One day I was in between meetings and was sitting by myself drinking coffee and just watching people walk by the Coffee Project branch I was in. I was elated by the high volume of people entering the mall to eat, shop or just wander around.
And I started thinking how blessed we are for surviving the pandemic. I remember in 2020 and even during some months of 2021, our lives were drastically altered and our economy ground to a halt because of the pandemic. I still recall seeing our malls totally deserted, it was like Holy Week extended for a long, long time.
And so as we observe Holy Week I hope we can spend time reflecting on this. I know that people have made plans to go out of town and have a long vacation but it is a good time to think about how lucky we are to be able to return to a sense of normalcy.
Holy Week, after all, is about remembering the suffering and resurrection of Jesus Christ and in a way it teaches us about the struggles and rebirths we go through in our own existential reality. Ang pandemya ang ating naging kalbaryo. And I think it is important to understand how it transformed us and how we can build on the learnings to make us better people.
Imagine that time when we were all locked inside our house and we would have food and essentials delivered to us. The streets were empty. We were not able to visit and see family and friends for a long time. Looking back, it was really a horrible experience.
I still remember how weird it felt the first time I left the house after months of lockdown. I thought to myself, “ito pala ang pakiramdam ng bagong laya.” Just very recently I traveled abroad for the first time since the pandemic and as we were taking off with the Japan entourage of President Bongbong Marcos, I really felt like someone traveling for the first time in their life.
This is our resurrection, our rebirth. And it is important to realize how lucky we were to be able to live through the pandemic that has killed (and continue to kill) millions of people. Never forget that at one point we were depressingly counting the number of infections and deaths on a daily basis. Today, nobody notices the daily count anymore.
Let us be thankful to be alive even as we remain vigilant and cautious as the virus is still here with us. And as with all rebirths, this is an occasion for us to renew our lives, how we deal with others and how we move on to a brighter future.
The Holy Week should also be a time for us to recharge. Enjoy some time with the family, have some quiet time and relax so we can be reenergized for the days ahead. Since the lockdown was lifted and the economy reopened we have been on a fast paced recovery mode or as some would call it, “revenge” mode.
Revenge travelers have been crowding the airports, and, revenge shoppers have been trooping to the malls. It is a kind of surge that we welcome, quite unlike the surge in the numbers of Covid-19 cases that used to terrify us before.
It has been a busy and frenetic recovery. And that is good. But now we have some time off. Let us use it wisely to reenergize, to sort of reboot because the task of recovery is a long way from over.
I have always been an optimist. I have always believed that we can overcome all obstacles, be it a pandemic, a political turmoil or an economic downturn. We have always survived. We have always managed to see the light. And as The Beatles wrote years ago:
"Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter Little darling, it feels like years since
it’s been here Here comes the sun,
and I say It’s all right”
Yeah, we’ll be alright.