I’ve been a public relations professional for most of my adult life. One of the things I love most about the job is being able to build genuine connections and friendships with some of the most respected and interesting personalities in Philippine media as well as with my industry peers.
This is the time of the year when I would usually be jumping from one gathering to another – whether as a guest or a host – and enjoy the thrill of seeing familiar faces or making new friends. I’m an unabashed extrovert and few things energize me more than an evening of merriment filled with good food, lighthearted competition, free-flowing drinks, and the classic Filipino pastime: karaoke.
As the Covid-19 pandemic has shown very little regard for our cherished holidays and our need for celebration and human interaction, we’ve had to adapt to the times and forego the typical Christmas party in favor of virtual ones.
At BPI, we made full use of technology — the various digital tools available to us, and launched our first e-Friendsgiving Party series for our media friends. While nothing beats actually being in the same room together, we still managed to enjoy ourselves over games, fantastic food (individually delivered to their homes), and lighthearted conversations. Most importantly, we knew we were keeping each other safe.
In the US, they are now experiencing a post-Thanksgiving surge of Covid-19 infections. After millions of Americans decided to take the risk and spend the holiday weekend with their families despite the warnings of public health officials, it is now reported that infections are now happening at a faster rate than ever before. In fact, it was only last December 10 that the US recorded its highest daily Covid death toll to date, according to US media reports.
I don’t doubt the good intentions of the people who decided to visit their families. Loneliness is a crushing feeling, and many of them have not been able to be with or hug their loved ones for almost a full year. But we must resist the completely natural urge to come together over the holidays and accept that for now, the most loving thing we can do for each other, is to stay apart so that we can all stay safe.
Let us be grateful for what we do have. Let us be grateful that we now have the means (technology) to still stay in touch and to see each other, even if only through our screens. Let us be grateful that we can still get gifts for our loved ones, wherever they are in the world through online shopping apps. Let us be grateful for our health and for the assurance that a better tomorrow lies ahead.
The day will come when we can all be together again, and I am one with everyone in the world in hoping and praying for that to happen soon. Until then, let’s all be extra careful and responsible so we can ensure that we and our loved ones will be alive and well to see that wonderful day come.
Merry Christmas, everyone.
The author is the vice president and head of corporate affairs & communications of BPI and is concurrently the executive director of BPI Foundation