IN the fourth quarter of the year 2019, the Philippines was brought to the world’s attention when there were series of earthquakes that hit quite strongly some towns and cities in Mindanao.
Government and private resources poured in to assist the affected residents. Gargantuan efforts were made to restore the hardly hit areas to normality.
In spite of the calamities however, when December came people were in their normal ways. They were still in celebratory mood and were hopeful the New Year will be more kind and bring prosperity and happiness.
As usual they openly displayed their beliefs, rightly or wrongly, of buying this and that supposed luck-bringing items to adorn their houses and food table in the hope that happiness and prosperity will not skip them.
But lo and behold, early in the year that follows, 2020 specifically, the sleeping disaster that is Taal volcano rumbled and in its awaken state blew tons and tons of its underground lava and ashes. The Taal volcano eruption lasted for days even weeks, and its activities brought too much devastation to the places surrounding the volcano island that in its calm state is a scene to behold to foreign and local tourists.
When the eruption was slowly subsiding talks started filtering that a developing epidemic in a China Province could evolve into a global pandemic. The pandemic, the talks went around, could hit the Philippines anytime soon and it will have a serious impact on the country’s economy and consequently the people.
And indeed, when March came and the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the China-originated Corona Virus Disease (CoViD) had already hit majority of countries all over the world and officially called it a pandemic, the leadership of the Philippines ordered a general lockdown. First the lockdown was intended for select areas in Luzon. But sooner however it was already covering the entire country. The reason of course is obvious, CoVid 19 now was everywhere.
Then in the midst of the developing pandemic another “shocker” hit the world especially the sporting community. One of the icons of basketball who has legions of fans among Filipinos, Kobe Bryant or the “Black Mamba” died in a helicopter crash with his 13-year-old daughter. It was a big blow to the entire world that certainly has a good number of its population turned basketball-crazy. The man whom many idolized so well suddenly died a senseless death! That’s a big loss for them. So, for a while there were good numbers of Pinoys who lost track of the surging CoViD 19 victims as they grieved over the loss of the Black Mamba.
But soon enough the Filipinos were back to the realization that many have lost their jobs, businesses were closed, factories shut down operation because of the imposed restriction in movement of people.
There were hardly any food in the table. They cannot hope for government assistance as this came in trickle and sometime taken advantage by unscrupulous leaders who found opportunity for making money for their own from the suffering of others.
Then the race to discover the vaccine against CoViD came to the open. It cannot be denied that the rivalry of Pharmaceutical companies has become overt. And media is perhaps, knowingly or unknowingly, been used by certain interest groups. Just think of China’s drug firm accused of bribing Chinese regulators to hasten a vaccine approval! Whose interest will such “expose” benefit?
Then we barely realized that December was already in our midst. The pandemic is already in its 10th month but the end is nowhere to be found, not as yet, except the discovery of vaccines.
Then we noticed that the landscape of the Filipinos’ social life had been changed radically. All the more because it was not only the pandemic that brought us down to our knees. Shortly before the onset of December, the Philippines was battered by successive disastrous typhoons. There was one of the 4-typhoon series that brought so much rains that it inundated several provinces and some metro cities. As expected the devastation was so severe that only the Filipinos’ resilience and tenacity made then survived.
Thanks greatly to those who were spared the calamities for they were quick to rally and help their affected brothers. They did not hesitate to share whatever they have if only to let other Filipinos see through their dark days.
And yes, December came in and is about to end. Today is in fact the last day of the year. Christmas was still celebrated but more in the spirit than in gaiety. The giving and sharing were still very much around but all of these were in a much subdued manner.
Of course there is still our usual welcome of the New Year that is 2021.and the hope that by the New Year, the pandemic will make a slow exit and we will be going back to the NORMAL that we desire.
And yes. Hope springs eternal. Still a Happy and Prosperous 2021 to all!