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: 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!
22 thoughts on “Dear Survivor: Is your Planet still Awesome?”
Thank you for the uplifting message that you have shared in this post. It is an honor and a privilege to serve alongside you and Rache as we bring Christ in the marketplace and win the marketplace for Christ. You have blessed me with the knowledge, the experience, and the means to do the Lord’s work online through our “Thirsty Thursdays” live stream. I look forward to a bright future keeping valuable lessons, experiences, and friends like you along the way.
Thank you for being there at the start of our conversion story and that matters a lot to me when we talked about it. I’m glad to share my expertise and we are just starting, brother. Awesome Thank you!
Thank you for sharing your letter to your future self, Not only I learned more about you but I also can relate to your life experience in many ways. From Financials, Job, Health, Family and Faith. It is inspiring to see you grow and overcome some of challenges and yet remain Faithfully strong and persistent in winning the marketplace for Christ. Looking forward to growing our faith together and serving the Lord. Lets win the marketplace for the big BOSS!
It’s a blessing to get to know more about your family during this pandemic. It is an honor to serve alongside you and I will enjoy every minute of it.
Thank you for commenting and YES, Let’s win the online marketplace for Christ!
It’s been the most difficult year ever, but even at its
bleakest, the Filipino people never lost two things:
1. Their sense of humor, no matter how dark the jokes
2. Their faith: in God, their families, and themselves
I never really heard anyone say “ayoko na!”
Instead it was more of “bahala na, kakayanin ko!”
and “bayanihan, tulungan tayo para bumangon muli.”
And we have. We are surviving.
And we will once again prosper.
No matter the adversity, we make it through.
And that is what defines us as Filipinos.
Thank you for being a good friend over the years. Tama ka, that’s good about the Filipino spirit, no one is giving up and there’s always hope at the end of the tunnel.
Thank you brother for the comment! Cheers to more wins in our business during this pandemic!
I pray that you find the one and magkakumare na kami in the new normal.
Ang sarap basahin ang mga pinagdaanan natin at nalampasan at sana patuloy pa rin tayong lumipad pataas. Thank you for always being positive and fearless. We, together with your sons, will always be here for you. We 💚 you! May the Holy Spirit guide our family to Him and His way.
Thank you my love 💚 Thank you for always being on my side ever since the time we decided to quit our day jobs and go on our first time entrepreneurial journey.
One of these days, we will grow old together and tell the story of the pandemic to our apos.
That awesome remarkable day of December 15,2020 in MiraNila gave us a lot of new hope. Salamat sa pagkakataon na ibinigay ninyo 3, Anton, Rache & Spanky ♥️🦋😇 it has opened a lot of opportunities para sa aming start up pandemic food creation. I made it sa isang online Immunity Inspired by Tea Challenge as #3 in Judges Outstanding Recipe Category! I’m drained zero financially, but still emotionally and mentally strong, laban pa more ! God lead me to another 3 ![three] important collaborations 💯♨️
Count me in for your July 3 batch 🙏
as I am embarking on another “final” chapter of my senior year alone in order not to further burden my brother’s family ♥️
Cheers to more wins ! May HE lead us the way out of this horrible nightmare of the pandemic.
I am glad we started with “Our Awesome Planet UTT 2015 ” journey with you, Anton🌻Rache♥️and Spanky🦋
God bless you all with your families happy together 🙏
Thank you so much ☘️
Thank you for the appreciation and messages like this fuels us to do what we do specially for UTT. May your business continue to be blessed and we are here to support you!
Dear Anton and Rache.
My Mother Nena (91 years old) died in the thick of the pandemic – August 20, 2020. We could not even honor her with a decent funeral. Her body was taken by the funeral home the same night, by a staff in full protective gear — it looked like she was being taken by an alien to a space bubble. I could not fathom what was happening that night. My siblings in Manila were sobbing while us in the States were distraught, unable to hug nor get hugged. It felt like God forgot about us or was too busy minding the pandemic. My US siblings and I could not even think of having our passports ready, buying the airline tickets, preparing to leave for Manila to be at her bedside or her wake. There was no wake, to start with. In fact, us siblings were put together during her end of life merely through Viber. What a way to lose one’s loving parent when you could not even touch or speak to her to say thank you Mom for your love. When we witnessed her last breath, I could not even cry. Reality was too far away from my mind, more so my heart. Too many deaths of friends, acquaintances, colleagues had happened that even for my Mother my tears were dry, just virtual. The long distance from Houston to Manila and the fact that Covid kept me here simply hardened me .
Then came November 2020. Coming back from a reunion visit to my sister in Kentucky, we got Covid the next day. And because we live in a somewhat “senior” community, we decided to tell our neighbors about it but that we would quarantine ourselves for a month. Those days of being in separate rooms, of EmergenC becoming our water, of constant Temperature checking, “carpeting” our bodies with Vicks Vaporub became routine. Bob and I would call out to each other “Whats your Temp now?” and this would be every hour. TV became our only source of the outside world plus the caring texts from friends and neighbors who knew. No, we decided not to tell everyone about it so as not to scare them. Night and day merged—at times I forgot if night was day or not—because sleep came only when it did – our fevers came and went and whenever Bob’s Temp would rise, I would pray hard for it to disappear. The thoughts that came to mind in my isolation would always be in the form of prayer, beginning with “O Lord Jesus… what is Your calling for Us today ? ” and when we would hear about Covid being more deadly and causing more deaths, I got scared for us that maybe tonight I would start getting sore throat and breathe with difficulty. I felt scared for Bob who had fever more often than me…what if one of those nights he would just die in his sleep? Or I would not wake up? And YET— there was always that feeling right after the fear, which dissolved it!! Praise to ourLord Jesus – He was reassuring us that we would survive this without getting to the hospital. Each time I tried to breathe deeply, I would say Thank You Jesus for letting me breathe. Never did I thank anyone for oxygen, not even our Creator!
Oxygen, fresh air, neighbors, birds tweeting at 5am, tasteless but nevertheless food anyway, a soft bed, the needless smelling of funky things, and walks in the park to get exercise and Vitamin D… how could we not be thankful as our Lord was bringing us to healing ? I guess this is what differentiates a Christian – a Christian gets vaccinated with Jesus “Anesthesia” from the troubles that surround one – it is hearing the Voice of The Shepherd calling to the path of peace, trust and joy in His Presence. It is hard to comprehend much less to want to believe unless you make up your mind to do so…not from the heart but a decision in the mind to call / dwell / be in Jesus . This is the Holy Spirit’s work on you to tell you to think only of Jesus amidst the noise of trouble, confusion, fake news, and FEAR of the unknown – the “what now?” Bob got laid off, — what now? my dinner bookings were on hold – what now?, I could not go home to “refuel” – what now? News of another someone died or was dying, my cousins whole family (except one son left) all dead, missing our grandkids and little family, not knowing when this would end or if it really will, who caused this and why?, is it the end times? , , In those times of Covid I had hundreds of Jesus moments, in the quiet of the day I thought Jesus thoughts, thanked Jesus, talked to Jesus, whispered His name. Bob and I always prayed together. Healing came slowly but surely.
To Anton and Rache – there’s so much joy in me after reading your letter to the future Anton.. You are the last persons I would expect to accept the One True Real Being, Jesus ,because your lives are cyber-entwined – in a site where Jesus is NOT being made to exist. Jesus is not made to be found there as the Evil One screens Him out but a needle hole seeped through with Jesus’ grace and kaboom! Anton got hit!!! How Awesome is that ?
Now, with you, Bob and me, and many others, who have embraced the Awesome Life in Jesus, let us journey together. We have been “set apart” , we are in the world but not of the world. We need to shine brightly for service to God. It’s scary! Evil is real – there is a spiritual battle happening. By praying for each other in trust and love for Jesus, we harness the blessings of being in Jesus Presence alone or as a nation of Christ followers. Today, reading your letter was my blessing. I praise Jesus , I thank Jesus for His faithfulness in you. God is good.We have an AWESOME GOD.
Thank you for sharing your story. Ang dami mong pinagdaanan pala and yet ang tibay pa rin. Thanks for sharing your Jesus Moments and tt’s an honor to do the live chats with you.
Yeah ako rin I thought I was the last person to get “converted” because of the things we do online. Online is a hard battle but we are doing it for the kids also. We don’t know how they can resists the attacks online.
These are the kind of stories that your grandchildren will appreciate. Although we’ve been friends for so many years and have been through so many Mastermind groups together, we hardly discuss the heart issues that are going through our lives.
Here you’ve laid the true condition of the heart-land.
It’s really the story of ALL OF US in this pandemic.
Thank you for speaking up for us all.
p.s. one thing I am forever grateful to God for this pandemic is TIME. And how God redeemed the time and my family life. Because of the time spent quarantined with my wife (as compared to always being busy on the road for business or for speaking) we are going to be parents again at the age of 55 and 46!
In a couple of weeks we’re going to welcome a baby boy to this world. Covid or not, we’re going to be grateful to God for bringing us all closer together.
Thank you for listening. And I agree that redeeming TIME is the best benefit! If this did not happen, we will be wasting our time with meaningless things. It took the pandemic to redefine our environment and our goals.
Awesome idea doing a letter time capsule to oneself. Congratulations! We should all make one and maybe you can publish a compilation of those that you choose. One criteria will be the raw and unmasked truth about oneself. This is a start of trend or a movement in writing. A letter to oneself some years from today.
I applaud your openess.
This moves me to write my own time capsule and maybe I will make it a “hugot” satire comedy about my life.
Thank you for letting me appreciate you and life more.
Thank you for listening and for appreciating this. This comment means a lot to me.
Yes, let’s do a time capsule posts and start this movement. Will publish yours when it is ready. The time to write it is now.
Such an inspiring letter to yourself. It also made me recall all the things that happened to me and my family during this pandemic. It also made me realize that all things whether good or bad will just pass by, we just need to believe that someone up there is always with us, we just need to trust and have faith. I also would like to congratulate you and Rache on your new mission to win the battle for Christ online. Goodluck on all your future endeavors. God bless
You’ve been a key part of the story as our Discussion Leader and first Action Group 🙂 As I follow your footsteps, hindi madali yung ginawa mo…. thank you for helping me throughout my journey without judging me.
Awesome to have you and Rache as instruments of God in keeping me sane throughout 2020 and beyond. You both help bring out the best in me. It has been a long time since I got out of my shell and I am grateful for the moment we got to collaborate in bringing Christ out to the online marketplace. Keep the Holy Spirit close and stay humble as you have been. Go Live!
Awesome to meet you KC 🙂 I love talking to you ever since we started to serve and I look forward to our conversations 🙂 Need to make another project or reason para we can continue to serve together and have our chats 🙂
thank you for the comment!
Dear Anton and Rache,
I am in awe and humbled. I don’t know how I ended up reading your story but I want to believe God led me to it.
Thank you for sharing your life story. It does not come easy, esp I think you are a very private person. You will inspire many people and touch many lives with this revelation.
God bless you , Rache and the kids . Hugs!
Thank you so much for sharing this kind of story. It’s good to hear and it’s uplift every spirit of the readers. You’re a great inspiration for many of us.
Btw. I’m currently working in a non-profit organization who work to promote the welfare, uphold, and protect children’s rights, particularly children in street situations. I’m excited to share your story to the street children we are helping. It’s a good inspiration to them, and I believe the motivation you give may change their lives.
Hoping to read more of your stories. And I hope some of the day you may feature the life of street children or other children who work to survive their life . This will be a great motivation. Here’s some of children you can feature https://childhope.org.ph/child-labor-in-the-philippines/
Thank you and wishing you more fruitful life. God bless you and your whole family!