Joy Rustia, Linda Ley, and Connie Haw on their thoughts on stricter lockdowns, how they cope, and their message of hope for others.
The alarming rise in coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) cases due to the Delta variant has prompted authorities to place Metro Manila under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) for two weeks last August.
The strictest quarantine classification, it means only authorized persons outside the residence (APOR), 18 years old and above but not over 65, can go out for work or for essential goods and services from permitted establishments.
Most recently, with restrictions eased to MECQ, the country posted a daily tally of 26,303 cases last September 11—the highest ever since the pandemic began. The OCTA Research group predicts that this number will go up to 30,000.
Given the current situation, we asked the people of society: How are you dealing with the recent lockdowns?
“It’s a sad thought [that] our country is still on lockdown hurting so many Filipinos,” Joy Rustia tells Lifestyle Asia.
A businesswoman herself, she says it’s been particularly difficult for Wamrus TKG Realty Incorporated, a business she co-founded with husband Joel. Through the company, they engage in developing and operating office buildings, residential condos, housing projects, and even malls such as Madison Galeries in Alabang.
“For two years, we tried to adapt and think positively,” she says. “With sporadic business shutdowns in many sectors, however, we have to prepare ourselves and anticipate that times will be harder.”
Despite this challenging time, Rustia says it helps to stick to healthy habits and stay hopeful for better days.
“To keep myself sane and healthy, I exercise through yoga and I take a walk on a good day,” she says. “I also try to draw inspiration from friends and family, practicing gratitude, extending help to small organizations, constantly praying, and finding happiness and contentment.”
This helps her at work, where they are constantly innovating, finding new opportunities and making necessary adjustments to make it through the pandemic.
“It may be difficult, but try to appreciate your family and be thankful for all your blessings, may it be big or small,” she adds. “Each one of us can make small efforts, continue to share love, and pray hard most especially for our front liners who continue to sacrifice their lives for our protection.”
The recent lockdowns have been challenging for style icon Linda Ley, too. But as she likes to put it, life must go on.
While stuck at home, Ley says she’s been trying to keep busy cooking for the family, as well as helping her daughter and her fiance with their new startup called Sarisuki.
“It’s a community e-commerce platform that helps those who lost their jobs during the pandemic earn a living by becoming their neighborhood grocery,” she explains. “Recently, they signed a memorandum of agreement with Mayor Isko Moreno to help Manila’s livelihood program initiative. It makes me proud to see young people want to make a difference and contribute towards the betterment of society.”
Ley, who describes herself as a cheerful person, says she also finds joy in the simplest things to cope with the current situation.
“[I] look for the silver lining in any situation like being able to spend time with my family,” she says. That family includes our pets Bradley, a yellow-crowned amazon parrot, and Lui Ley, a mini schnauzer puppy—both of which their family recently welcomed into their home.
“Lui is a very energetic and playful pup who gives us so much joy with his unconditional love and affection,” she says. “Bradley, meanwhile, has become our resident vocalist, belting out songs from Side A and Martin Nievera.”
But Ley never forgets those who do not have the privilege to work from home.
“I empathize with those who have no choice but to work to survive. Things might seem difficult, but stay hopeful in knowing that this too shall pass,” she says. “It’s a difficult balancing act that the government must deal with and I pray that they find the clarity to guide us towards the path of recovery.”
Taking the news about the COVID-19 pandemic as it is helps Connie Haw focus on what matters for her—keeping safe by following health protocols and continuing life in the new normal.
As the president and CEO of Advance Paper Group of Companies, Haw says she has adopted a work-from-home setup and only goes to the office when needed.
Spending more time with family and looking at the bright side of things help her deal with the current lockdowns with a positive attitude, too.
“I stayed positive always, hoping for new medical breakthroughs amid these challenging times, that our people especially our doctors and other frontliners be equipped with better equipment so that together, we can beat COVID-19,” she says.
Doing their part in helping frontliners is not letting her, her family, and the company employees’ guard down, even though all of them have been vaccinated.
“[We have to] stay strong physically and mentally to fight this current situation. We must take extra precautions and double mask up,” she says. “[If you have the chance,] take the vaccine for us to achieve herd immunity so we can meet up with our friends soon and reunite with our loved ones like we used to pre-COVID.”