SAYING goodbye is tough. Every year, a handful of celebrities and personalities we look up to and who have touched our hearts through their works and contributions in various fields cross over to the other side.

Whether they have worked in the entertainment industry, served as public servants, or represented the country in different sports competitions, they have surely inspired us one way or another. We may not know them personally, yet we somehow feel connected to them.

In the Philippines, among them were former President Benigno Aquino, aka Noynoy, aka PNoy, and Negrense Corazon Victoria "Dinky" Nerves Juliano Soliman, who was a Filipina politician, activist and social worker who served as secretary of Social Welfare and Development twice under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from 2001 to 2005 and President Benigno Aquino III from 2010 to 2016.

In this article, we’re honoring and celebrating the lives and work of some of the most popular celebrities and public figures we have lost in 2021.

Here in Bacolod City, saw the passing of Feast Builder Bro Alan Brillantes and entrepreneur Bro Jaime de los Reyes Last year, a difficult 2020 saw the deaths of Hollywood icons Alex Trebek and Chadwick Boseman, as well as the devastating loss of many stars due to Covid-19.

Everyone is afraid of the Omicron coronavirus variant worldwide. Recently Prayer and Life Workshop Bacolod prayer guides teachers Sis Lorna Lagumbay, and Sis Wisah Magbanua and IT expert Sis Natalie “Nats” Yao, a Negrense who studied at the Ateneo University at Manila. All wore face masks when they visited me. Better safe than sorry.

Recently, bells rang at midday Monday from St. George's Catholic Anglican Cathedral in Cape Town to honor Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, a day after his death at age 90. That's the death I'm praying for me.

In the meantime, let's practice safety protocols. No sense courting death. I appreciate the discipline of Filipinos who all wear face masks. Unlike Americans who insist on “my body, my decision.”

We are Asians who think we are each other’s keepers.