Monday, September 27, 2021

110 Years for the Filipino: Lessons of hope, courage and overcoming the pandemic

ELEVEN decades and one would think he’s seen them all. But each of these periods is unique in itself. They are different from one other with their own distinctive highlights.

What is certain is that Insular Life (InLife) has been there for the Filipino all these 110 years.

And these past eleven decades presented interesting experiences of their own: the first half is of growth and expansion, its second a series of great years and some costly lessons. There were periods of unprecedented growth as well as intervals of tempered expectations.

Today, InLife attains another high point, becoming one of very few Filipino companies surpassing 110 years of success and continued service and operation since 1910. But as the company celebrates this milestone, the world is gripped yet again by a most crippling crisis–a deadly battle against the unseen.

The Covid-19 pandemic may be the worst crisis of this generation, because all at once it became a global health, humanitarian and economic crisis. This is exacerbated by the fact that there are no manuals for solutions, no past lessons from which to learn.

InLife views these uncertainties as opportunities to serve and to fulfill a promise to be with the Filipino at all times, even in the worst of times.

Lifting up others

Such is the case for InLife employees Bryan De Matta and Patty Vasquez.

During the early weeks of the pandemic, Bryan and his two other high school friends noticed that in their hometown in Biñan, Laguna, doctors treating Covid patients were also getting infected.

“One reason bakit nahahawa ang mga doctors is because of direct contact with patients during a process called intubation,” he said.

Bryan explained that doctors put a tube into the windpipe of severe Covid patients to help them breathe. But this direct contact procedure increases the risk of getting infected.

“We launched a project called ‘Pledge a Box’ over social media to solicit donations so we can buy aerosol boxes for hospitals,” he said.

These aerosol boxes are made of transparent acrylic material and placed over the head of the patient. The box created a separation between the doctor and the patient.

From March to April, Bryan’s group distributed 45 aerosol boxes to 16 hospitals in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite and Ilocos.

For 25-year-old employee and entrepreneur Patty Vasquez, it was seeing the elderly struggle during the pandemic that made her decide to do something to help.

“I started my branded shoe business ( in 2019,” shared Patty. “I do it online so that I can still be fully employed at Insular Life,” she confessed.

“Yung business ko kapag kumikita ng malaki, tumutulong kami sa iba. Lalo na ngayong pandemic, kailangan tumulong sa kapwa,” she said.

Patty explained that shoes and heels are not essential goods. “What our people need are food, water and medicine,” she said.

“During the lockdown nag-sale ako online and I called it ‘Shop For a Cause.’ I promoted it on my FB and on my IG. All the proceeds of my April sales were donated to the most vulnerable families in Sta. Rosa (Laguna) and to frontliners like policemen and barangay workers. Kasi sila yung mga nasa labas,” she said.

With proceeds from ‘Shop for a Cause’ and her personal money from her mid-year bonus, Patty was able to buy stocks of noodles, canned goods, biscuits, rice, water and medicines for 200 senior citizens and frontline workers.

Pledge to Protect

After the success of ‘Pledge a Box,’ Bryan and his group launched another project called ‘Pledge to Protect.’

“Medical workers were pleading for personal protective equipment (PPEs). That became our next project.” Bryan shared.

Through sustained social media drive, solicitations and family contributions, Bryan’s group collected P175,000 which they used to buy 450 PPEs, disposable shoes and caps for hospitals in Laguna.

Asked why millennials like them embarked on a selfless act for others, both Bryan and Patty credit the example they witnessed at work.

“We are part of a bigger community. We must be aware. Not only sa ganitong situation dahil ang mga Filipino ay laging handang tumulong,” Bryan said.

Patty added: “Na-inspire ako lalo noong nag volunteer ako sa Insular Foundation. It is about giving back. Iyong humanitarian heart ni InLife is aligned with my goals as a person.”

Both Bryan and Patty are volunteer-employees of Insular Foundation.

Ida’s story

While Bryan and Patty took care of senior citizens and frontline workers during the pandemic, another InLifer took on the care of the people under her.

Ida Jacob, who started her insurance career as an InLife employee in 1988, turned out to become one of InLife’s most successful agency leaders.

Having graduated summa cum laude at the Colegio de Sta. Isabel (now Universidad de Sta. Isabel) in Naga City, Ida first ventured into the world of the academe. But her father, at that time already a seasoned and successful insurance agent, urged her to try InLife.

After years of prodding from her father, she relented.

“I was hired as a trainer. Later I was transferred to sales. After about four years, I was promoted as district manager and later on as agency leader,” Ida recalled with fondness.

Ida said from that time on, she has devoted her time, energy and talent to honing the skills of financial advisors, especially more so, during this period of the pandemic.

“I want all my agents to be able to adapt, all my leaders, all my advisors dapat lahat sila makasabay. I need to sustain their morale, their motivation, monthly, weekly, kung pwede, kahit daily,” she said.

Ida admitted that caring for her agents is a role she takes to heart. “I don’t control the minds of my agents, but hopefully by my actions and example, I can inspire them.”

It is what she hopes to achieve for her company, InLife. “It’s Filipino! InLife is invested in our own country because we do not repatriate income to a mother company abroad. If they should get insured, it should first be by a Filipino,” she said.

For more inspiring stories on resiliency, hope and overcoming the pandemic, one can visit: SPONSORED CONTENT


SunStar website welcomes friendly debate, but comments posted on this site do not necessarily reflect the views of the SunStar management and its affiliates. SunStar reserves the right to delete, reproduce or modify comments posted here without notice. Posts that are inappropriate will automatically be deleted.

Forum rules:

Do not use obscenity. Some words have been banned. Stick to the topic. Do not veer away from the discussion. Be coherent. Do not shout or use CAPITAL LETTERS!