WE WILL SURVIVE
MEGA Man|April - May 2020
As we grapple with a global pandemic that has altered our reality, MEGA brings together some of the brightest stars and personalities in the country to help us gather our collective strength, unite ourselves in the spirit of empathy and stand against the threat of our lives
TRINA EPILEPSIA BOUTAIN
This is unprecedented. The issue you are now holding in your hands (or reading on your screen) is divided into two halves. The first half: pre-quarantine, prestate of emergency, is a world where we groused about the terrible traffic, went on coffee runs with our colleagues, packed the city’s numerous shopping malls, obsessed about the latest It Bag and It Shoe and planned for the upcoming summer holidays. This reality makes up half of the bright and airy sections you have come across. They are filled with gloss and cheeky wonder.

And the second half? Well.

We are in the midst of a mandatory quarantine, the specter of the coronavirus seemingly in every handshake, in every doorknob and every look sent our way. Many of us are stuck in our homes, blocking out the rising panic by binging on mass entertainment and adjusting to a work from home setup while others fret about what is to come. And that’s just for the affluent among us. The less fortunate? Well, they have to deal with a reality that is far more grim than what they had before—as if it weren’t so dire already. There appears to be no good news, only bad, and it’s unceasing: of people clinging to life in overwhelmed hospitals, of world leaders struggling with an invisible enemy, of things breaking down—from global markets to communities. Today, the Philippines, us of the resilient people, used to catastrophes and tragedy, is now a society floating in a state of limbo, fearful of the worst and despairing that hope might just be a silly daydream.

So why do we release a fashion magazine?

Yes, in part, we need a little diversion. There’s no harm in looking at our favorite celebrities (and many of them are found in the next few pages) to gush about their exquisite bodies and symmetrical faces, their innate beauty shining through despite the lack of professional help (we asked them to take selfies at home). No, don’t feel guilty about that. Like soldiers breaking for a holiday football game, we are entitled to a little entertainment. But more than that, we are also here to remind us all, yes even ourselves, that life, however bleak, is lit by hope. This hope, that we can do better, be better, that we can learn our lessons and not just survive, but thrive in the face of uncertainty and the threat of loss and grief, must remain, must keep on burning.

We’re here to tell a story to help us stand up and fight, even if our fighting is confined to the walls of our homes (that’s enough—just stay home if it’s a privilege you have). We’ve collected a diverse group of personalities and asked them to tell us what they’ve been doing, what they’ve learned and how they’re coping. Discover what they have to say, in their own words and hopefully you’ll see past the gloss and filters of their glamorous lives and see the humanity that throbs and flows in all of us. More than ever, we need ourselves and the people who matter—those who want the same thing: for this threat to end, for us to learn our lessons and to begin anew.

NADINE LUSTRE

I’m getting to know myself better now that I have so much time on my hands. I’ve been reflecting, rearranging and learning a lot of new things. I’m discovering more of myself day by day.—NL

“IN TIMES LIKE THIS, WE HAVE TO BE UNITED. I’VE LEARNED TO SHARE WHAT I HAVE TO HELP THOSE WHO ARE IN NEED. I MAKE SURE I ALSO FOLLOW THE SAFETY PRECAUTIONS TO AVOID HARMING PEOPLE AROUND ME”

MAINE MENDOZA

“LET US ALL TRY TO HELP IN ANY WAY WE CAN. LET US ALSO BE CONSIDERATE, EMPATHIC, AND UNDERSTANDING OF OTHER PEOPLE’S SITUATIONS”

This has got to be one of the biggest challenges we are all facing. This pandemic has made me realize how fortunate and blessed I am as an individual and how we can give and share our blessings to people in need in times of crisis. So I decided to start my own program called the DoNation Drive, which aims to give financial assistance to those in need, especially to those who are affected by the community lockdown. (No-work-no-pay employees, PUV drivers, vendors, etc.) We know how hard it is for these people to get through each day and all we want to do is to help as many people as we can during this difficult time.—MM

KYLIE VERZOSA

“BE PRESENT, BE PRODUCTIVE AND BE PURPOSEFUL. INVEST IN YOURSELF, LEARN SOMETHING NEW, MAKE THIS A SEASON FOR GROWTH”

We’ve been given this time to reflect and reset. That’s exactly what I’ve been doing. Each day I write down my intentions and try to make myself better, physically, mentally and spiritually.

I gained three takeaways from this experience. First, I’ve learned that this is the best time to reset and learn introspection. Life wants us to realize something more important and that is to protect our body and prioritize how we protect ourselves. I also learned to slow down, connect with my body and my feelings. Lastly, I learned to be present, be productive and be purposeful.

Let us continue praying for our healthcare workers and frontliners in these hard times. I’m encouraging donations for the purchase of supplies (food or medical equipment) needed in the different hospitals. Let us hope and pray that one day all these will be an answered prayer.—KV

LOVI POE

“WE ARE ALL JUST TRYING TO COPE; LET’S DO OUR PART AND REMEMBER THAT WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER ”

It’s definitely an adjustment. I am so used to being busy all the time. The pandemic has given me the chance to slow down and reflect. It is devastating to see what is happening to our country and the rest of the world. The fear is real. You can see both ignorance and arrogance in our society. But at the end of the day, we do what we can to stay calm, positive and healthy. Not just with our bodies, but also our minds. Sure, we keep things optimistic, cheerful and lighthearted with what we see online, but more importantly, we need to keep ourselves educated and mindful of others so that as a society, we really learn from all of this so we do not repeat the same mistakes.

It’s a time to go back to basics. Imagine, we are being taught again very basic things such as the importance of proper hand washing—something we learned as children! Everything that is happening is making you think and rethink your decisions in life. If you go deeper, it’s fundamentally learning to take care of yourself so you can do the same for others. This life is a gift and we must never take anything for granted, whether it’s as simple as washing your hands or using your talents in service of others.—LP

REGINE VELASQUEZ ALCASID

I ’m trying not to panic but sometimes I can’t help it. Being home is such a blessing, but under these circumstances it’s very hard not to worry or be scared. I’ve learned that life really is too short for us to take it for granted and that every single day is a blessing.

Kaya natin ito. Kailangan lang natin manalig sa ating Panginoong Diyos. Ipagdasal din natin ang mga taong nag-bubuwis ng kanilang buhay para sa ating lahat. Mabuhay po kayong lahat, kami po ay saludo sa inyong kabayanihan.—RVA

“IPAGDASAL DIN NATIN ANG MGA TAONG NAG-BUBU WIS NG K ANILANG BUHAY PARA SA ATING LAHAT ”

BIANCA GONZALEZ INTAL

“FOR AS LONG AS WE CAN, IN WHATEVER WAY WE CAN, LET US BE THERE FOR EACH OTHER ”

Honestly, I just feel extremely grateful that my family and I have a home, the means to buy food and water and other basic needs. Some days are tougher than others, but we all do what we can to reach out to others.

I am slowly learning to not be consumed by the things that I cannot control, and instead focus on the things I can control. I am learning that the power of the people to speak up can make things happen on a larger scale, which is why we should stand up for what is right. I am reminded of the importance of appreciating the simplest things in life—the warm sunshine, the laughter of my children and the power of a friend’s hello.—BGI

KIANA VALENCIANO

“TRY NOT TO GIVE IN TO THE HATE THAT’S STEMMING FROM FRUSTRATION AND FEAR. LET’S JUST DO OUR BEST TO CONTINUE SUPPORTING ONE ANOTHER THROUGH THIS CRISIS AND WE WILL COME OUT OF THIS STRONGER”

It is really such a crazy time in the world right now, and to be witnessing this crisis escalate has just been so overwhelming. Through all of this, I’ve been teaching myself to shift my attention towards only the things that are in my control: my actions and reactions. I keep sane by keeping in touch with my family and friends back home, by finding ways to fuel my creativity and by educating myself on issues that I resonate with. I guess I’ve been focusing most of my energy on reflecting and really trying to map out where and who I want to be after all of this.

I think the most valuable lesson I’ve learned from this experience is to have faith. It’s scary to think about everything that’s currently going wrong and everything else that could follow in the same light, but I refuse to let fear defeat me. With faith, I am not discouraged. So I’m trying to make the most out of this situation, hunting down every possible silver lining, because with so much free time, I don’t want to waste any of it.—KV

GEORGINA WILSON

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