Betsy Westendorp leads artists in 'Art for a Vision' at The Crucible
() - February 6, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Artist Betsy Westendorp patiently talked to each artist, inviting them to participate in an exhibit that will aid a charitable organization close to her heart: the Ophthalmological Foundation of the Philippines (OFPHIL), a non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention of blindness among the poor in the country.

“I am very honoured to be part of this project once again. We organized a very successful event similar to this one in 2010 and we have high hopes that ‘Art for a Vision’ will produce the same results. I myself suffer from age-related macula degeneration so this advocacy is very meaningful to me,” says Westendorp, Philippine Presidential Medal of Merit Awardee.

The exhibit titled “Art for a Vision” opens on Feb. 10, 6 p.m., at The Crucible, fourth floor, SM Megamall A, Mandaluyong City. The show is on view until Feb. 21.

“Art for a Vision” features paintings and sculptures by Betsy Westendorp, Gus Albor, Virgillio “Pandy” Aviado, Cesar Caballero, Valeria Cavestany, Ramon Diaz, Arturo Luz, Ramon Orlina, Impy Pilapil, Cid Reyes, Juvenal Sanso, Jaime Zobel and Igan D’Bayan. The artworks will go on sale as full donations for OFPHIL’s many projects, with the Ifugao State University-OFPHIL (IFSU-OPHIL) Eye Center at Alfonso Lista in Ifugao Province as one of its main beneficiaries.

The first art sale helped fund the construction of the IFSU-OFPHIL Eye Center. The center is now Philhealth-accredited with consultations and surgeries scheduled every Tuesdays and Saturdays. It is equipped with the Yag Laser for a more efficient treatment of cataract and glaucoma. To date, it has served almost 2,000 patients from Ifugao Province and other neighbouring municipalities.

The IFSU-OFPHIL Eye Center has regular visiting physicians who conduct vision screenings. They also give training seminars to medical officers, nurses, barangay health workers and teachers.

“We are very thankful to everyone who extended their help for this second art sale. With your support, we wish to acquire state-of-the-art equipment such as the Argon Laser, build comfortable waiting areas for patients, construct secure staff quarters for our medical team, and acquire a generator in case of power failure which we usually experience during the rainy season,” says Dr. Felipe Tolentino, founder and president of OFPHIL.

Also in the pipeline is the development of a training center within the IFSU-OFPHIL Eye Center to help accredit specializations for ophthalmic nursing, ophthalmic assistant and ophthalmic technician.

A total of 3.4 million Filipinos are visually-impaired and 62 percent of the cases are due to cataracts, with almost 500,000 blind in both eyes. About 90 percent of people who suffer from blindness belong to poor communities.

“It is important to note that 75 percent of cases of blindness can be avoided through prevention and treatment. No person should be needlessly blind and we hope to reach as many people as possible who have no means for proper eye care,” says Tolentino.

For information on OFPHIL, call 636-1389 or e-mail For inquiries on the “Art for a Vision” exhibtion, call Chari or Inas at 635-6061.

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