“A Day in the Life” with Toronto Writer Patrick de Belen

Patrick de Belen is an artist’s artist. To be someone of such magnanimous stature, you not only need to be a skilled, talented, successful artist (though he is all of these things.) You must be able to speak to the soul of the listener. Not only from the stage but from day-to-day experiences with those in your life. Patrick, through his work as a facilitator and a role model, uses his talents to spark imagination and a positive mindset towards art and personal self-development. A student of the spoken word, he plies his trade in many organizations around the world, both charitable and non-charitable, showcasing his talent on a consistent, high-calibre level.

But that’s not why you remember Patrick de Belen. You may be mesmerized by his skills, his passion, and his dedication to the craft. But you remember Patrick de Belen for his smile. The way he makes you feel welcome when you walk into a room. The way he unfolds the mystery of poetry, of artistic passion. The way he provides room for grace when a program participant feels incapable of creating anything or feels afraid to share. You remember Patrick de Belen because he encompasses all the good things about art and a love of life.

-Written by Jesse-June Jack, poet, friend, and mentee

Patrick de Belen
Photoshoot for upcoming writing workshop series on “Migration”
Patrick de Belen
35mm Film photo and poem excerpt captured and written by Patrick de Belen
A behind-the-scenes photo from “Last Note” The Film that Should Have Never Been Made. Written and directed by Patrick de Belen.
35mm film photo taken during a pro-Palestine rally in Toronto
35mm film photo of post-event lunch at Next Generation Arts in Scarborough
Patrick de Belen
Photo of poetry performance at the Toronto Festival of Authors with Toronto Poetry Slam and guitarist Jonathan Friedman
Patrick de Belen
Behind-the-scenes shot from “Tell Me A Story About Someone You Miss” a short documentary directed by Patrick de Belen, featured in TVO Docs.


Which ’hood are you in?

I currently have a spot in North York. I’ve lived here for most of my life. This part of the city will always mean a lot to me. I also stay in Manila, Philippines for a few months of the year – when I’m able to skip out on Canadian winters.

What do you do?

I write and share poems. I make films. I facilitate writing workshops. I advocate for more awareness and dialogue about grief, mental health and social justice. I do some community development for non-profits. I volunteer as the resident storyteller for Bereaved Families of Ontario-Toronto. I probably do more, but really, I just tell stories, build community, and help others explore and share their stories too. That’s my vocation. I also walk my dog, take grainy film photos of random places I see, watch movies, play guitar, sing songs, attend rallies, journal, and take my nephew to the park. I think it’s super capitalist vibes to just list what I do for money, but at the same time, I’m blessed to have work I’m passionate about.

What are you currently working on?

In terms of things that are coming up, I’ll be performing at a poetry show on March 17th, at the “Famous Last Words” Showcase at the Drake Hotel in Toronto, in collaboration with Toronto Poetry Slam and Death Rides A Unicorn. I’m also facilitating a series of writing workshops inspired by the theme “Migration”, in collaboration with an arts organization called “Jamii” in The Esplanade neighbourhood in Toronto. I’m also facilitating other writing and wellness workshops in a few other areas around the city, and some art healing spaces with my friends at Next Generation Arts, based out of Scarborough. I’m interviewing a group of Filipino filmmakers for a series called “Filipinos in Film” in collaboration with the inaugural Siné Filipino Film Festival (their festival is in April, check them out!) and Toronto Film School. Like most local artists, I have even more projects in the works, but the last one I’ll mention is that we’re currently in the final stages of post-production for my debut feature-length film “Last Note”, a documentary about mental health, the Filipino-Canadian immigrant experience, and my little brother Jordan, who we lost to mental illness during the pandemic in 2021. We hope to premiere “Last Note” in the Fall.

Where can we find your work?

The best way to connect with me would be my social media: Instagram and TikTok, or you can send me an email through my website. Hit me up anytime.