Human Connections: From Home, With Love
From home, with love
It was March 16 when President Rodrigo Duterte announced that Luzon would move under the protocols of an Enhanced Community Quarantine due to the spread of COVID-19. Since then, there has been very minimal movement—both because the government has restricted us and because we don’t want to put ourselves (and our loved ones) at risk.
Our lives have definitely changed and we’ve had to make the necessary adjustments. Some of these adjustments meant creating a makeshift workspace in our once personal corners, taking up a new hobby in the kitchen, dealing with the Philippine summer heat without a beach or office air conditioning. Among them all, however, the toughest adjustments might just be the physical disconnection from our loved ones.
As with everything, we’ve learned to evolve with the times. Sure, we may not be able to kiss our significant others or hug our family members or pour our friends a drink, but we’ve taken on the challenge of keeping our relationships alive.
We’ve been communicating more, become more empathetic, moved around our priorities to put people instead of activities at the top. There are more conversations, more words of affirmation, more understanding and less screaming. We’re making sure we’re okay and that the people we hold dear are doing even better.
So what did Wonder do this month? We put more than 30 people and pairs together to share struggles, plans and letters—and in doing so, learned that no matter how difficult the circumstances, there is no stopping Human Connections.
On collective struggles
There are a lot of things that we feel like we took for granted.
Life pre-COVID-19 already feels so distant.
—Deane and Lester Cruz, 29 and 28, Partners at Serious Studio, San Juan City
We are living in such a different time.
—Aira Banquerigo Reyes & Deeyon Reyes, Quality Improvement Manager & Nurse, Los Angeles
You can learn from the sacrifices of everyday heroes and try to emulate them in your everyday lives.
I promise you it’s not boring—trust me, I lived through it.
—Therese Reyes, 28, Editor, San Juan City
I think I am most reminded of my vulnerability. I take pride in my independence and I work hard to keep that…
It’s all fun and games until it comes down to the point where you don’t know whether you’ll be able to last [in] this pandemic…
I try to be optimistic but optimism is a luxury at times like this.
I am looking forward to making it to post-COVID-19.
—Zidjian Floro, 23, Makeup Artist, Manila
On sudden realizations
Life goes on…no matter how hard.
—Issa Pressman, 22, Creative Director, Metro Manila
It was my dream to be a couch potato, to relax and not worry about a thing…
but now it’s a position I detest to be put in.
—Maria Cavarlez, 25, Chemistry Researcher, California
It is a mistake to postpone goodness and love, thinking we will always have enough time.
—Justin Alvaro & Reen Alvaro of Studio Kulot, 28 & 31, Graphic Designer & Operating Department Practitioner, Gateshead England
Ironic, isn’t it,
that a global phenomenon experienced by practically everyone
is keeping us apart?
—Audrey Pe, 19, Founder + Executive Director of WiTech, Metro Manila
We learned more about ourselves and what we need to do moving forward.
We need to help the Earth heal.
We need to heal ourselves and put our family first.
—Gabriel Tiongson, 35, Visual Artist, Auckland, New Zealand
I wasted so much time doing nothing when I could have done more.
—Stefan Ramirez de Arellano, 28, High-Performance Driving Instructor, Pasig City
I’ve also learned to prioritize the people you want to give your time to
instead of saying yes to everything.
—Angela Pantangco, 27, Veterinarian, Australia
One thing is certain, kindness is more contagious than Covid 19.
—Iza Calzado, 37, Actress, Makati City
On that burning hope
Shine more light.
I long for human connection but I am also terrified of it.
I am looking forward to the day when I stop feeling this way.
—Pat Nabong, 26, Visual Journalist, Chicago
We can’t live blindly anymore.
We all live in this world together and these times have proven enough that we all need each other to survive and thrive.
The world is constantly changing and so should we.
—August Wahh, Artist, Manila
The day is only brighter when everyone else thinks about everyone else.
—Ken Filomeno, 30, Subscriptions Marketing Coordinator, Sydney
Let us not lose hope in this time of pandemic…
We are all blessed to be a blessing.
—Adrian Sahagun, 34, Fashion Designer, Pampanga
During this time, we have proven to the world that despite the (physical) distance,
we are all connected…continue to rise together!
—Stef Padilla, 30, Career Coach, Singapore
I still cannot picture what everything is going to look like [after ECQ],
but I do hope people find themselves with more compassion and sensitivity towards others.
—Julian Rodriguez, 19, Art Student and Model, Manila
We will come back stronger after this crisis.
—Roberto Abello, 30, Senior Sous Chef, United Arab Emirates
And the words we want to say
To everyone in the Philippines:
I miss you. I hope you’re doing as well as you can in this moment.
I can’t wait to see you again.
You are fine. You’ve had better days but you’ve had worse days.
—Jean Castillo, Fashion Designer, Manchester UK
Today, we’ll help each other get through this,
but tomorrow, we will face everyone accountable to this pandemic.
—JP Habac, 32, Filmmaker, Quezon City
Hold on to your anger. Bring it with you to the next election.
—Jae, 22, South Korea
I hope you can manage. I hope you’re prepared for your future to secure your family…
I hope you protect yourself financially, physically, and emotionally.
—Ed Enclona, 24, Photographer, Navotas City
The only certainty is the journey into the unknown
—Elle Divine, 73, Artist & Healer, Bacolod City
Stay safe and be well.
—Raz Zalvarita, 37, Artists, Bacolod City
This is a collective experience, so if you ever feel alone,
just remember that we’re all going through this, together.
—DarlingKink, 30, Visual Artist, Quezon City
It’s been a difficult time and we’ve all struggled differently. We might not have as much spending power, but we’ve learned the true definition of excess. Our recreational activities have become limited, but we’ve learned to get a little creative. We’re moving around and seeing less, but we’ve learned how to be kind to ourselves and those around us.
We’ve risen to every occasion, settled into our roots and finally figured out who really matters, what we can do and who we can’t live without. Human Connections are, when it comes down to it, our basic necessity. And when it is threatened, we fight back and dig a little deeper to restore it.
We’ve been away from the people we love, but we’ve learned that there is no distance that love (and a bit of technology) cannot overcome. There are less kisses, less hugs, less heads-leaning-on-shoulders, but there have been countless hours spent in conversation…sometimes with people we never thought we’d speak to again. We’ve mended relationships and in doing so proved just how powerful Human Connections can be.
There’s a light at the end of the tunnel—our “new normal” is within reach—and the protocols we’ve gotten used to in ECQ are lifting one by one. The question is: What are you taking from this chapter we’re about to close?
Special thanks to
JP Habac, Issa Pressman, Therese Reyes, Audrey Pe, Mia Claravall-Reyes, Ed Enclona, Zidjian Floro, August Wahh, DarlingKink, Stefan Ramirez de Arellano, Deane & Lester Cruz of Serious Studio, Bret Jackson, Frankie Pangilinan, Iza Calzado, Carmen Del Prado, Julian Rodriguez, Abraham Guardian & Mamuro Oki of Ha.Mu, Elle Divine Light & Raz Zalvarita, Adrian Sahagun, Ken Filomeno, Mari Jasmine, Angela Pantangco, Jessica Galvez, Stef Padilla, Jae, Gabby Tiongson, Jean Castillo, Justin & Reen Alvaro of Studio Kulot, TJ Abello, Pat Nabong, Aira & Deeyon Reyes and Maria Cavalrez
Art and Art Direction Alexandra Lara
Interviews and Cover Story Adie Pieraz
Additional Interviews Sarah Santiago, Elisa Aquino, Cessi Treñas, Nicole Blanco Ramos