I’ve been watching this young prolific multi-talented mother, teacher and painter from the sidelines. Spotted her on March 8, 2019 when she attended the Conversations on Women and Change to celebrate International Women’s Day with World Pulse sisters Stella Paul and Karen Axalan in Tacloban and gamely impersonated the voices of celebrities. She didn’t tell us she paints. Until that day when I read an announcement about an exhibit of Jesus paintings rendered by local visual artists. Thankfully, I was able to catch the last day of the exhibit and there it was, a handsome Jesus Christ, resplendent in white tinged with gold and signed Rahnee .
The pandemic came and the city is on lockdown. How amused I was looking at her pictures with the kids riding an airplane, relaxing at the beach and on a boat in the seascape of Palawan. By using her brush, they had a family vacation without leaving the house. She painted her walls with sceneries that look like real. I said to myself, one day, I’ll have one of her paintings.
That day came. Poring over the posts in the Tacloban Barter Community on Facebook, I chanced upon pictures of paintings to be bartered. One of them in exchange for canned goods and noodles. Thirty (30) pieces of canned goods and a box with seventy (70) packs of noodles? “What will she do with all of these? Does she have a store?”, my thought bubble asked. Without second thought, I chose Blue Bayou, an 18 x 24 acrylic on canvas. It’s an enchanting blue pond with lilies and dragonflies. I immediately typed “Deal” and fervently hoped I’ll get it. Thankfully, she responded positively.
I beat the late afternoon rush to go shopping for the goods. I was anxious for my painting. And was more excited that I’ll meet a World Pulse sister, a meeting that was long overdue , as it was stalled by COVID-19. We were supposed to gather on Women’s Month for WP Kapihan (coffee talk) in Tacloban. I sent her private messages on my way to the supermarket to update her of my whereabouts. As I was picking the different types of canned goods, the questions cropped up again. “What will she do with all of these? Does she have a store?” The goods were packed. I waited. I checked the shelves again to pass time. A beaming young lady arrived with her painting for barter. I couldn’t keep myself from asking the question. “Does she have a store?”
None at all. She just has a big heart. It turned out that the canned goods and noodles will be distributed to pedicab (bicycle with side car) drivers whose meager income during normal times was further reduced to almost nothing due to the community quarantine. Thus this painting is not an ordinary work of art. It will always remind me of the compassionate heart of a young mother and painter who uses her brush to feed those who have less. It is an awesome reminder that despite the anxieties that this pandemic brought to humanity, there are angels in our midst.
I know one. She is my World Pulse sister. Her name is Rahnee De Leon Candaza a.k.a Angel Lasona.