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Close to Home | The best and the worst

COVID-19 really has so much to show to us. The presence of this illness does not only put the world to a standstill, it has put up a mirror for everyone to reflect on the many aspects of life.

If we are to look at our current situation only on the surface, we will see nothing but the numbers and the casualties, and we will only resort to panic. Looking closer though, we can find many messages. I know very well there are still ideas and reflections that await expression, but for now, let me share mine.

One, on a personal level, we are being reminded again, as a whole humanity, that our days are numbered. One of my friends in a group chat invited everyone to a trip to Mati, Davao Oriental. He is quick to add that the invite is open to all the survivors of this pandemic. We laughed at it but the afterthought hit me. Who knows if I will still be alive when this is over. Of course, I pray that everyone will make it alive after this time, but everyone is easily vulnerable too. The prayer of thanking God for “another day, another chance” has meant so much more this time.

Two, another personal: Lifestyle check. COVID-19 has gifted everyone with a lengthy time to pause and to meet ourselves once more. All the concerns recede, with the basic things highlighted: spirituality, relationships, and health. Finances still cause worries but we hear a lot of “bahala’g saging basta labing”, denoting togetherness as something that’s priceless.

Three, on relationships. Very suddenly, the eyes o f the parents are turned to their children. With the narrowing of daily cares and inventories, the children are being placed solely in the care of parents or immediate authority.

Four, on a socio-political level. This time really revealed the true colors of people. We see now that entitlement is not something that is prevalent only among the constituents of our country. It is blatant and apparent among our politicians. Those who have always been used to VIP treatments and are always getting ahead. Koko Pimentel displayed his insensitivity to others whom he may be infecting with no valid defense to utter. The Marcoses, they’re a classic. We will remember them in the upcoming elections and let’s make sure they don’t make it to the seats they are craving to mope on.

What the frontliners have been asking is simple: cooperation. Quarantines are so that we do not infect more and more people with the illness. The medical practitioners have endeavored to explain it in terms understandable to everyone. It is indeed sad that while some constituents are stubborn and end up in jail, our politicians can’t bear to follow the rules that they themselves have set forth. It’s always about walking the talk. COVID-19 dares unmask the different pretenses of these politicians. We continue to pray for our leaders, though.

Fifth, a short note on spirituality. I have read and watched videos from doctors who are dealing with the virus and many of them have always declared that warmth is very important for the body and immune system. To me, it is also reflective of our society. Our society is ill and it needs warmth from the hearts of human beings. The earth indeed is having colds because the warmth from people has gone away from the hearts and so, being totally connected to the earth, humans need to bring forth warmth so that these kinds of illnesses in our society will also be healed.

COVID-19 brings to us the best and the worst of the times, and we ought to be awake to be able to perceive it.


  • Joan Mae Soco Bantayan

    Joan Mae Soco-Bantayan is a teacher at Tuburan Institute, Inc. She is also a wife and a mother of two. For questions and comments, feel free to drop her an e-mail at or visit her Facebook page, Joan Mae Soco.

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