More than a year has passed since the COVID-19 pandemic led to lockdowns across the country. Many of us stayed in our homes in order to avoid being infected by the virus. But many Filipinos, especially our medical frontliners who have continuously been sacrificing their lives in order to be of service to the Filipinos. Their sacrifice and dedication are truly unmatched and will always be something that all of us are grateful and thankful for. Let’s hear inspiring stories from some of our heroes who braved the threats of the pandemic.
Doctors Jerome and Kharen Senen are two medical frontliners who offered their service even during the height of the pandemic in the country. However, unfortunately, Dr. Kharen herself was infected by the virus and it was very heartbreaking when the news announced that she did not survive. Another dedicated medical frontliner was nurse Mary Lorraine Pingol who helped a stranger in giving birth. Another one was Alexander Merabel, a nursing attendant who made a “hand of God” or gloves with a warm water inside that can help in calming Covid-19 patients.
Iba ‘Yan team met two frontliners who, although they’re not doctors or nurses, have been rendering their services in the middle of the pandemic. Host Angel Locsin first met the vibrant and jolly utility staffer, mother to her children, and the second mother to her co-workers in Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital and Sanitarium in Tala, Caloocan, Ana May Mariñas. She has been working as a utility worker for six years already in the hospital. She starts her day by doing house chores. Before noon, she would already prepare the things and clothes she would use for work. The first thing she would do at work is sweep the hospital floors then would disinfect rooms if patients were discharged. She would also disinfect comfort rooms and shower rooms and would collect and disinfect garbage.
Ana May, a single mother of three children, always works hard even if it is very dangerous and exhausting. She has been the only one providing for her children since her late husband passed away from colon cancer. Since the pandemic has started, Ana May had to quarantine herself for one week before going home. She admitted it has been hard for her because she gets worried for her children. But before she stays in quarantine, she makes sure to buy groceries for her children.
When she attends mass every Sunday, she would pray for the safety of her family, for the recovery of the patients, and above all, for this pandemic to end. Ana May shared one of the hardest phases that she had to go through and that was when she tested positive for COVID-19. She was confined for 24 days and during those times, she chose to stay strong and to fight for her children, for the people she cares for, and for those people who love her.
Aside from being a mother to her children, Ana May is also a mother to many including the nurses, doctors, and the patients in the hospital she works at. There are times when she would use her own money just to buy food for some nurses. When she was confined, she still continued to do her work. For instance, she would still clean the bathrooms. She was even able to help a patient who coincidentally had the same name as her mom. She would help and guide the patient when she eats her meals. Ana May was even the one who influenced the patient how to dance zumba. And she’s very happy to be called ‘nanay’ by these people because she feels she’s able to give them the care and affection that she didn’t have while growing up as she was raised by her grandparents. Iba ‘Yan gave her a sari-sari store package, a one month supply of groceries, vitamins for her and for her children, things she could use for work like rubber shoes, bags, and tumbler. She also received a brand new phone and a powerbank.
Angel then met another dedicated frontliner and loving mother, Gregnon “Kate” Melindo who has been working as a nursing attendant in Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital and Sanitarium for six years. She is assigned to perform X-ray tests and CT scan tests. Sometimes she would even be responsible for assisting the patients in changing their diapers. She admitted that her work is very hard but she has to endure the pain because it’s her duty. Her husband suffered from stroke twice and in 2019, his condition worsened. That’s when Kate decided to find a job again and she then was able to work at the hospital.
It was very challenging for Kate when she was assigned to the COVID ward because she would be away for a long time from her family, and she wouldn’t be able to look after them and take care of them. What added to the difficult situation was when Kate herself was tested positive for COVID. She kept her condition a secret from her family, especially from her husband because she didn’t want him to get worried and to be stressed about it. However, she wasn’t fully recovered from COVID yet when her husband had a cardiac arrest and died.
Kate was still able to talk to her husband over the phone in the final hours of his life. However, when she called back, her son told her the painful news that her husband had passed on. Until now, Kate still couldn’t believe that she wasn’t by her husband’s side and that she wasn’t able to take care of him.
Kate said she remains strong because of her children who are her inspiration and motivation in life. She only dreams of providing a good future for them. And to honor Kate for her dedication, sacrifice, and strength, Iba ‘Yan gave her surprises that could be of great help for her family.
To support her frozen food business, Iba ‘Yan gave her a chest freezer and supply of frozen products. She also received groceries, vitamins for her and for her children, things she could use for work like rubber shoes, bags, and tumbler, and a brand new tablet for the schooling of her children.
Get your weekly dose of inspiration by not missing an episode of Iba ‘Yan, Sundays on Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, and A2Z Channel 11.