professional medical staff working in
 Clinic Hirslanden, Zürich, Switzerland)
 and our artist, the pianist/conductor Aries Caces are doing
their share (although they are not from Bulan themselves)  in helping the
Sta. Remedios Charity Medical Clinic and the Bulan Lions Club
 sustain their important medical missions.
 
Our involvement in Bulan is purely humanitarian in nature,
 nothing political as we do not have the ambition, the need,
the proximity or the time to engage in politics.
 
 However, to have compassion for the poor people
is something that transcends borders, colors and cultures.
 
 We just respond to this call of compassion, do something with it,
 help and expect nothing in return.
 
This year 2011, our pianist will be performing another
 concert in Zürich for the Sta. Remedios Charity Clinic
 and Bulan Lions Club and will be playing the works of Franz Liszt
in commemoration of  the 200th birth anniversary of this
 great composer. This will be on June 17, 20011 at 7.oo pm.,
 Gemeindesaal Zollikon.
 
Shown here are some photos of the Bulan Lions Club
medical mission held at Sabang Park in Bulan Sorsogon last year.

2010 Medical Mission at Sabang Park Pavilion

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Sta. Remedios Charity Medical Clinic
 (photos taken by Mila Asuncion)
 
Here is the  Sta. Remedios Charity Clinic.
 
The need for repair is very visible.

The Sta. Remedios Charity Medical Clinic

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  Part of the interior of the Clinic.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 The children who live around the clinic area.
 
 .
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
Faces of hope.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Signs of peace.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
L is for love, not for Laban or political fight (opposition).
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 A talk with an older inhabitant as he informs
 about the U.S.- based nurse Angelita Kowalewsky,
 the founder of the Clinic.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
And the time to say goodbye has come.
A quick visit yet we took time to take photos of these children.
Their laughter and vitality is a good sign and their needs are
as small as they are.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Though their needs are small, help them to have medicines
 and medical care when pains and sickness rob them
of their vitality and laughter.
With these images and thought, we left Sta. Remedios and
were happy to be in Bulan again,
 a charming town between its hills and the waters of China sea.
 
 
                                                                                                     ——end——

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To Bulan Lion’s Club

 

We are interested in your medical missions that you do from time to time for the less-fortunate people of Bulan and we would like to know more about it in terms of your experiences with it, the mechanics of how you conduct it, problems met, support and feedback from other sectors and of course your plans and sustainability concepts.

My group is working again on the next fund-raising project and a part of its proceeds will be alloted again to your medical mission. Should you be interested in it, please let us know.

We  also ask you about the present status of the Sta. Remedios  Charity Medical Clinic and,if possible, please send us photos of it.

Hoping to hear from you soon.

jun asuncion

                                                            —————————————

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The Benefit Concert Was A Cultural Success

by jun asuncion 

The piano concert last Thursday, December 10, was a success in as much as it has shown the cultured face of the Filipinos here in Europe. It was therefore much of a cultural success, less of a financial one due to a relatively short time to advertise it in a big scale to reach out more people and one more, December is just a busy month for many people here in Zürich. We were actually advised by the Swiss-Asia Chamber Of Commerce to postpone it for next year but the Filipino organizers, namely Mila Asuncion with me, and Franklin Patricio with Elizabeth- and above all our virtuoso pianist Aries Cases- decided to keep the schedule and just focussed our attention on the aspect of quality than quantity. Little amount, but sincere support- and most of all excellent music! 

And we were right because more often it is quality that speaks around. The many medical doctors  and some friends who sponsored the event , the other medical personnel of the Hirslanden Clinic and  all the other guests – both Swiss and Filipinos- who appreciate classical music were all fascinated and went home with good stories to tell that Thursday evening. With it,  we have laid down also the foundation for future concert planning with Aries Cases and with other excellent Filipino artists who reside in Europe. 

The Ondoy victims would surely understand us if we cannot send that much alone from this concert’s financial turn-over. But to put things in proper perspective again, this concert was actually our expression of deep sense of gratitude primarily to the Hirslanden Clinic for donating a bigger amount to the Ondoy victims last October after we have approached them wherein the clinic director Daniel Liedtke and the communication officer  Andrea Helm- Jochan, after a thorough examination of our case, had promised us the needed help not only financially but also in creating awareness of the problem among the clinic personnel by means of internal publication. 

However, we will pursue next year with our own  humanitarian projects in the Philippines on our own efforts, planned projects that preceded the typhoons last October. It takes time naturally to organize such fund-generating activities taking into account that we are all busy also with our own work, families, etc. 

I will attempt to make a review of the musical part of that evening in a separate article and hope to be able to bring  justice than damage to Aries Cace’s superb musical performance. 

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Before the Storm

Some photos  taken before the storm, – before that stormy Beethoven’s Sonata No. 23 in F minor.

Aries is enjoying the evening before the concert. The next day, December 10, he was already absorbed in his material,

as he practised by himself a few hours before the concert. 

 

Relaxing pose after Mövenpick’s  fine Ice-coffee and cappuccino. 

Franklin, Aries and Jun. A nice evening and good discussions

about the Chinese pianist Lang-Lang, music and the arts and life in the Philippines. 

 

 

  

  

  

  

 

Mila, Aries and Elizabeth. 

Enjoying the basic chordal harmony of the evening. 

The presentation and Concert Evening

 

 

 

 

 

Mila Asuncion delivering her opening speech with power point presentation;

she talked about her experience of the devastating Dante storm 

last May that hit the town of Bulan. 

 

Consul Margarita S. Ibayan delivering her message as she acknowledges

the typhoon assistance from various Swiss charity organisations. 

Aries Caces receiving the big applause after Franz Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz.

 A relaxed pose with Franklin and Mila after a job well done and 

 that furious leaps and bounds of the Mephisto Waltz. 

  

 

 

The talented girl  Sheena singing Ang Bayan Kong Pilipinas ,

a song which brought

everybody back to the “normal” mode after Arie’s  hypnotic playing  of   heavy

and at times dreamy classical pieces. 

 

 

Concert guests hunting for Aries’ autograph.

   

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

   

   

     

   

 

 

   About the pianist and conductor Aries Cases 

 Vienna based pianist Aries Caces is one of the most versatile Filipino concert pianists. Aside from being a chamber musician and repetiteur, he is also a conductor. The late Manila critic Vilma Santiago-Felipe described him as “another gem in the Philippine music scene.” At the age of seven, he enrolled at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Conservatory of Music as a personal scholar of Prof. Feliza Custodio. From 1980 to 1985, he attended the Philippine High School for the Arts and the UST Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of Prof. Ernestina Crisologo and Prof. Bernardino Custodio. In 1982 he won First Prize in the National Music Competitions for Young Artists (Piano Category). Two years later, he was runner – up in the Manila Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competitions. Caces came to Graz, Austria in 1985 upon the invitation and arrangement of then Austrian Ambassador to the Philippines, Dr. Friedrich Posch. He studied with Prof. Walter Kamper at the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Graz. From 1986 to 1993, he was under the tutelage of world-renowned pianist Prof. Paul Badura-Skoda at the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna. He finished his “Diplom” in 1989 and obtained his Master’s Degree (Magister Artium) in Piano Performance in 1994 under Prof. Roland Keller. He also studied Piano Chamber Music with Prof. Georg Ebert. In 1999, he finished his “Diplom” in Conducting at the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna under the tutelage of Prof. Uros Lajovic. Caces has performed several solo recitals and various concerts in the Philippines, Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, and the U.S.A. In 1989, he was soloist of the Hochschulsymphonieorchester in a concert performed at the Golden Hall of the Musikverein in Vienna. He was awarded the “Prix Decouverte” during the Festival International de Musique in Le Touquet, France in 1991. He has also played as soloist of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, UST Symphony Orchestra and the Hannover Kammersymphonieorchester. In 2001, he was a featured soloist of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra during its first European tour. He was a recipient of several scholarships, including the Makiling Academy and Research Institute for the Arts (MARIA), UST Conservatory of Music Alumni Association, Music Promotion Foundation of the Philippines, Cultural Center of the Philippines Young Artist’s Fund and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research. —

The Welcome Speech

by Mila Asuncion

                                                   

The global warming is the greatest contributory factor that created major climate problems also in our country, the Philippines.

The continues change of temperatures and weather conditions are signs that the Mother Earth has began to suffer.

Therefore, every individual is responsible to focus awareness and consciousness to this problem and help in each own way save the planet Earth from total destruction, or the Philippine archipelago from sinking in the Pacific ocean. So, let us unite to fight for a good cause for the sake of our children and their childrens’ children.

Speaking about my personal experience last May 2009,

in Bicol region in the town of Bulan which is located at the southern part of Luzon, this is the „epicenter“ of typhoons the whole year-round.

So people were almost all the time ready: They have rubber boats, bankas or just about any object that floats for them to survive! The typhoon was raging the whole time in the region.

To our surprise, it came to a point that over night water came up to 10 feet high. In high flooded areas, people were gasping for breath, holding on a rope tied in both ends to save themselves, with water coming up to their neck, fighting not to sink in deep mire where there’s no longer a solid place to stand. I have seen how the flood waters carried them away.

Words cannot express what I felt and seen that very moment but these pictures speak more than words.

It was unbelievable and I was caught unaware when we went to the school building where the evacuees were waiting for reliefs.

I just can`t help and I felt as if an apple got stuck in my throat, as I tried my best to be brave and not to cry, but at the end I bursted into tears. I was shocked!

The shivering children with their innocent looks, hungry, anxious and thirsty that the whole night till we found them the next morning as the storm continued pounding the town without mercy with with torrential rains and gusty winds.

No beds, no warm blankets, but in as much that they wanted to have comfort and security, there is this problem of poverty which is making their situation even more miserable.

We came to their rescue ; me, my husband as well as other relatives around. Indeed, we suddenly found our selves in the midst of Humanitarian Action:

Hot drinks, juices and simple food at that instant moment were served and using our personal belongings to dry them.

The children dared to smile while waiting for their turn when they were served with their foods and drinks.

In Bulan, a town in southern Luzon, we went before this storm to a small barrio called Santa Remedios to visit the Sta. Remedios Charity Clinic, a small but cozy place built by a single woman’s compasion for the sick, the helpless and the vulnerable.This woman is a Filipina nurse working in the United States of America whose name is Angelita de Guzman Kowalevsky.

This clinic has served sick people from neighboring islands with two volunteer doctors and two trained helpers.

This caught my eyes and heart, and I would like to say that this woman, though I have never met her yet personally, is one of the Florence Nightingales in our country.

These pictures were taken the day before the storm.

Unfortunately, this was submerged during the devastating storm.

And this is what Angelita said:

„I had been supporting this clinic for four years now. I need your help desperately. Please save one more life. Let us all continue this humanitarian services“.

Ketsana, Ramil and Parma. The three devastating storms last October.

These became the root and cause of why we are here tonight but this problem that we are facing every time is really very awful.

Billions of pesos were lost in properties and harvests as well as hundreds of lives- an experience that will be transmitted from generation to generation because this was one of the worst catastrophes in Philippine history.

With our heartfelt gratitude, we welcome you all tonight with the presence of our First Secretary and Consul Margarita S. Ibayan of the Philippine Embassy in Bern.

We wish you all a pleasant musical evening.   /

(Photos by Dr. Jun Gao and Mr. Jun Asuncion)

 

 

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