Paalam, Joey Velasco, Isang Dakilang Pintor (Updated With Tribute From Gawad Kalinga)
Rest in eternal peace, Joey.
Several hours ago, Jose ‘Boy’ Montelibano broke this sad news on Facebook: “A great GK hero, Joey Velasco, passed away. We hold him dear to our hearts as he held the poor, especially the street children, close to his heart. We send to his wife and young children our deepest sympathies. We reiterate our commitment to carry on the dream of Joey to build a gallery for his works so that his love and his story will live on to touch others.”
I had been praying, as many others were, that this great painter of our generation would hurdle this latest test.
But the Good Lord has seen fit to end Joey’s suffering.
We’re greatly saddened by his passing, but gladdened by the knowledge that Joey is now with the Father.
Joey had been battling chronic kidney problems for sometime.
Several years ago, the deeply spiritual man told me he’ undergone surgery to remove one of his diseased kidneys, and I recently learned he’d gone under the knife for a further procedure.
I never knew Joey had developed cancer.
Last Saturday, news broke that he’d suffered a heart attack and seizures.
Through all his health problems, the prolific maestro had continued creating canvases imbued with his abiding faith in Jesus and intense love of country. Joey Velasco will perhaps be best remembered for ‘Hapag ng Pag-Asa’ that portrays the Savior having supper with street children.
Now it’s Joey turn to be with the Lord at His table, for eternity.
In tribute, here’s Probe’s report on the creation of Hapag ng Pag-ibig:
Lubos ang aking pakikidalamhati sa iyong mahal na asawang si Queeny at sa inyong mga anak.
Rest in peace, my friend. Hanggang sa muli nating pagkikita.
Gawad Kalinga’s Tony Meloto has written an ode in tribute to Joey.
GK has been been a major force in helping the street children to whose welfare Joey dedicated his life.
ODE TO A FILIPINO HERO ( for Joey Velasco)
By Tony Meloto
I’m sorry Joey that I was not there to hold your hand to hang on,
or for Queenie to hug when it was time to let go.
I’m not good with goodbyes, nor a good shoulder to cry on.
I don’t even know how to grieve for a beloved ally and friend
though the loss is deepest, beyond my capacity to express.
I want to keep you alive:
in every street-child who will survive,
In every squatter who will have a home,
You captured their pain on canvas,
and planted their hope on the ground.
The State will probably make you a National Artist,
the Church might even canonize you a Saint.
Your wife will not be a widow deprived of respect,
your children will carry your name without regret.
Rest well my friend, now that there is no more pain.
The dream will be built, the Hapag kids are off the streets.
Now Noynoy is President, as you wished and prayed.
Poverty by 2024 will end, corruption will vanish ,
because you made saints and heroes, out of ordinary Filipinos,
Nation-builder, Jesus-lover, GK-believer, wounded healer, father of orphans – my comforter, consoler and guardian angel – Joey Velasco will live forever in our hearts.