Editor’s note

Sometimes the most effective way to beat a depression is really, by getting out of your self-absorption and shift your focus to helping others. You will find healing in so doing. It’s that simple! 

Today, I hope to take your mind off from our bubble by looking outward into Malaysia and the Philippines for inspirations.

On the video, you will find practical advice on how to maximise your time at home and good reasons for optimism from Dr Renard Siew amidst this time of crisis.

Next, I invite you to read a slightly longer article (which I decided to leave unedited). This is the story of Art, our YEC 2019 participant from Manila who gave us his account of what life is like with an entire city undergoing Enhanced Community Quarantine for the last 3 weeks, and learn from the perspective of how youths in the Philippines are responding to it.

I promise, if you read Art’s essay from start to finish, you cannot help but be uplifted by his selfless courage and count your blessings to have boredom as your biggest problem.



Photo: Art Sumalinog (R) with Louise Mabulo (C) (Speaker) and Miel Reganit (L) at YEC 2020

Q&A with Art Jun Sumalinog
University of Nueva Caceres
AB- Political Science

What is the situation there in Manila like right now?

The entire Luzon Philippines where Manila is located has been under the “Enhanced Community Quarantine” for more than 3 weeks now. All works and businesses were called for a stop, as part of the precautionary measures imposed by the Philippine government to mitigate and prevent the further spread of the virus.
The number of confirmed cases of the Covid-19 infection in the country is significantly increasing each day and the Philippine government is having a hard time looking for the best possible solution to stop the spread of the virus. The current situation in the Philippines burdens the common Filipino families and citizens, specifically those who rely on works which function on a daily basis; they are struggling on looking for resources that would help them suffice the basic needs of their family.

How has it affected your daily life?

As a youth, it is quite hard for me to adjust in our current situation given that no one expected the occurrence of this thus, we’re not ready for this. Our education system is affected because we had to suspend our usual face to face and room-based classes and switch it into an online one. It is hard for most of us–me– to adjust and adapt to our alternative, blended type of learning. Despite these and looking into a different perspective, we are now given a chance to do things that we aren’t doing during the usual times.

As a YEC 2019 Delegate who was encouraged to own my future, I do apply the things that were imbibed with me back then especially in this situation in which I take responsibility to my actions in order for me to be productive to the things I do everyday in this time of crisis.

As a 21st Century individual who is highly inclined to modern technology, the prevalence of fake news and misinformation also affect us. This then calls us to be a critical global citizen and challenges us to properly discern and scrutinize the information that are being presented to us in order to lessen the panics due to wrong data, and help promote facts for an informed society.

With utmost honesty, it may not seem to be easy for me to initiate actions whereas I can possibly help and contribute to the current situation and struggles that is happening given that me and my family is also affected mentally, financially and physically but rest assured that in my own little ways, I can find and make a way for it. As a youth, we will never run out of alternatives in dealing and solving this crisis. TOGETHER, WE CAN SEE THE BRIGHT FUTURE FOR ALL OF US !!

What worries you and what gives you hope?

What worries me?

The poor health system of the Philippines. In which we don’t have the enough equipment and capacity to counter the threats of the virus. We are lacking in testing kits which are very important for the conduct of mass testing. Without these, it will be harder for us to have a vision on the real state of the situation which hampers the actions intended to solve and fight this pandemic.
The poor people who don’t have enough food and resources to sustain their needs and living in this one-month quarantine. They are the most vulnerable in this time of crisis.

What gives me hope?

The unending support of the Filipino people and the people across the globe. We extend our help to each and every one of us in our own possible ways. Filipinos are known to be resilient for we keep our faith and positivity alive inside of us. I can see the true essence of humanity in this time of crisis.

What message do you have for our readers?

In times where distance comes out of its value, still through our collated individual efforts, we will fight and WIN AS ONE. The current situation challenges us all, but may we never forget that together, we can go through this. The test that we are facing right now calls us to show our humanity, strength and compassion, and use it to deal and heal our world. As we manage to stay at home, let us keep ourselves healthy and safe from any harms. Cooperate with the authorities if we must, and be a citizen who is responsible, accountable and critical. Stay informed and be aware. Of course, let us offer our salute to our beloved frontliners who are brave enough to risk themselves amidst this dreadful pandemic. We are beyond grateful for all the courage and dedication you are giving and expressing. May our Almighty God give you the strength to continue the fight against the threats of this virus, and may He serve everyone’s protection, more especially to our heroes, who dauntlessly stands up in the front row of this battle.

Together, we can make it! Thank you so much and may God bless everyone!