How would you like to remember this pandemic?

THE GREAT AWAKENING From left: The author Marilyn de Mesa, travel executive; Dr. Mildred Vitangcol, chairman of St. Peter Life Plan, Inc., Dr. Melanie Sarmiento Omar, obstetrician-gynecologist; and Prescy Yulo, founder and CEO of Skin Rejuve Clinics

Covid-19 will definitely be written as a major event in world history. How it came like a terror in the night that left most of us unprepared and defenseless, how it is now still ripping through the economy, industries, lifestyle, culture, and even religion, how quickly it spread, putting us all under the state of constant fear and paranoia. There are no exemptions—everyone could get it regardless of age, skin color, and gender. It is currently a time of gloom and doom. 

Some say it’s a great awakening because nature was taken for granted and that it needed healing. People were busy like worker ants and bees building their own empires and dynasties that they forgot what really mattered in life. Like what happened in the Tower of Babel and in many biblical circumstances, God has a way to change the course of humanity. 

But someday, after the storm, how would you like to remember the pandemic? As for me, I would like to remember this as a time people finally realized there was no need to join the rat race. The world is big enough, and there is a place for everyone. Suddenly we realize we care for each other and we need each other. Yes, we have realized that the world will not collapse even if we spend three months with only the people we love.             

I asked a few friends what they would like to take with them about this pandemic and here is what they have to say. 

In this disruptive pandemic, I had to take stock of myself, weigh the threats and opportunities—as I always do. Most of all, I find moral support from my husband, kids, family, colleagues as I continue to nurture and be centered on my source of inner strength, my faith in God.  I learned not to focus on the things I can’t control. Instead, I focused on opportunities and thank God for the gift of life, family, and friends. 
Money is not everything. I have never been more prayerful. I can’t recall having stayed with York (my hubby) for 100 days after we got married, 24 hours a day.  This was unimaginable before, but realizing it is as a most beautiful experience. Happy nth days of nth honeymoon in 25 years of our marriage! 
I would like to remember that this crisis didn’t stop me from extending my help to others in need. The bright future belongs to those who see beyond the crisis and find blessings to be grateful for and live for, and move forward gracefully with stronger faith.—Dr. Mildred V. Vitangcol, chairman,  St. Peter Life Plan, Inc.

To most, the pandemic may be the most challenging trial of our lifetime. As I say this, I still believe that this was meant to be. It happened for a reason, with a deeper meaning to it that can make our world a better place. I would like to take this phenomenal event as a rare chance to refresh, restart, and refocus.
Refresh. As a doctor, entrepreneur, Rotarian club president, wife, and mother, having 24 hours a day may not suffice. I have a schedule that took almost all of me. Even a wink of good sleep is a luxury. This pandemic gave me the gift of refreshing time, time not governed by schedules, but a time spent with family. Precious memories are again built that make us remember that, it is after all, our family we all live for!
Restart. For years, I was bound to routines of work and responsibilities. The present times may be harder but I have proven that I have it in me to lift everything to God and His plans. Restarting means adapting to the challenge to see things as possibilities for a better tomorrow.
Refocus. This definition has given us a realization of who and what are the most important in our lives. —Dr. Melanie Sarmiento Omar, OB-gyn

As charter president of the Rotary Club of Makati Ayala Triangle, I took it as the perfect opportunity to use our extra time. More than ever, this is the time to serve our fellow men and live by our motto “service above self.” Our frontliners braved this war against the unseen enemy. The least we can do is to support them by sending the necessary PPEs. And a little gesture to share food for the displaced employees and distributing basic essentials like alcohol and masks could be a source of inspiration in these trying times. 
On the commercial side, my team at Skin Rejuve Clinics took the chance to organize and attend online trainings and webinars to maintain our product knowledge and even enhance it further to be most prepared when we overcome the crisis. 
So, despite the pandemic, there are things that have turned out beautiful and meaningful. It is a great time to be with our families when, on “normal” days, we rarely have meals together. Indeed, God knows the best gift ever. —Prescy Yulo, founder/ CEO, Skin Rejuve Clinics