Chin and I share a common struggle give years go. She used to depend on a corned beef value pack worth Php7.00 as an employee earning minimum wage while I had survive with instant noodles as unemployed. I tried selling siomai, pizza roll, hotdog bun on the sidewalk for a living while finding a decent job. People were laughing but we didn’t really care. We started as a team and we made it through life’s battles as a team. Some think we’re lucky to be living the life we have now but the truth is, before we were able to enjoy the finer things that we have today, we’ve had to go through the worst.

We were not successful when we met back in 2012. In fact, we’re two struggling souls who were going through our own personal battles. I was an unemployed who was struggling to pay off a Php2 Million debt from a business venture that collapsed, trying to make both ends meet. Chin on the other hand was a hotel employee who was earning minimum salary.

We were kicked out of the home office that we rented because of missed rental payments. All we had left were a few clothes when we transferred to a boarding house. For six months, we lived in a small room without a window and a common bathroom for twenty people. We slept on the floor. We could hardly eat three times a day. We had to survive week after week with instant noodles and canned goods.

Life was so difficult back then that Chin had every reason to leave. But she chose to stay. She crawled when I was crawling. She cried when I was crying. She went through all the troubles of being with a failure like me. I thank God for my wife. If not for her support & encouragement, I won’t be where I am today.

If you’re going through struggles in your relationship today, choose to support each other no matter what happens.

There are times when you will see the worst in each other but no matter how ugly life can look like, choose to stay. Remember that the battle can only be won when you work together as a team. And most Importantly, put God at the center of your relationship. Only God can help us see the best in each other during the worst times and still believe in faith that life will get better.



(photos credit to: Ram Silva & JP Penol)

While the rest of the country is in an uproar because of the delays in medical equipment, testing kits & relief goods to combat the COVID-19 crisis, Ilonggos step up their battle plan by protecting and helping one another.

Even before the national government implemented flight suspension on international carriers, Gov. Toto Defensor and Mayor Jerry Trenas sent a letter to the management of Cebu Pacific to halt direct flights from Hong Kong and Singapore. The preemptive measure was beneficial in controlling the transmission of the virus from overseas, given the high volume of Ilonggo OFWs from these Covid-hit countries.

The Province of Iloilo and Iloilo City government did not wait for the aid coming from Imperial Manila. They immediately mobilized their local funds and distributed relief goods to respective barangays. Community kitchens were opened so that not a single Ilonggo goes to sleep hungry. People from Iloilo felt secured. I haven’t seen a single complaint in social media about their local leaders, but rather all praises and support.

When people feel secure, they’re not afraid, they don’t panic, they begin to feel the need to look after each other. This is probably the reason why many ordinary Ilonggos have taken the challenge to do their part in helping the community. OFWs from the United States and other countries despite being greatly affected by the crisis never failed to send their help. On top of that, millions of donations coming from Ilonggo businessmen poured out like heavy rain; from testing kits, masks, PPEs, food supplies, services, and among others. A group of young designers responded with a heart to serve by making special PPEs for hospital frontliners that come in different relevant themes; such as the Money Heist inspired PPE on the photo, which made the gesture even more personal.

Iloilo today is dubbed by many as the “Wakanda of the Philippines” for being a stronghold in this war against COVID-19. Some netizens call it “another country outside the Philippines”. At times like this, it is inspiring to see how one community has united to fight a common invisible, dreadful enemy. Just as people from Iloilo fondly cry: “Bato Iloilo!”.