In our continuing series, we bring you more stories about personal pandemic heroes—those who made other people’s lockdown lives easier, happier.
The start of the lockdown brought a lot of uncertainty and I felt the need for a comforting, reassuring and supportive voice—someone who could make sense of what was happening. I found that in Fr. Domie Guzman, the parish priest of Our Lady of Sorrows in Pasay City.
As a forward thinker and a man of action, he immediately set up the daily and Sunday online Masses of his parish for the benefit of his community, and luckily even those outside.
Hearing daily Mass became part of my quarantine life, and Father Domie’s homilies are always inspired. They were not just insights into the scriptures, but motivations to live a purposeful life. It helps that Father Domie is an engaging, passionate and gifted speaker. —Abbey Tomas
My sons Kubing and Kunta have helped me a lot during the enhanced community quarantine. Both of them were responsible for setting the table for every meal, cleaning up and washing the dishes. They also feed the dogs and take the garbage out every night. They even cook for us sometimes. Our family doesn’t have household help during the pandemic and we maintain a huge area. My boys have been very helpful and don’t complain when asked to do chores despite also being busy with their online classes. —Maan Chua
My family helps make lockdown and pandemic life easy. They’re my companions, problem solvers, entertainment system, painkillers. Spiritual teachers. All of the above. They help keep me sane. They are artists, too, in their own way, follow them on Instagram: @levitation_studio, @_interstellayt_ and @washimachine_mnl. This is a big shoutout to my family, my wife Ge, my son Vito and daughter Estella. Love you! —Diego Mapa
My kids Cash and Carrie made my pandemic life a little easier and happier. We got to spend a lot of time together. —Nikko Lim
Pandemic life has been quite crazy, especially as we’ve been in it for a year now. Two things that I struggled with were managing my anxieties and staying hopeful and optimistic about meeting my personal goals.
I have to thank my good friend Luigi Cortez for the random check-ins because it really helps having a friend who’d go out of his way to do that. Even now that he’s on another side of the world pursuing his MBA (Master of Business Administration) and we’re in different time zones, he never fails to make time for our random catch-ups. The mere fact that he’s pursuing his MBA in the time of COVID has really inspired me and made me believe that pursuing goals shouldn’t be stopped by the pandemic. —Macky del Rosario
Some of the most effective pandemic heroes are the ones we see within the four sides of our computer screen. After randomly attending online Sunday masses, I found Fr. Jerry Orbos again on Facebook—again, because he would occasionally say Mass in the condominium where I stayed.
Father Jerry has the God-given ability to lift his listeners’ spirits; other than his occasional jokes and ingenious acronyms, his deep insights and assurances of God’s love have been absolute lifesavers in times of isolation. “It is better to be presumptuous of God’s love than to ever doubt it,” he said. “Kapal-muks na lang kami, Lord.”
He never turns political, threatening, or judgmental; this cancer survivor generates pure positivity and is a living, breathing messenger of divine compassion, in my book. He also runs a foundation that supports retired missionaries of the Society of the Divine Word, the order he belongs to.
Once, in sheer gratitude, and since he has been locked down in the Divine Word Seminary since the pandemic started, I sent him some vitamin C as a selfish investment in keeping him healthy. He texted back, “I need Vitamin P, too—prayers!”
From the comments during Mass, it’s obvious I’m not the only one Father Jerry is keeping afloat during this time, and I thank God so much for him. —Alya B. Honasan
My three girls
I am so grateful for my three girls. My loves, my life.
My amazing wife who has become a homeschool teacher, psychiatrist, fitness instructor, handyman, yaya referee, entertainment director, master chef and guidance counselor, among other things. And my two kids who are my daily happy pills. —GP Reyes
Online food community
As a food lover who has been keeping a Facebook food page since 2012, the start of the community quarantine a year ago posed many challenges as it meant that I could no longer dine out and try different restaurants. That’s my hobby, a way to entertain myself while being a housewife who does all the housework. Also, where would I buy our family’s food supplies given the quarantine restrictions?
Thankfully, my husband Caloy introduced me to an online food community, which was set up on Facebook for our neighborhood, and it’s where we can shop for all sorts of food items that we need or want.
From eggs, fresh seafood, meat, fresh vegetables and fruits to home-cooked meals, restaurant dishes, cakes, ice cream, cookies, wagyu cubes—almost everything is available for delivery in our area. The group is now almost 10,000-strong, with food purveyors from neighboring villages joining in.
The convenience of ordering food online without ever having to step out of the house is really something to be thankful for. Not only does it make our lives a lot easier during this very unusual time, but we also get to help our neighbors and small business owners earn a little income during this pandemic.
I’ve discovered an abundance of food options and a wealth of good home cooks and talented home bakers within our community, and therefore have not skipped a day of posting on my food page. I’ve also met many wonderful neighbors because of it.
One of them is Armand Bicaldo, a home cook who makes our family’s now favorite crispy adobo flakes. He followed my food page, and when he saw that I made jars of acharang labanos (pickled radish) for my teenage daughter, he offered to trade his Ilonggo-style beef tapa (also known as kusahos) for it. Not a fair trade, I know, but he insisted and so the food exchange was made.
We both enjoyed what we got and it’s really a testament to how food can bring people together. Before the New Year, he sent me a scrumptious apple pie as a “thank you” gift for being a regular customer. These little things have made my quarantine life a lot easier and a little interesting. —Joy Cruz
Little torch of light
The pandemic made me realize that the world can just stop, in a snap. On March 12, 2020, I left Bonifacio Global City and went back to our Quezon City family home. What a year it has been! It has made me aware, that in times of uncertainty, we all go back to basics.
Amid anxiety and stress, I have one hero who got me going. It is my nephew Andrei Christopher.
Andrei was my little torch of light in these dark times. He made me realize that the innocence of a child is a beacon of hope. Viewing things through a child’s eyes is a reminder to live simply. He was so happy when the pandemic kept the family home every day. Isn’t family the most important thing, after all?
I thank Andrei for his wild imagination, cutest antics and fun trivia, his “Tita, do you know?” moments. He saved me a hundred times, when the world was so dark and filled with negativity. My pandemic hero is someone who doesn’t even realize at his young age that he saved me from all this madness. —Maui Pere
I want to share about my husband Brandz, who lost his job during the pandemic. He has been an amazing partner and has made this difficult time a breeze just by being so supportive and helpful with house chores and helping me take care of the kids.
He makes us over-the-top, resto-quality dishes every day and he just enjoys serving us and making us happy. He has always been an amazing husband and dad, but I am so happy to have him home more because his presence makes everything light and wonderful! He also has a very positive outlook that has been really helpful amidst all the bad news we were receiving last year.
Also, I see him constantly trying to become a better parent to David, our newly adopted son. It hasn’t been easy, but having him around has made everything better and has reminded me that we can get through anything!
Not only that, he also started a food delivery business and has also built a commissary kitchen to help expand his business. I am really grateful for him, and he is such a hero to me and to the kids! He is the best. —Trix Clasara
My wife, Kim, has really made this pandemic more tolerable for our family through her cooking. Since dining out isn’t an option for us anymore, she always makes an effort to learn and cook new and special dishes for us on the weekends. The kids now just request for their favorite restaurant food from their mom! —Paulo Rodriguez
My president, my friend
I was in the events and advertising industry for more than 15 years, and I played music gigs for 17. This pandemic turned my life upside down, as the industry that gave me my livelihood was badly hit by this nightmare. Our company closed down and I lost my job. It’s been a year now since I played my last gig.
My mental health was fragile. I was always anxious and uncomfortable.
I made myself feel better by taking pictures of sunsets every single day. It was also my prayer time. It was therapeutic, until reality punched me in the face again. Uncertainties.
After a few months, I got to reconnect with an old friend, Charmy Buan. I call her Bing. I met her in the oddest of ways. In 2016, the car she was driving hit me. She brought me to the hospital and took care of me, making sure that I was okay. Her kindness meant a lot to me. That’s how we became friends. She attended a few of my gigs and I was always happy to see her in the crowd.
While we weren’t always in touch, we kept tabs on each other.
One fateful day, we got to talk again, and Bing invited me to attend a career preview. I grabbed the opportunity to learn about the business that made her successful. It was interesting to me, so I put in the work.
It’s been a few months, and I am now a financial advisor. This changed the game for me. Bing picked me up from being in a slump, drowning in uncertainties. I knew from the start that she was a good person, but seeing what a great leader she is has been such a pleasant surprise. She is inspiring.
Her heart and mission to help others makes her a hero to all of us, the team she leads. Through her mentorship, she has built an unshakable team. Soon, she will be promoted from a unit manager to a branch manager, and this victory is one that she truly deserves.
Hats off to my pandemic hero, president Charisma Buan of Double Dragon Life Insurance Agency. I am truly grateful for the opportunity she has given me to defy odds and be a better version of myself in the weirdest of times. My hero, my president, and my friend.—Honey Machuca
My pandemic heroes are my client- bosses from Foodpanda and Ayala Malls. Most of my agency’s projects and events were put on hold due to the pandemic. But I am very thankful for Foodpanda and Ayala Malls for giving us projects despite the pandemic. We survived 2020 because of the projects they entrusted to us. I am so grateful to them. I wish our fellow agencies would also recover the soonest. Kapit lang! —Kimo Cea INQ
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