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Heart Evangelista leads Thalassemia Day celebration

Actress Heart Evangelista (Love Marie Ongpauco-Escudero to her family and close friends and wife of vice presidential candidate Senator Chiz Escudero) led the celebration of the 11th World Thalassemia Day with the Thalassemia Association of the Philippines and the Oxygen Art Gallery.

During the event on Jan. 9, children with thalassemia and their families from Manila and nearby provinces converged at the Lung Center of the Philippines (LCP) to voice the need for policies in the Philippine health care system that will support basic care for thalassemic patients.

Heart with thalassemic patients at the Lung Center of the Philippines

Thalassemia is one of the world’s most common single-gene disorders.  Sadly, it remains largely underdiagnosed in the country.  In its most severe form, patients need regular, monthly blood transfusion in order to survive. They also develop lethal iron overload from the blood transfusion requiring patients to also take lifelong maintenance of iron chelating agents, averaging around P30,000 per month.

The Kapuso star also led the ribbon cutting during the event

Sufferers are mostly children and their families face difficulty due to blood shortage and lack of money to support chelation therapy.

“Thalassemia deserves priority in the country’s health agenda,” says Dr. Liza Naranjo, a pediatric hematologist and officer of the advocacy group Thalassemia Association of the Philippines, “if you are Filipino thalassemic, the trend is that usually you get overwhelmed with heart and liver complications by age 10-13 yrs.”

Heart distributing art paper to thalassemia kids 

“There is still a lack of regular blood donation for our patients. Unlike in other countries, Filipinos are not yet conscious that blood donation is a social obligation,” adds Naranjo.

Heart Evangelista, who is also a visual artist and a thalassemia advocate for over 10 years now, conducted an art workshop for 80 children who are suffering from thalassemia.

Heart teaching kids to draw
Kids show off their work 

The finished artworks by the children will be displayed and sold at the Lung Center of the Philippines’ Oxygen Art Gallery to help raise money to support their medical needs.


Jose Javier Reyes in ‘Art 2 Art’

Award-winning director/ scriptwriter Jose Javier Reyes guests in today’s episode of Art 2 Art. Fresh from the box-office success of his filmfest entry, My Bebe Love – which he swears will be last time he will join the event – Reyes tells host Lisa Macuja how he just stumbled into film as a sideline.

 From his main vocation as a teacher, he eventually became a screenwriter and director. To date, he has penned more than 200 produced screenplays and directed over 60 feature films. He has returned to teaching at De La Salle University.

Art 2 Art host Lisa Macuja and director/scriptwriter Jose Javier Reyes crack up over an anecdote that the latter shares about his work in film

In Art 2 Art, Reyes shares anecdotes on how he got to write the script for the award-winning film Oro, Plata, Mata, collaborating with Ryan Cayabyab for the musical Katy! and creating the iconic role of “Doña Buding” famously played by Nanette Inventor.

Produced by the Manila Broadcasting Company, Art 2 Art is aired every Sunday, 3:30 to 4 p.m., on DZRH (666 khz on the AM band), on cable television via RHTV (Channel 18 on Cignal Cable) and online through DZRH Live Streaming.

Sculptor Agnes Arellano shows Art 2 Art host Lisa Macuja a maquette (small version) of her works, which will actually measure more than three meters tall.

On Jan. 24, Art 2 Art welcomes sculptor Agnes Arellano who is best known for her surrealist and expressionist work in plaster, bronze and cold-cast marble. Although Arellano has a degree in psychology, it wasn’t until she took fine arts as a second course that she found inspiration. Since then, she has been creating “inscapes” which she describes as the integration of individual elements into one totality.

Art 2 Art host Lisa Macuja with prolific playwright Rody Vera

On Jan.31, prolific playwright Rody Vera shares how he wrote his first play while still a high school student. A Palanca Awards Hall of Famer, he is head of the playwrights’ group Writer’s Bloc, Inc. and is the founding organizer and festival director of the annual theater festival Virgin Labfest. Vera co-wrote with Mixcaela Villalon the forthcoming rap musical 3 Stars and a Sun for PETA, featuring the music of Francis Magalona.

 For inquiries, please e-mail art2artdzrh@gmail.com. On Facebook, check out the account Ballerina ng Bayan for updates on Art 2 Art episodes.

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