This week’s personal pandemic heroes include cats, classmates and doctors.
There are a lot of friends and family members who made my pandemic experience less dreadful. I have a loving fiancée who’s with me almost 24/7, and my mom and dad are working from home. I do my best to catch up with very few best friends but when I think about someone who made the situation a lot easier, it’s my cats. The moments I have spent with them made me appreciate home and they eased my cabin fever. My fiancée and I also became much closer because it felt like we had kids of our own. I discovered a lot about my partner’s amazing qualities as a (fur) parent. Our cats made us feel secure, loved and inspired despite these challenging times.
—Prince de Guzman
My heroes who made my pandemic life easier and tolerable are my classmates in Class 12-Generosity. Even though I haven’t seen my 38 sisters for more than a year now, we kept the sisterhood spirit alive. I chose them as my pandemic heroes because they kept me sane by chatting with me about any topic, ranging from our dream unis to coping with school. I feel that they are there for me even though I do not see them in person.
Our sisterhood is stronger because of the hurdles that we have faced this year, such as the unexpected demise of our senior year adviser who made an impact on our lives and helped us survive this extraordinary year.
Generosity 2021, or Gene for short—I am grateful for each one of you. You are more than just classmates. You taught me to compromise, to reach out, to laugh and be humble. I hope you grow as individuals with grace, poise, beauty and wisdom. I’ve been praying for the day that the pandemic will end so that I can embrace each one of you. This may be our last year in high school but you will always be in my heart and I am beyond grateful to have gotten to know you more. Thank you too for being a ray of light in my life. I love you all!
—Juliana Marie L. Mabugat, School of the Holy Spirit of Quezon City
March 13, 2020, was the last time I went up to Paref Rosehill, the school where I had taught for the past 14 years. My teaching career had come to an abrupt halt.
Both senior citizens, my husband Ed, a diabetic, and I, a cancer survivor with asthma, are among those who until now are, as other senior friends jokingly call it, “under house arrest.” Although faced with many anxieties and uncertainties during the lockdown, we were blessed by God with many pandemic heroes, whom I refer to as earth angels, to make sure we had the things we needed.
Raul, a tricycle driver, did the weekly marketing for us. Olan, our son-in-law, would bring groceries. Sasy, our daughter, took care of our bills through online banking.
To keep up our morale, Ina, our daughter-in-law, kept sending us pictures of our grandchildren, Mayumi and Marikit. Our other grandchildren, Rich and Raina, would entertain us with video calls.
On the spiritual side, Marjette Panelo gave me my daily dose of spiritual reflections. Isolation was challenging but we were grateful because we were getting by with all the support being extended to us.
Then, suddenly, we faced a setback. Ed had always had a supply of his maintenance medicine for his diabetes. But he was slowly running out of a couple of meds. I was the one in panic mode because I did not want him to go out of the house just to buy.
Maya de Castro, a student of mine, wrote in an email, “If you need anything, please do not hesitate to contact me. We can send supplies, if you need, hehe.” The kindhearted Maya had included her parents in her “we.”
I failed to reply to her email but the offer was reiterated in a Viber message by her mom, Dr. Cita.
When I remembered Maya’s offer, I did not hesitate anymore. I appealed to Dr. Cita for help. She immediately started asking around. The med was out of stock but she managed to get some, which she sent, along with some groceries, to our house. She also kept on looking for sources.
I also texted a friend, Dr. Siony Acop. I presumed that with hospital connections, she would be able to find enough. She confirmed that the med was out of stock not only in Antipolo, but in the entire Rizal area.
But Dr. Siony was not daunted and was able to buy enough to last for several months. She did this even as she faced a lot of concerns in her commitment to her constituents as Rep. Siony Acop. She, with her son, personally delivered the medicine to our house. Her kindness was heartwarming.
During those stressful weeks of not knowing whether Ed would be able to have his prescription meds, two doctors emerged as his lifesavers. Dr. Cita de Castro and Dr. Siony Acop extended service beyond the call of duty. We sent an SOS and these two doctors came to our rescue. Who, then, will contradict me when I declare that these two outstanding earth angels were sent to me as personal messengers of God’s unfailing love?
—Julita “Jessie” Israel
I’ve been living alone since I was 26 years old and I’d like to think that I’m independent in many ways. But living through a pandemic is something that no one is prepared for. No matter how many life skills I have, I still need help from other people in order to get by at a time like this.
At the start of the quarantine, I was cooking and baking enthusiastically. But I eventually gave up as I got overwhelmed with all the preparation and cleaning that it entails, and this was on top of all the other work that I had to do every day. Also, cooking and baking for one person is not exactly practical.
There’s food delivery but luckily, my good friend Ange dela Cruz and her mom Susan live in the same area and they would send me home-cooked meals almost every day. Sometimes my deliveries would pile up or arrive while I’m still sleeping or at a virtual meeting. The lobby guard, Tatay Abon, would receive all of them and bring the items to my unit when I’m available. The gestures of kindness from these people made the isolation much more bearable for me.
Closer than ever
The one who made my pandemic happier and more tolerable is my fiancé King. Since Day 1, when the pandemic started, he made me feel like there’s no pandemic. In fact, it made us even stronger. Before the pandemic happened, we almost didn’t have time for each other because we were both busy hustling. But during the pandemic, we learned the value of quality time. He made me the happiest when he popped the million-dollar question. We’re ready to start the new chapter of our lives.