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With the September issue of Lifestyle Asia out already, the digital landscape becomes home to many touching tales of overcoming fear and keeping the faith amidst hardship and adversity

With 156 pages of riveting tales of bravery and hope, Lifestyle Asia returns after a three-month hiatus stronger, bolder, and all the more inspired to go beyond what we have so far known as luxury living. Five of our favorite society personalities reflect on the year so far and share how the health crisis has, even after disrupting many planned affairs, changed them internally to brave a new world. Tina Cuevas, Sharmila Hiranand, Mike Lagman, Happy Ongpauco-Tiu, and Tessa Prieto-Valdes relay their experiences and the wisdom they gained in the course of their isolation.

RELATED READS: To Live Everything With No Fear: Maria Ressa Continues To Fight For Truth Amid Legal Battles And A Global Pandemic

We also featured Brian Cu, who steps down from Grab Philippines after years of leading the transportation app service company, as he discusses future plans and the many strides they’ve accomplished as a team. Rachel Renucci-Tan’s rice revolution is also featured in our pages, as she passionately tells us how her work has provided much-needed aid to our farmers and our agriculture industry. Audrey Tan-Zubiri writes a heartfelt account of how her family overcame her husband’s bout with COVID by keeping their faith steadfast and eagerly learning lessons along the way. And finally, our cover personality, Maria Ressa—whose remarkable journey in chronicling truth has inspired millions around the world—talks to us about drawing courage amid fighting fears and winning personal battles with courage.

#HaveCourage: Our Digital Battlecry

Further encouraging our digital community to take part in this infectious burst of bravery, Lifestyle Asia initiated a digital campaign spearheaded by its Editor in Chief, Dong Ronquillo. “Let this year be the year we go after courage—break free from the things that hold you back and allow yourself to dream without limits,” he urges. “Pursue courage everywhere and in whatever you are going through. It is in having courage and standing together, working side by side, that we can conquer anything.”

RELATED READS: Here’s To Courage: Editor’s Note For September 2020

This then started a wave of inspirational stories from men and women from all circles, touched by a digital movement. The campaign requires those involved to challenge friends and followers to join in the storytelling, to inspire, be inspired, and spread the much-needed optimism and hope even amid a health crisis. “Lifestyle Asia stands with you—let’s find courage and strength in each other,” Dong says. The well-intention gesture so far has produced many beautiful and well-written accounts from those who participated. We round them up here, to spread this wave of courage.

A Mission to Serve Many

For those like Berna Romulo-Puyat (who previously graced our cover last February 2020) and Rachel Renucci-Tan (appearing in our current issue), courage was the fuel of their actions. It impassioned them to think about serving others first and finding ways to contribute to society as a whole.

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In recent months, many aspects of our society have been tested and struggles never before encountered have shaken our very way of life. Although fear is the common instinct to act on in this difficult time, I choose to act beyond it. In the darkest times, even the smallest light will shine. When all is grim, the simplest act of courage can have a great impact. To this, I invite everyone to #HaveCourage. To me, courage isn’t about big acts of bravery. To have courage is to be able to move forward with our lives every single day, despite what fears and doubts may hold us back. At the onset of the pandemic, I was afraid of what it would mean for our tourism industry. We had worked hard to achieve a record number of visitor arrivals and spending in the last couple of years, now in one fell swoop everything would be set back to zero. Immediately, we had to focus on the responsibility we had to our stranded tourists, affected stakeholders, and the well-being of local communities, and this made me realize that tourism is not just about the numbers, tourism is about the people. Now, my responsibility is to help prepare our destinations for their eventual reopening. Working with the different communities across the country and seeing their hope and courage gives strength to my own hope and courage. @victoria_belo @dimplesromana @happyongpauco_tiu @margaritafores @marganograles #LifestyleAsiaCourage #LifestyleAsiaPH

A post shared by Berna Romulo Puyat🇵🇭🇵🇭🇵🇭 (@bernsrp) on

Strength Through Faith

On the other hand, some draw inner strength by channeling courage from God. Ana Lorenzana de Ocampo, Michelle Tiangco, and Connie Haw mention the Lord as the prime source of their courage in times of need. It is through Him that they discover the power to overcome hurdles, no matter how hard it is.

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In recent months, many aspects of our society have been tested and struggles never before encountered have shaken our very way of life. Although fear is the common instinct to act on in this difficult time, I choose to act beyond it. In the darkest times, even the smallest light will shine. When all is grim, the simplest act of courage can have a great impact. To this, I invite everyone to #HaveCourage . For almost a decade now, I’ve been breathing in my bakery—day in, day out. My life revolves around running Wildflour and all its sister restaurants. While it is no walk in the park, it has been nothing short of rewarding. The pandemic has changed this. Dining out became dangerous and suddenly, our business could no longer be run as smoothly as a hot knife cutting through butter. As I had in our earliest days, when hardly anyone walked through our doors, I turned to prayer. Hope suppresses fear, and hope for me has always been found in God. Our team has found courage in prayer, knowing that the challenges we face are dwarfed by the mercy of our Lord. So far, we’ve found ways to serve people the food they love without compromising their safety. I’m also reminded to find nourishment in the blessings beyond my business: time spent with my family; the solace of friendship; the passion behind why I do what I do. Courage can also rise from reclaiming yourself. I nominate @lulutangan @techgermanhagedorn_ @kourtneycamcam @juniepena to share their personal story of courage . #HaveCourage #lifestyleasiacourage

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Bravery in the Face of Adversity

Life’s tough challenges also bring out the best in us. Extraordinary women like Susan Sy and Keri Zamora share that the difficulties they faced somehow gave them the resolve to not only endure life’s hardships but to win against these challenges and come out as better persons.

Identity-Shaping Experiences

Others August 2019 cover personality Charmaine Lagman, Tina Cuevas, and Arlene Cu express how through courage gave them purpose for themselves, their family, and the people around them. It motivated them to be better in what they do and to pursue missions that help others in many ways.

An Unexpected Education

For Happy Ongpauco-Tiu and March 2019 cover personality Aivee Teo, the impacts of the global health crisis may have sown fear in many, but what was important were the valuable lessons they learned and how these taught them to be stronger and bolder in life.

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Sharing with you my Monday thoughts thru @lifestyle_asia’s Courage Campaign… Hope this inspires! ❤️ In recent months, many aspects of our society have been tested and struggles never before encountered have shaken our very way of life. At the onset of the Pandemic , I feared . I feared for the safety of my family and my employees. I feared that after 2 decades of working hard to grow my business , I seem to have lost them in a blink I feared that I could no longer provide for my staff who’s lives and families depend on me … Although fear is the common instinct to act on in this difficult time, I choose to act beyond it. To me, fear is just an emotion that we can all defeat with Courage made of Resilience, Faith and Gratitude. …RESILIENCE which is the understanding that life is full of challenges… so we must move forward and act quickly on ways to overcome it ….FAITH thru trusting in HIM, Praying to HIM, knowing that with HIS guidance, all will be okay… and ….GRATITUDE where we should be thankful for all the blessings like waking up everyday with our family by our side… because all these blessings, big or small, are Beautiful Miracles… When all is grim, the simplest act of courage can have a great impact. To this, I invite everyone to #HaveCourage. I nominate @allanamontelibano @che168_uy @cherrylglazer @chemistpinkytobiano to share their story of Courage #LifestyleAsiaCourage #lifestyleasiaph

A post shared by Happy Ongpauco-Tiu (@happyongpauco_tiu) on

A Story-Filled September

With many more of Lifestyle Asia’s beloved circles joining in the spread of motivation, we aim to fill our Instagram feeds with these hope-inspired stories to uplift the spirits of those who need it. And as the first week ends, may it give you time to reflect and draw courage from within. Let these personal anecdotes help you discover a hidden source of strength in these trying times. This is the meaningful life that we aim to encourage—where people from all industries, sectors, and backgrounds are encouraged to find purpose and fulfill their own personal missions, through the words we write in the pages we continue to fill.

So with this, we invite you, dear reader, to tell us what your story of courage is and inspire others to #HaveCourage.

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