Neri: Realizations after a year of Covid


It was toward the end of March 2020 when our world was turned upside down because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The country was placed on lockdown and it seemed that life stood still. It has been 12 long months of waiting, wishing, praying and pleading to God for this dreaded virus to end. Meanwhile, we’ve had a lot of time to think and ponder on how fragile life on earth is and how lives could change overnight.

We asked three ladies of three different generations to share the realizations they’ve made after a year of Covid-19.


It’s almost a full year since the Covid-instigated lockdown in Cebu City. Who would have ever thought that a virus could bring leaders of all nations to their knees to humbly seek help to stem its spread? All human interactions have required protocols, including 14-day quarantines, face masks and shields, and physical distancing. These constantly test our endurance and patience.

It will take 7.4 years before normalization returns, experts say. By then, how many friends shall we have lost? Life is fleeting and fragile. Shall we continue, as we have emotionally learned, to be more prayerful? For each friend who passed away, I said: “Lord, your harvest of good people has been bountiful. It pains us, but we must remember that death is a condition of birth, that as you giveth, you taketh, on your own appointed time. Lovingly welcome them back. For us whom they have left behind, let us find our true grit and yield to the full knowledge that you are always with us.” — Lelani Echaves Paredes


This pandemic has brought about suffering on so many levels for so many of us. I’ve realized that we are blessed to still have food on the table, a roof over our heads, a healthy family.

My biggest takeaway from this pandemic, therefore, is gratitude

—Gratitude for those that battle at the front lines of this disease... doctors, nurses, hospital workers who put their lives on the line despite their own fears and weariness.

—Gratitude for delivery drivers, food service workers and others who help us endure and survive within our new isolated realities.

—Gratitude for the tremendous rise in acts of charity, selflessness and volunteerism, especially during the lockdowns when many were caught unprepared or unable to cope.

—Gratitude that the Lord has blessed us with enough to bless others in spite of our own difficulties.

On the lighter side, I’m surprised that I can be a homebody even if I had never stayed home longer than a day during normal times. I find that I am happy tending to my plants, reading, praying, cooking, doing my fitness routines and Zooming with friends and family. We relax over drinks, or Netflix together.

Of course, I would love to be able to travel again, to meet up physically, go to the beach etc. I wish I hadn’t taken all these for granted before. I’m hopeful that with the vaccines, all these will be a safe reality again. But for now, I am as happy as a clam, surprisingly content and grateful.

— Connie Sta. Ana Cimafranca


This pandemic has caused widespread devastation to people from all walks of life, yet the value of family and community is more apparent. We have all witnessed the bravery and dedication of our key workers in medicine, science and agriculture.

Despite the upheavals, there has been a “digital revolution,” a catalyst for communication beyond borders like never before. As for me, I enrolled online to Barbell Rehab so that after the pandemic, I will recommence my mission of transferring knowledge and practical application of health and well-being through fitness.

The world of business adapted to a remote working model across many fields where perhaps it was previously seen as difficult, such as my own—coaching and training. We have become digital nomads teaching health through YouTube and conducting online workshops, one-on-one consultations via Zoom, and personalized home workouts and dietary plans to manage our quarantine lifestyle to keep our health in tip-top shape. Even if problems exist, we still have the choice to adapt and survive. — Raine Baljak


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