Songs for GJay

By April Tiamzon/

NEW JERSEY — While most people strolled along the shore or went out of town for Memorial Day Weekend, some paid tribute to a memory of a little boy. Jose Gabriel Dela Rosa, also known as GJay, is a 7-year-old Filipino boy who was struck by a car in Pasadena, CA last April.

Now referred to as ‘Angel Gabriel’ by his friends and family, May 25 was indeed a memorable day for them. Through the combined efforts of GJay’s aunt, Jessica Ticzon and her boyfriend, Jay Legaspi, a local musical act fundraiser was organized. After the unfortunate incident, Jessica and Jay knew that GJay’s family would need help with paying the endless medical expenses. A week later, they reached out to their friends within the musical circle and invited them to perform.

Students and artists gathered from different high schools and colleges around the area in remembrance of GJay. The benefit was held at Babo Bubble Teahouse in Newport, Jersey City. With the kind generosity of Babo owner, John Sim, the teahouse provided an intimate setting which complemented the blend of acoustic music and celebration of innocent life lost.

Host Ashley Clack opened the evening’s commemoration with a poem and audience participation. Musical acts and poetry performances followed which included: HelloImDylan, Julian ‘JuCe’ Pormentilla, Marq Romero of Warholsoup, and poetic duo Two Warriors’ Mark Habana and Harry Ramos. Jay Legaspi concluded the tribute by covering Death Cab for Cutie’s, I Will Follow You into the Dark.

In just under three hours, almost $700 was raised from the $5, shirt sales, and donations. A kind soul who came just to purchase boba was touched by GJay’s story and donated a $50 check. KellyAnn Nipal and the rest of the Babo Staff, most of whom are still in high school and college also made a generous donation of $100. All proceeds from the evening will go towards the Jose Gabriel Dela Rosa Family Fund.

GJay’s story happened last April when “the family was visiting relatives from their home in the Philippines and had been in the country only a few hours when the collision occurred,” the Los Angeles Times reported. GJay and his father were hit by a car which jumped the curb following a collision with another vehicle, a fire department spokesperson said at the time. The boy’s father, 36-year-old Jose De La Rosa, was taken to the hospital in serious condition, but he got better Friday afternoon, she said. The boy’s mother also suffered minor injuries in the collision, as did the two people in the Altima. Old Town Pasadena was to be their first sightseeing destination. GJay was not even able to enjoy Disneyland or pick out a favorite toy at a Toys R Us since he passed away on the same day at Huntington Memorial Hospital.

Anyone wishing to assist the family may send donations to the Jose Gabriel Dela Rosa Fund, c/o Comerica Bank, 35 N. Lake Ave., Suite 120, Pasadena, Ca. 91101. Or visit


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