Artist Aurelio Castro III draws a series of pencil portraits dedicated to the fallen healthcare workers who fought and died in the front lines in the war against COVID-19.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of infections has grown to more than 4,000 Filipinos. Hospitals are straining under the surge of patients, lack of medical equipment and a staggering increase of death toll on medical workers. This growing concern has led Aurelio Castro III to pay tribute to them through his art.
April 13. 23 portraits of our fallen heroes. Please do your share para hindi na sila madagdagan!Maraming salamat po sa lahat ng Frontliners!
Using pencil, charcoal and white charcoal on toned paper, the musician and painter drew sketches of 24 fallen heroes.
On April 3, he did portraits of Dr. Greg Macasaet III, an anesthesiologist at Manila Doctor’s Hospital and Dr. Rose Pulido, an oncologist at San Juan de Dios Hospital. The next day, he finished portraits of Dr. Raul Jara, and Dr. Israel Bactol, president and cardiologist, respectively, at the Philippine Heart Center.
A few days later, Castro did the portraits of Dr. Marcelo Jaochico, the provincial health officer of Pampanga; Dr. Sally Gatchalian, the president of the Philippine Pediatric Society; Dr. Henry Fernandez of the Pangasinan Medical Society; and Dr. Francisco Lukban, a cardiologist at the Capitol Medical Center. He also drew Dr. Hector Alvarez of the Novaliches District Hospital, the following day.
Husband and Wife. Dr. Dennis and Helen Tudtud.
Disheartened by the news, Castro also finished portraits of the double tragedy that befell on the Tudtud family. Dr. Dennis Tudtud, a prominent Cebu City oncologist, succumbed to the disease on March 31, days after his wife, Dr. Helen Evangelista Tudtud, a pathologist at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, died.
On the same day, Castro posted portraits of Dr. Raquel Seva of the Evangelista Medical Specialty Hospital and Dr. Leonardo Resurreccion III, chief of the pediatric surgery division of the Philippine Children’s Medical Center.
Portraits of 33-year-old surgeon, Dr. Nicko Bautista who lost his life in a Japan-bound plane that caught fire at NAIA last March 29 and Dr. Dino-Ezrah Halili, a pediatrician at West Medical Center, were also drawn.
More fallen heroes were sketched on April 9. Those are: Arvin Pascual, a nurse from Cabanatuan City and Dr. Mary Grace Lim of the Asian Hospital and Medical Center.
Castro was hoping that his sketches would stop at 15, but as deaths inevitably came, he painstakingly did portraits of Dr. Gerard Fabian De Leon Goco of the St. Luke’s Medical Center, Dr. Janet Dancel Liban of the Far Eastern University Medical Center, Dr. Ephraim Neil Orteza, a medical director of the Ospital ng Parañaque and Dr. Marcellano Cruz of the East Avenue Medical Center.
He also drew Dr. Ronaldo Mateo, a general surgeon at Emilio Aguinaldo College Medical Center. In this regard, Dasmariñas Rep. Pidi Barzaga announced that the operating room complex of the Pagamutan ng Dasmariñas shall be named in honor of the doctor.
Chief Nurse Manny Pacheco of the Mandaluyong City Medical Center also passed away after serving the hospital for 30 years. Castro drew the brave frontliner on April 13.
As of press, Castro finished his 24th portrait— Dr. Roberto Anastacio— a cardiologist at the University of Santo Tomas Hospital and Makati Medical Center. In a post, the artist wrote, “Please do your share para hindi na sila madagdagan! Maraming salamat po sa lahat ng Frontliners!”
With the world dealing with this outbreak, artists have continuously showcased their creativity in hopes of helping people cope and move forward. In a time of crisis and isolation, may art serve as a valuable source of connection and comfort to many.