MANILA, Philippines—All children need education to build a better future but for some Filipino youth who are less fortunate, they find it difficult to continue their studies especially when they struggle to go to school.
“Unsung” band from CW Music, a facility of music education in Vancouver Canada directed by Christine Adela White, a Filipino-Canadian beauty queen, collaborated with Regional Lead School for the Arts in Angono (RLSAA) and a multi-awarded band, Freshmen group, in a charity event called “Musikleta: Concert for a Cause”, a charity concert that will be held on December 21, 6:00 p.m. at the OnStage Theater Greenbelt 1 in Makati City.
Musikleta intends to raise funds for foundation called Bikes for the Philippines, a charity group that gives bicycles to unprivileged Filipino children in order for them to attend school. Bikes for the Philippines also advocates an active lifestyle among the youth.
Musikleta is the brainchild of Christine White, Miss Vancouver 2015, cyclist, educator, and TV personality.
Christine, a 240-KM charity bike ride finisher in the “The Ride to Conquer Cancer”, from Vancouver to Seattle, helped raise funds for a cancer foundation. She cycles in memory of her sister who succumbed to cancer.
Christine, an avid cyclist, came across Bikes for the Philippines on social media. Upon noticing Christine’s interest in his charity, Joel asked Christine to attend a graduation ceremony of Bikes’ beneficiaries. Christine who was in the Philippines at that time decided to accept the invitation.
While at the ceremony, Christine noticed that only few Grade 10 students went up on stage for their graduation. Joel informed her that there were some students who dropped out of school because they could no longer attend classes. Some children had to walk kilometers just to be able to attend classes while others had to work at very young age, preventing them from focusing on their education.
After two years, Joel and Christine finally created Musikleta to provide bicycles to schoolchildren so they wouldn’t have to walk for hours and miss school.
It was in 2010 when Joel came up with the idea of lending bikes. While participating in an Eco-tourism program in Bohol, he saw a group of kids walking on their way home from school.
“I see the kids walking and I see that the solution is just a bike.” Joel said.
Through Musikleta, Joel also aims to provide mobile phones to the coordinators of the foundation in order them to have a better means of communication. He also wanted to give them educational trips around the Philippines for best practices.
“We want the bike coordinators to also be able to experience to go to different areas around the Philippines so they can see best practices and that also requires money for transportation, accommodation and allowance. I needed also money to raise that amount for the bike coordinators’ trips to be able to share and to learn from other schools. So it’s travelling expense actually. It’s educational,” he said.
Giving strings for the instruments used by the RLSAA orchestra was out of the bike programs but is also something that Bikes for the Philippines wanted to provide. RLSAA is also one of the beneficiaries of Musikleta.
In order to help raise funds for Bikes, Christine decided to bring to the Philippines her students in CW Music. Unsung will be playing alongside RLSAA on December 21.They are composed of young Filipino-Canadian music artists who are more than happy and willing to help their fellow Filipinos.
In an exclusive interview with Philippine Canadian Inquirer, Christine said that she’s devastated to see unprivileged Filipino kids.
“I see kids in Canada, they are so privileged. I feel the devastation (for the Filipino kids who are in need). Even my own family (in the Philippines), we don’t have electricity. We lived in a farm but things have changed now in Pangasinan. We need to do something,” Christine said.
“Of course there is this notion that, ‘Oh, why can’t you just raise funds back home and just send the money?’ And I said, ‘That’s not the same thing. Yes we can fundraise all we want. Just send the money and just hope for the best. But for the kids to actually be here (in the Philippines) to witness where their efforts are going, who is benefiting from it? It’s gonna open their eyes’,” she answered when asked why she chose to do charity events in the Philippines.
Maxwell Josiah Ng, 12, guitarist of Unsung said that Musikleta means a lot to him. He said that he is confident that the concert would help a lot of schoolchildren in need.
“It feels good when you help somebody especially when you help them to get better education,” Maxwell said.
Musikleta also strikes a chord in Christine because it combines her passions in cycling, education, and music. She also wanted to see the joy in the faces of the kids as they perform on stage. It’s an experience that can’t be bought, she said.
Christine will play the keyboard in the charity concert.
“It (Musikleta) will inspire them (fellow Filipinos) to do more on what they have. We need our fellow kababayans to step up. I realized that if you want a brave face to resonate within your country, you need to help to younger generation.” Christine said.
Orville Tiamson, an artist, teacher, and coordinator of RLSAA, together with Len Carbonell said that helping other people was a noble intention that you cannot explain.
“I call that towards natural high. Believing on that noble intention doing good things, I don’t know how to explain but there’s a set of natural happiness helping one person… and to pursue the artistic career,” he said.
Orville is the owner of Tiamson Gallery in Angono, Rizal where RLSAA rehearse. A patron of arts and promoter of youth’s welfare, Orville’s Tiamzon Gallery is open for the members of the youth who are willing to learn arts and music.
Christel Turno, Justin Valeton, Paul Balaoro, and Donna Olidana are some of Orville’s students. They are also members of the RLSAA.
One of them said that performing in Musikleta is a big help for those who are in need and less fortunate. Another added that the beneficiaries of the Bikes for the Philippines should always feel that they are important despite of their economic status.
The guest performers, “Freshmen”, consisting of Derick Gernale, Levy Montilla, Thirdy Casas, Sam Ayson, and Patrick Abeleda, said that helping people is a priceless experience. They are also happy that they were used as instruments by God to entertain people.
Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The best way to find yourself Is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
On December 21, lose yourself not only in the service of others but in good music too. To watch Musikleta is to give a child a chance for a better future. Let Musikleta serenade you this Christmas!
Musikleta is a charity concert for Bikes for the Philippines. It will be held on December 21 at 6:00 p.m. at the OnStage Theater, Greenbelt 1, Makati City. Tickets are priced at P500, P1500, P2000, and P5000. Grab your tickets now at Ticketworld outlets or at www.ticketworld.com.ph