Diamond in the Rough

In the midst of Helping Land, Leo Velasco is bringing color to the community. He is painting a mural in Helping Land as community members collaborate in bringing his fantasy world vision to life.

And with Christmas around the corner, he even created a Christmas tree utilizing the scraps found in the community.

When my momma and I visited Ulingan and Helping Land the other day, I had the opportunity to meet Leo. He invited me to paint a little something something myself alongside his work. Definitely not his league but honored that I got to!

After painting for a bit in Helping Land, all of us headed to Makati where Leo’s exhibit “I…” awaited. His exhibit is an appreciation for people’s journeys and the memories they bring with them.

As a couch surfer himself, Leo welcomed travelers in his own home. They told him their stories— why they travelled, what brought them to Manila, and where they’ve been. He then painted their stories on their bodies and photographed them to fit perfectly in airplane and suitcase installations.


Thank you Leo for inviting me to color a part of Helping Land with you and also for giving us a special tour of your artwork! I’m excited to see what else you have in store!

– ChiChai@Empire

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