September 5, 2020
photos MJ Suayan
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Six months have passed, and we are still under quarantine restrictions. It’s September, which means that the holiday season in the Philippines has officially begun. But the virus is still out there, and the future looks bleak with the number of cases still rising in the country—not to mention the fact that we’ve officially entered a recession that will most likely last until the end of 2021. As we count down the days to Christmas, will we be hearing joyful songs in the malls and on the radio? Will we still be in the mood to celebrate and exchange gifts this year?

In this month’s issue of Lifestyle Asia, we want to encourage you to keep your head up. Optimism is a powerful philosophy. So this September, we are launching a campaign with the message “Have Courage.”

However uncertain our future, courage is what we need to get through this. The courage to speak up, the courage to face our challenges, and the courage to fight the virus. This month, we gathered exceptional people to share their stories of courage, so they may keep you inspired to be courageous in your own way. We want to celebrate and feature people of tremendous courage because to see people conquering hardship and fighting the good fight is where we start to muster our own courage.

This begins with our cover. Maria Ressa is the epitome of courage and is a symbol of strength, especially in these difficult times we face. A multi-awarded, world-renowned journalist and one of Time magazine’s persons of the year in 2018, Maria shares her story and message of hope and tenacity. Press freedom in our country is facing its biggest battle, and Maria is at the forefront. Despite facing what seem like insurmountable hurdles and lawsuits left , right, and center, Maria’s strength persists, and I am grateful she is able to grace our pages. This cover, much like her incredible work and story, is something that I hope will become a symbol and be remembered for the years to come.

Joining Maria are some equally-incredible people who prove that courage is also exhibiting grace under pressure. Even though their industries have been gravely affected by the pandemic, Brian Cu, Audrey Tan-Zubiri, Mike Lagman, Tina Cuevas, Sharmila Hiranand, Tessa Prieto-Valdes, and Happy Ongpauco-Tiu remain fearless, spirited, and confi dent amidst all the challenges they face. I hope their stories inspire you as they inspired me.

Let this year be the year we go aft er courage—break free from the things that hold you back and allow yourself to dream without limits. 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. Lifestyle Asia stands with you—let’s find courage and strength in each other.

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