Kamusta ka na?
The 2020 pandemic was brutal for all and you felt it had a major impact on the food and travel industries. Remember the days you thought you had covered these two big diverse industries in the hope that if one industry gets affected, you’d still have the other one? You were wrong.
As I wrote this, the highly transmissible Delta variant of the Corona virus was already here in Manila, spreading as the metro was just reopening the restaurants and hospitality establishments. We were eighteen months into the pandemic, yet we would surely face another lockdown that would further devastate the industries that we were in.
As we continued to cope with the situation, we needed to learn from these challenges to strengthen our resolve to fight the pandemic this 2021. I want you to remember what happened, what emotional battles our family had to endure and how we fought this Covid war.
Do you remember how your front tooth broke twice during the quarantine lockdown (June 4 and September 2020) at a time when you had to attend never-ending Zoom video sessions? It took several months each time (July 30, 2020 and January 4, 2021) to have it fixed due to the lockdown so it was great that you discovered virtual masks and began using them for cover because it was hard not to smile while chatting with friends online.
Everything was broken—our spirits, our health, our business and our finances. Pivot was the word of the year. You tried multi-level networking business and it failed. You had high hopes that you could earn from live-streaming but no one had the money to advertise in the industry. Yet you still pursued this.
You had been online for 13 years since 2008 and had been running a virtual team since 2010. You thought your business was resilient but it was not. You needed an online business that was 100% work from home in an industry that could operate anytime and anywhere.
Credit card companies were not compassionate; they continued to charge outrageous interest and went after you with their lawyers. In contrast to Meralco which was compassionate and did not cut supply due to unpaid electricity bills for a couple of months.
As I wrote this, everyone was still experiencing financial difficulties. It was survival of the fittest savings—you only survived because you still had savings, a job or asset you could convert to cash.
Home Schooling vs. Online Distance Learning Dilemma
Remember how you and Rache were considering home-schooling to lower down your expenses and provide quality education at home, but almost went crazy evaluating home-schooling because even the home-schooling learning institutions were overwhelmed with the increase in interest. To add to the injury, you still had to purchase a laptop because all 4 of them will be doing ODL. Good thing that you were able to revive an old laptop while the youngest used Rache’s laptop.
In the end, you decided to save your sanity and to stay with the boys’ current school’s online distance learning program. You were truly grateful for the consideration the school gave to the family. You also had to change your internet provider just to have fiber bandwidth to handle the simultaneous online classes of the 4 boys, your online business + live streams and the daily zoom sessions of the family. You literally had to establish a home-school environment conducive for remote learning.
Balik Alindog Program
One thing was very clear during the pandemic—that health was indeed wealth. No amount of money could save you from the Covid virus if you didn’t have a healthy immune system.
Your health journey started with your health coach on Living a Primed life, Chad Davis. Then during the pandemic, you went on a 28-day Yoli Better Body System detox program that improved your overall body vitals. During that time, you met your wellness doctor, Dr. Joel Lopez who provided you with the executive check-up and wellness program needed to boost your immune system to fight Covid.
You placed your wedding photo from Caleruega on our table as an inspiration to go back to your best body when Rache became your wife in January 2003.
You felt you could live until our centenary years to see your boys’ sons (and hopefully daughters!!). You felt you could survive future pandemics even in your senior years because you were healthy—physically, mentally, spiritually and financially.
Balik Alindog was possible but I knew it was hard. As I wrote this, I was on plateau and was still striving to breakthrough to our next weight and wellness goal because I couldn’t resist good food with great company. Hope I’d make you proud as you read this.
Crazy Days with the Boys (Repeat 🔁)
Do you remember quitting your day job in June 2008 because you wanted to see your kids grow and to spend more quality time with them?
Although your business was online and you mostly worked from home, you were also stressed by having to go to restaurants or travel to local or foreign destinations. Your financial difficulties and the pandemic grounded both you and Rache 100% at home. That was a blessing.
You got to see Yugi grow and turn seven years old, witness Raphael turn into a teenager and mature before your eyes, be there for your son Joshua’s teenage blues and beat your eldest Aidan in basketball though it was hard to do that as he grew up taller and bigger than you.
You also had a lot of concerns about their emotional well-being. Can your sons’ generation really thrive in a post-pandemic world because of their constant gaming and endless zoom learning sessions during the lockdowns and zero interest in going out?
As boys, they needed to have a rite of passage to become men and the pandemic put this on hold. Was it OK to enjoy them as boys a little bit longer?
Honestly, you enjoyed waking up everyday with your boys—making kulitan, playing board games, eating together while trying out the best delivery food, watching movies with chicha, solving puzzles, playing basketball, building family traditions and pressing the ground hog repeat button each day.
Would they cherish these quarantine moments with their parents? You couldn’t wait for the days you could talk about these Covid war stories over inuman, kantiyawan, asaran and awesome food.
Growing Old with You
What a blessing it was to see your parents grow old together, be there for them and celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary last March 11, 2021 safely at home.
Momsy and Popsy dedicated their career to get you and your siblings out of poverty from their provincial life and live a comfortable middle-class life in Manila. They sacrificed a lot for you and their only wish was to celebrate their 50th Wedding Anniversary in Holy Land.
When you were growing up, you saw your parents take care of their parents until they died in your home. Your turn to take care of them had come—a blessing, a manifestation of the beauty of Filipino family culture. You and Rache asked your boys, “Who would take care of us during our senior years?”
You had crazy moments at home when your parents were stubborn about always going out to the banks and the grocery even during the height of the pandemic. Remember that big fight about your youngest brother visiting and going near them without mask just because he was the bunso, never mind if he was a Covid carrier or not, bahala na, nagdadasal naman sila palagi?
The parents had their first dose of Sinovac vaccine already and were talking about going to church one month after their second dose. You must admit at the start of the pandemic, you were resigned to the fact that they would be at home and be your forever prayer warriors. After all, they were already hearing mass all over the world and several times a day.
Then, you started hoping again that you could fulfill their dream of going to the heaven on earth in Israel, the Holy Land. With the right immune boosting food, constant sprinkling of love and care and a dose of vaccination, just maybe the family could celebrate their 50+ wedding anniversary in Canaan.
A Mid-Life Pandemic Crisis
You worked for 12 years in P&G Philippines (1995 to 2008) with your last role as Chief Information Officer before you quit your day job. You were 12 years into Our Awesome Planet (2008 to 2020), and you were facing another crossroad when the pandemic hit. A mid-life crisis stage for the Gen X.
At some point, you were living your life eating in the best restaurants in Manila and traveling all around the world. On hindsight, you lost sight of what was truly important—Living a Life without God is not Awesome at all. In 2019, your online business was going down because of competition and changing media landscape. You spent too much on eating and traveling that your expenses were higher than your income.
You were literally “grounded” in Manila and you were in search for a Christian community to join for support. Rache’s cousin Pam, invited you both to attend the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals (BCBP) breakfast. You said YES and eventually joined Brotherhood Christian Life Program (BCLP) Batch 49. It was indeed the right timing.
Do you remember BCBP people talking about how BCLP changed their lives with a bonus of blessings? Your prayer then was to be able to have the enough money to survive throughout the pandemic and be able to pay your payables. You doubted, but suspended disbelief. As a “trained” Catholic, you truly wanted to be in God’s favor and blessings.
Throughout the BCLP sessions, your reflections and conversations with God was all about online. You felt He was recruiting you to be His “Digital Marketer” as you were losing the battle for your kids and as the devil was using digital to lure the next generation into darkness. He wanted you to apply all the digital skills you learned to market His Kingdom and to win the marketplace for Christ online.
So when the BCLP 49 ended, you made a promise to God that the next 12 years of your digital ministry will be your life’s work. You served in BCLP 50 during the pandemic to record the speakers’ talk for the first online BCLP. As I wrote this, you were happy to serve in the coming BCLP 51 as Assistant Discussion Leaders to help more people in their own spiritual journey.
Emotional, financial and spiritual blessings poured in and helped you cope with the pandemic. The Holy Spirit also inspired you to navigate through your business decisions specially co-founding Awesome 10X Global Investing with your partner Nikki Yu.
Before, you sought more page views, more likes, more subscribers and more global fame, but after, you aspired more to touch one heart, inspire one mind, save one soul at a time. One time during the pandemic, your sons drew a vision of building a Universe of Awesome Planets living an awesome life in Christ.
Falling in Love Everyday
This pandemic was tough for a lot of relationships, especially for marriages. Either you emerged stronger as a couple or you ended up splitting up. Though they say most decided to stay together for convenience and to have a companion in an end of the world scenario.
But for you, you fell in love with Rache everyday. Of course, there were times when you got on each other’s nerves or when both of you would flare up over just a silly argument. You were sorry for those times—the lockdown got to you because of fear of the virus, stress of making money, and worries about what would happen next.
You deliberately set up your home studio office so that your tables face each other and you could see your face each day while you worked.
You got to work together with Rache on all your businesses. Even though stressful sometimes, you got to celebrate each win together and every business moment was meaningful in the service of others.
You got to set up your dates every lunch time and dinner together as a family. You all enjoyed all the latest delivery food together as much as you enjoyed all home-cooked food from the Simpol and Daza cookbooks.
You got to pray and worship with Rache and the family everyday and service to the Lord was more fun together as a couple and with other couples in our BCBP community.
You got to see your boys grow up and your parents in their sunset years together. What a joy and a blessing to be able to do that everyday with Rache.
Best of all, you got to show your love for each other everyday with every touch, embrace, kiss, every time you make love in this pandemic.
The Turning Point
Remember this awesome rainbow that you took a picture of last September 23, 2020?
It was so beautiful, a sign that God loved you and that you’d get through this pandemic with His Love. The TV antenna formed a cross, and you saw the full rainbow from your rooftop garden.
This was a great reminder of His promise. Let His Will be done in the family.
In Genesis, Chapter 9 Verse 11-17:
God said: This is the sign of the covenant that I am making between me and you and every living creature with you for all ages to come:
I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth, and the bow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and every living creature—every mortal being—so that the waters will never again become a flood to destroy every mortal being. When the bow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature—every mortal being that is on earth.
Dear Survivor: Is your Planet still Awesome? Yes/No as we used to say in Proctoid terms.
No, because of all the financial challenges we still faced as I wrote this. Also because of our family members who continued to get sick with Covid, especially those who have died during this Covid war.
Yes, because we found our calling to serve God and recruit digital warriors for Him in this online battle for souls. Most specially, because we got to experience hardships and smalls wins together as a family.
I do hope as you read this, you are in a much better place, but please always remember what happened and tell the stories to the future Diaz generations to come.
Live an Awesome Life with Christ,
Founder & Digital Creator, Our Awesome Planet
Disclosure: Thanks to Nikkei Team for the experience. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights.
Disclosure: This story is an entry to ComCo Southeast Asia’s “Write to Ignite Blogging Project Season 2: Dear Survivor”. The initiative continues to respond to the need of our times, as every story comes a long way during this period of crisis. The initiative aims to pull and collate powerful stories from the Philippine blogging communities to inspire the nation to rise and move forward amidst the difficult situation. The “Write to Ignite Blogging Project” Season 2 is made possible by ComCo Southeast Asia, with Eastern Communications and Jobstreet as co-presenters, and with Air Asia and Xiaomi as major sponsors.
P.S. Awesome thank you for reading this open letter to my future self and sharing some personal stories from our pandemic experience. Hope you can put your comments, reactions or share your own story in the comment section below.
P.P.S. Also, I would like to invite you to join the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals (BCBP) Christian Life Program BCLP Batch 51 starting this July 3, 2021, Saturday 3PM. We will be serving here and we hope to see you!
Please register here http://bit.ly/BCLP51Registration.
There’s no fee to join, just your openness to get to know the Lord more every Saturday. Let’s conquer our fears by strengthening our FAITH together with a community of honest businessmen and professionals!