With less than a hundred days to go before Christmas, we need to start retuning our lives to spread some holiday cheer amid this pandemic. Everyone has been handling 2020 differently, and while some people may only focus on the positives to get through the days and weeks, it’s important to address the negative issues as well, and somehow find a balance between personal and work responsibilities.
“Zoom fatigue” is the phrase of the year. It strains our mental states, not giving us any visual break to refocus, and our brains get scrambled. Meanwhile, in the background, at home or at work, life goes on at full blast and we all have less capacity to cope. Work-life conflict is just heightened by the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.
We all need to curate our world, to choose the important and discard the excess. With our social networks, we need to focus on three to five real-world friends, and push the Facebook friends to the background. We need to choose friends with whom we can have meaningful talks and feel loved. These are our best antidepressants, and they are better than any drug or supplement out there.
Curating our social media and current news is also key. Stay light and positive. When you read good news, read to the end. I recently read about the generous funding projects of the Asian Development Bank, (ADB) which left me in a good mood.
In the article, ADB’s president Masatsugu Asakawa said, “Our assistance will be critical in responding to the COVID-19 crisis and building inclusive and sustainable recovery in the poorest and most vulnerable countries of the region.” With that, ADB’s board of governors approved an additional $4 billion in funding for Asia.
ADB recently conducted their 53rd annual meeting virtually, like many organizations, for the first time ever. Originally scheduled for May in Incheon, South Korea, the meeting had to be delayed and restructured due to the pandemic.
I am so glad I got to attend the 52nd annual meeting of ADB in Fiji last year with Vina Francisco, principal HR specialist. It was an enriching experience that I hope to be part of again in the future. But thanks to the wonders of Facebook Live, I was still able to participate this year.
One of the most interesting sessions I listened to was about the need for universal health coverage in Asia and the Pacific, for COVID-19 and beyond. Finance and health ministers from around the globe shared their insights and learnings. There are still a lot of uncertainties, but it’s reassuring to know health care continues to be a key priority for ADB.
I also zoomed in on ADB’s Insight Thursday session, which featured chemist Pinky Tobiano as guest speaker. Pinky talked about practical health and safety protocols and identified which disinfection methods, such as liquid disinfecting, misting, air purifying, UV lighting and smoking, were most effective in various situations.
This weekend, Pinky and I shared protocol tips and other pandemic updates that could help keep Balesin Island Club virus-free. She also told me about her weekly “Grateful Tuesdays” programs that help so many families in need.
In refocusing our “new normal” lives, we should include charity whenever possible. To generate funds for the various charity programs of Santuario de San Antonio Parish, an eight-day online concert will be held in time for the annual Francisfest in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, founder of the Franciscan Order.
Titled “Build My Church on a Song,” the concert features two world-class Asian opera singers: Rachelle Gerodias, the country’s premier soprano, and her husband, Byeong-in Park, South Korea’s renowned baritone (tel. 0917-8191649, email [email protected] for inquiries and donations).
With a special message of hope from Jose Mari Chan, the concert will premiere on the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi Oct. 4, 8 p.m, and will run until Oct. 11, 11 p.m. It can be viewed through the Santuario de San Antonio Parish’s YouTube channel and Facebook page.
As a gift to commemorate the 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines in 2021, their major beneficiary will be the St. Clare of Assisi Parish in Dagat-Dagatan, Malabon. Forty thousand families in Navotas and Malabon are in desperate need of a church where they can congregate for masses, prayers, formation, counseling and community building. Construction will begin in 2021.
Proceeds from this event will likewise support the various SSAP Parish Outreach Programs, carried out by their Social Services and Development Ministries, including hospitals like the Philippine General Hospital and Rizal Medical Center, jails, scholarship and others.
My fellow night owl, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, has been posting her local travels to check on the possible opening of different regions. Her recent trip to Boracay Island showed me how truly beautiful the Philippines is and how we all should really help promote and support local travel.
Chroma Hospitality, the management company of Crimson Hotels and Resorts and Quest Hotels in the Philippines, is offering exclusive markdown rates in their first online sale dubbed SOS September Online Sale, to help reignite the local tourism industry (tel. 4019999 , email [email protected], bit.ly/soscrimsonmactan).
Crimson Hotels and Resorts in Boracay, Mactan and Alabang and Quest Hotels in Tagaytay, Clark and Cebu will offer the e-vouchers with better rates and exciting add-ons until Sept. 30. Vouchers are valid for use until Sept. 30, 2021.