These ‘lolas’ stayed busy | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

While many associate the pandemic as passivity and lethargy, especially for our grandparents who were not allowed to go out, some stayed busy and productive instead.

Award-winning essayist and editor Asuncion “Sony” David Maramba, 89, a longtime contributing writer to the Inquirer, got her first Sinovac vaccine jab on April 14 at the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Counsel in Parañaque and her second on May 16 at Ayala Mall. “I had no side effects at all!”

All that staying home did weigh on her a bit. “This extending pandemic is something else. The nerves are getting frayed. ‘Stick to a routine.’ ‘Call a friend every day.’ Now, when we feel any throat discomfort, a slight sniffle, muscle pain, a slight malaise, we think, ‘This is it, I’ve got COVID.’ When will this end, and how, with huge funds for COVID, and other priorities, too, unspent, diverted, adding rage to the ongoing fear?”

Lillian Dela Cruz (center) with her grandchildren —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

But Maramba kept active by focusing her energy on one thing—putting together her writings and actually publishing a book. And publish a book she did, “Into My 80s,” in July, which she gave out to beloved friends as gifts. It was a collection of all her uncollected essays.

She remains active and independent. “Up to now at 89, I still don’t need ‘caring for,’” she says. “Before that happens, I hope COVID dries up. If not, paraphrasing something I wrote in my book—Where to go? To whom? But to God again, in total faith and trust. ‘Just come.’”

‘Thank God for the internet’

Activity and faith are characteristics Maramba shares with 75-year-old Lillian Dela Cruz, who is still working as a unit manager for an insurance company.

“My job used to require that I go out and meet clients,” Dela Cruz recalls. She is also deeply involved in various Catholic ministries in Pasig City, where she resides, particularly Christian Family Ministries, for single parents.


The pandemic changed how she did things—but did not slow her down. “Thank God for the internet,” she says, as she now conducts the same client meetings and ministries over Zoom (she and her group are even starting a new biblical apostolate under the Diocese of Antipolo).

Living alone, she does everything for herself, and considering she is as busy as ever, she admits of the pandemic: “No complaints.”

She got her first Sinovac jab on April 28 and her second on May 29 with no side effects. “They were very organized,” she says of the Pasig local government. She is also lucky to have no comorbidities.

She observes that for people her age, the pandemic “has given them an opportunity to explore their more spiritual side” to cope with what is happening around them. “We are actually starting new Bible studies!” INQ

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