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Athena Perez May 3, 2020

ODE TO FRONTLINERS

To the people who rose from their beds while the world is still sleeping. They have to wake up at the break of dawn just to prepare their home for when they leave.

To those who still need to cook breakfast for Neneng, or clean the house for the Mister. To those who have to kiss their wives and children goodbye even while they are still in slumber. To those who face the world, with a face mask and alcohol for their arsenal. The minute they walk or ride in their private vehicles, they are no longer mere men but heroes.

To those who are in the medical fields who have to touch Heaven-knows-what in the name of healthcare. To the nurses, midwives, doctors, and medical staff who do their work to serve the sick and dying with diligence. To the law enforcers on the street, who only wants the best for the citizens who have no choice but to go out for the necessities. To the police workers who catch lawbreakers that are out to cause chaos, even in a pandemic. To those working in retail and food. To the delivery boy who brings food door to door, or the cashier at the grocery who has to stand and serve customers instead of being at their own homes. To those who are in laboratories, in white coats, goggles, and gloves. To those who are tirelessly studying the virus and are looking at ways of how to treat the disease to bring back humanity to its norm.

To the frontliners who have put their lives on the line to serve the community, even if it means risking themselves in the harsh environment. To those who would rather be infected instead of their family members and would do what it takes to keep society functioning even in a crisis. To our frontliners. Thank you.

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An Open Letter to all the Frontliners

By April Anne M. Nemenzo

I hope that we never meet each other for now…but if given a chance that I may see you all face to face after this, I will give you my warmest hug. Thank you for all the unending nights that you gave to all the patients, for staying outside to keep us away from danger instead of staying beside your family. For sacrificing your time and not giving up to all the people who are still surviving. For reminding us to stay at home and to feel great that we are alive.

You may be threatened, but you showed no fear. You are the hope of our nation today, forever we are grateful you are there. You guys are great, really great! To all the patients you saved, we owed you a lot. I may not be in your position but I know how much you are hurt seeing patients to die because of this enemy that we can’t see.

I may not be in your position but I know how much you are hurt wearing those tight, hot and annoying clothes and necessities everyday- but this are the only thing that can keep you far from being infected, and you all bear this much because you wanted to help not only the people but the entire world. To all our modern heroes who keep us safe and being part of this war that we can’t control, every one of you should take care.

I know it was hard, but your family is still waiting for you. I am just one of the children who are waiting for their mom and dad to come home safely. I will pray for your souls and family. After this you deserve a plate of honor, all of the frontliners out there. Hats off ma’am, sir.

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Katherine Go A day ago

Cold Food

The most thrilling and delightful moment of any school day is opening up your baon during breaks. There is always so much excitement in unveiling your homemade meal and snacks housed inside matching heat-insulating containers. Because preparing packed meals is an age-old tradition of showing parental love, loved ones pour effort into curating a nutritious meal accompanied by a selection of side dishes, desserts, and beverages daily; it reminds us that we are being taken care of, even from far away.

Baon plays a significant role in a Filipino childhood. Almost every Filipino child comes to school with baon made especially for them by their parents or household helpers. Even Filipinos in the labor force continue to bring baon for varying reasons: to save money, recycle leftovers, cater to personal taste, or attend to special needs. Nonetheless, eating your baon is a heart-warming experience that allows Filipinos to bring a piece of home along with them wherever they go.

Even other cultures practice making packed lunch. In Japan, mothers create bento--Japanese meals in partitioned boxes. Because of the popularity of bento, trends have emerged, such as the Kyaraben, or character-themed bento. Naturally, Japanese parents and students began competing for who had the cutest and tastiest bento, and this is similar to what I have witnessed in my own childhood. I remember seeing my classmates sharing their snacks and lunches. They would compare and boast about their parents' or yayas’ cooking. In my case, I never had the chance to join in the competition or indulge in homemade cooking. Up until this day, I have never brought any baon to school.

For a long time, I envied others. As trivial or petty as it may seem, not having baon became a problem for my grade school self. During that time, I had to sit in a separate cafeteria away from my friends because the kids who bought food were assigned to sit elsewhere. You could consider me spoiled, but I wanted to experience something most kids did. I had food at home, so what made it so hard to bring some with me to school?

Now that I am on my final year in high school I have come to realize the benefits of purchasing my own food. Since I spent on food everyday, I learned to budget my allowance at a young age. Over the years, I learned to practice self-control whenever I wanted to eat more greasy fries and drink sweetened beverages. I have tasted the strangest viands at the school cafeterias, and I have repeatedly satiated myself over my latest delicious discoveries. Despite the struggles, I am thankful that I have never had baon because of what I have learned. Not to mention, I never had to experience eating cold food.

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