- Overseas Filipinos shared lessons learned from coronavirus crisis
- Stay at home, focus on your life and family
- Frontliners like doctors, nurses, paramedics, police are our unsung heroes
In the past 100 days since the first COVID-19 patient was detected in Wuhan, China, there are more than 1.7 million confirmed coronavirus cases around the world and it's soaring everyday as the virus spread like wildfire. The death toll is more than 100,000.
This pandemic has caused pandemonium globally. It is worse and a serious threat than the World War II since you cannot see your enemies as there are asymptomatic people as well. Thus, to contain the virus, people are in quarantine, and the world is in a standstill - airports, transportation, malls and businesses no longer operational. The world economy is now in the brink of Great Recession.
We must stand united to win this battle against coronavirus crisis. So nowadays, people stay at home to avoid COVID-19. They are safe in isolation, able to focus more, reflect on life and spend quality time with family.
Gulf News interviewed 10 Filipino expatriates based in the UAE to know their situations. They have shared lessons learned from this crisis.
Aurelie Guntang, Homemaker, in Abu Dhabi said: “This pandemic teaches us to be more responsible not only for ourselves and family but also for all the people around us. I learned to be patient and sacrifice for the greater good. It draws out the conflict between individual happiness versus moral obligation. It also allows us to reflect on what really matters in life, appreciate life more, learn to value the small things - talking to family and friends, something we are all doing now, but often gets neglected in everyday life.
I learned to be patient and sacrifice for the greater good.
Although people are practising social distancing to avoid contamination, they are now learning to spend more quality time with family and friends within the comforts of their own home. Leugim Jonard Dawis, customer service agent, Dubai said: “I have learned to value life, learned to be cautious, learned to be prepared in all aspects. I have learned to be grateful and not taking things for granted.
"This pandemic has instantly changed life as we know it. We all learned how to live without malls, gyms, fast food and the usual things that comfort us. Our movement and actual social interactions were made limited so we have learned to appreciate what we have in front of us - food, home and our family.
"We have also learned to appreciate the sacrifices of those who risk their lives to help aid and save others because it’s their job and it is their calling."
I have learned to value life, learned to be cautious, learned to be prepared in all aspects. I've learned to be grateful and not taking things for granted.
"Most importantly, as we have witnessed thousands of fatalities from this pandemic, we have learned that life is indeed short and fragile and that we must put more value to it by doing things that truly matter.”
During this time of pause, people are reaching out to each other in astounding ways. Frontliners like doctors, nurses, paramedics, police and other unsung heroes bravely face the dangers of contracting the virus, to help save the lives of others.
Karen An De Guzman, Office Manager, Dubai learned the importance of being humble. She said: “Money cannot always buy you protection or make your family and you safe. Heroes are sometimes just ordinary people doing their jobs and making sacrifices for the greater good.
"God will look after us all."
Heroes are sometimes just ordinary people doing their jobs and making sacrifices for the greater good.
Dawn Almario, working as a creative director in Dubai, said: “I have learned to thank God every day I wake up in the morning alive and still healthy. I have learned that health is truly our wealth. I have learned that we are not invincible human beings, the hidden and the smallest of enemy can destroy humanity, and we should be humbled by that.”
I have learned to thank God every day I wake up in the morning alive and still healthy.
People are refocusing their attention on things that really matter, perhaps from a new perspective that they had never considered before. They are more compassionate and have strengthened their faith.
Rhea Anne Telog, a senior administrator in Dubai, said: "Things that I have learned from this current situation - family, friends and health are of utmost important. Most of the time, we tend to forget to spend quality time with our family and loved ones because we are busy at work and preoccupied with other activities. But sometimes even some small gestures like greeting them with a hello can mean a lot to them. I also learned our health is important and we should always look after our well-being because we have only one life; if we don’t take care of our health, then no one will."
We should always look after our well-being because we have only one life.
"At this time that we are home, we all need to ponder why all these things happen. It’s a realisation that not all in this world is permanent. Even if you are rich or poor, everyone is the same, if it’s your time, then it’s your time. Just make time and focus on people you love, family.”
Health is wealth
Mark Paul De Jesus, a senior manager in Dubai, said: "I have learned that health is wealth. It is not about how much you earn, how many friends you have, or how famous or powerful you are. The virus doesn't choose anyone. Everyone has to be careful and maintain cleanliness.”
The virus doesn't choose anyone. Everyone has to be careful and maintain cleanliness.
Do good deeds
Jasper Saquilayan, based in Dubai, suggested to never judge the people especially those who have little to nothing in any aspect, as one day you may find yourself having nothing at all. "All the riches and fame that you have right now will not save you from this disease. So, it’s time to share your blessings to the less fortunate, especially to those frontliners who are taking care of the COVID-19 patients. Always respect one another no matter what, never look down on anyone, because happiness depends on your attitude and good deeds, not on earthly things. So let us show compassion and kindness to one another.”
So it’s time to share your blessings to the less fortunate, especially to those frontliners who are taking care of the COVID-19 patients.
The world is changing fast now, we are comforted, not so much by what we have acquired but by the people in our lives and the memories we have created. People are taking a fresh look at how they fit into our rapidly changing world. They have learned how to appreciate simple things in life now more than ever.
Simple things matter
Olga Barcelona, head of operations at a firm in Dubai, is grateful that she and her family have food on the table, water to drink and roof above them. She said: “The simplest things in this world are the most important, that’s all we need.”
The simplest things in this world are the most important, that’s all we need.
Christine Leslie Crisostomo, an executive administrator based in Dubai, has learned to appreciate little things even more. She said: “I make the most of my time with the people around me now, especially all my loved ones (immediate family). A simple 'I love you' or 'take care' everyday won’t harm me in saying it to them. Life can be so unpredictable, thus while you can never miss a day in your life tell them this phrase as it cost nothing at all.”
I make the most of my time to the people around me now, especially to all my loved ones abroad.
Aiza Luzung, a financial services professional based in Dubai, said: “I have learned that society reacts differently - some are agile and some are complacent. Either way, we've seen in the history that humans are adaptable. Hence, while the worst is yet to come, we can trust that this too shall pass!
We can trust that this too shall pass!