OUR fight against the Covid-19 pandemic would've been more difficult, if not for the sacrifices of our modern-day heroes, known as the frontliners.
The uncertainties that the pandemic brought not only affected our healthcare system but the world we are living in.
Despite the hardships, these frontliners, regardless of what field they are into, stood up and served the public, not minding the challenges and risks they would encounter.
Monica, 28, who requested not to be named, has been a nurse in a private hospital for almost five years.
Being in the medical sector was already a fulfilling job.
But when the Covid-19 pandemic surprised everyone, she expected that they would be like soldiers battling an invisible enemy.
More than a year of being a Covid-19 frontliner, Monica was not spared from the virus.
Currently under home quarantine, she admitted that the exhaustion of battling the pandemic, which somewhat affected her health and mental state. Some of the mild symptoms she experienced include losing her sense of smell and taste for a few days.
Good thing, she was already vaccinated against Covid-19.
"Dako og tabang nga bakunado ka. Kung tong una pa ko naigo sa Covid, siguro naka-ventilor na unta ko (Being vaccinated helps. If I got infected by the Covid-19 virus earlier, I would’ve ended up under mechanical ventilator)," she said.
Although she felt bad for her colleagues and other patients who were not able to get their Covid-19 jab.
While she had been thinking about resigning many times, she also thought that for every health worker that resigns, the city's healthcare system will always be on the brink of collapse.
"Exhausting mahimong frontliner. Lisod (Being a medical frontliner is exhausting. It is hard) knowing the fact na (that) people are not doing their share. But karon nga naa na ta sa (now we are currently doing the) vaccination, ilahang contribution na lang (their contribution) is to abide by health protocols and magpabakuna (get vaccinated). It helps," Monica said.
Meanwhile, some frontliners are not only confined within the four walls of the hospitals.
Some of them are also battling the realities of the outside world.
For Rogar Garcia, 34, being a teacher under the "new normal" is challenging.
With the current situation, teachers have to adapt to different learning modalities to cater to the educational needs of the student while they are in the comfort of their homes.
"It is crucial," he admitted as teachers need to multitask in order to suit the capability of their learners.
Being a teacher for 12 years, Garcia said the blended learning modality tested his capability as he and his fellow teachers had exhausted all means just to reach out to their students.
But no matter what challenges lay ahead, he said they will always find a way.
Unlike face-to-face classes, the new normal setting had also made them "teacher broadcasters", photo editors, vloggers, and even videographers, just to deliver a more creative lesson to their students.
But because not all students have gadgets and internet, he said they have to print and sort out modules.
"Teachers became more resilient, and strive harder to deliver the expected lessons to the students," he said.
With the world adapting to the new normal lifestyle, teachers are not exempted.
Amid the challenges and stress, Garcia said being a teacher keeps him motivated.
"I am fueled by the thought that a teacher is always a teacher. No matter what your situation, old normal or new normal, your duty is the same. So we are expected to deliver what is needed to be delivered," he said.
"Looking at the eyes of our children, yearning for knowledge and aiming for some good made me realize that teachers really need to help our students, especially to the ones who are vulnerable to this situation," he added.
Teachers might not be directly combating the pandemic, but for Garcia, ensuring that education among the youth should continue. And by molding these students, he said, they might also be the future’s hope, not only in addressing the current pandemic but also to more pandemics in the future.