Teen idol Edward Barber considers himself lucky for the continuous work opportunities amid the pandemic. He used to get swamped with hosting gigs for MYX. They did podcast, interviews, and live episodes during this quarantine. It helped him keep motivated, just in time when he was growing anxious after week two of lockdown.
Edward thought the quarantine was the vacation he needed and always craved for over the past four years in showbiz. But he realized that two weeks spent in idle isn’t healthy, and not even fun, at all. MYX saved him from anxieties then. But unfortunately, he alongside other employees was retrenched from the music channel just last week of August.
When a door closes, another window opens, they say. Despite the sad news, Edward found several other reasons to be hopeful, one of which is the re-airing of the Maalaala Mo Kaya “Sunflower” episode this Saturday, September 28. He still does guestings for ASAP Natin ‘To and hosting for iWant ASAP. There’s a major MayWard project in the works and Edward prays it gets pushed through. He also plans to venture into game streaming soon as a way to interact with the fans.
The tight schedule doesn’t stop him from keeping healthy. He makes sure to balance work and rest. He lives in a condo unit with his mom while his sister stays in a separate unit nearby. Mom’s cooking is always the best. And home-cooked meals make the work-from-home more convenient. His mother recently put up an online baking business, which means he gets to munch down homemade goodies. Edward knows when to control the sweet temptations, though, in order not to gain too much weight.
Mental health is just as important to him. While others focused on the physical glow-ups this quarantine, Edward’s transformation was about his spirituality. He’s grown his faith. He wakes up earlier than usual for morning devotion. It’s only through God’s word that he’s able to overcome all the negativities around him. It also helps to have a solid support system. Edward mentioned that he keeps in touched with his showbiz friends, however few they are. He now tags them ‘brother’ and ‘sister.’ Unlike others who found solace in learning artistic skills, Edward just clings to nothing but his faith in keeping him sane. He is walking out of this season not with new skills but with a broader spirituality, and that would be more than enough.
“Good for you if you guys are doing something, keep on doing it. But for me, I knew I was not gonna walk out of quarantine knowing new language or knowing a good skill. But when I walk out of quarantine, because of the strengthening in my faith and the strengthening within my heart, my mind, and my soul, and my body, when I walk out, I’m gonna approach life completely differently,” said Edward.
He knows the challenges we are facing are beyond our control. There’s no easier way to move forward than learning to accept our limitations. Edward stressed the power of surrender. “If you are anxious, maybe you are taking something that’s outside of your control into your own hands,” he added.
Struggling with anxiety for years, Edward realized the importance of a solid support system. There’s comfort in finding friends or a community that will encourage, strengthen, and even challenge you. This isn’t just a coping mechanism but likewise a tool that’ll help you flourish more.
“Ang buong 2020, baka din first half ng 2021 is all about survival. Just get through it. Don’t worry about your plans. Don’t worry about doing something amazing in the future. Just get through it, step by step. ‘Yun ang importante and keep on staying safe, and keep on focusing on your mental health,” Edward advised everyone dealing with anxiety.
He underscored that comparison is damaging. You don’t have to keep up with all things trendy. Don’t let social media dictate your timing. “Just take care of yourself and get through this year. Then, in the next year, we can focus on moving forward. Kasi this is a whole thing that affects the whole world, so stay safe lang.”
The whole quarantine experience taught Edward the importance of “touch” – something that’s quite just a memory nowadays due to social distancing. He learned to appreciate human interaction even more now that simple gestures like shaking hands and beso-beso are discouraged. During work for ASAP Natin ‘To, they content themselves with meter-wide greetings, however they long to hug and be more close to each other. And when he gets home, he acts extra cautious getting near his own mom. These are simple rules that bring striking impact and realizations. Edward hopes the world will appreciate human interaction more once we survive these trying times.
As sentimental as he is, Edward turns his childhood memories into a wide Funko Pop collection. Just looking at them lined up in his room brings him nostalgia. “It’s one of those things na ‘pag kakauwi ko lang, 3 AM from taping, I get home so tired. I haven’t showered yet. I put my bag down and I see all those memories in front of me, I’m like, ‘Okay, at least there’s a reason I’m doing something.’”
He first showed a bubblehead figure of Kakashi Hatake from his favorite anime series “Naruto.” He also loved “Pokemon” growing up, thus it definitely has a space in his collection. Seeing the “Pokemon” stuff reminds him of his playmates. There are also “One Punch Man” collectibles in the group.
Edward’s addiction to Funko Pops started when a fan sent him one. The MayWard fandom knows how much he loves “Naruto,” so they gifted him a Naruto (Rasengan) toy figure. Apart from the anime-inspired characters, Edward also collects “Star Wars” items.
One of his top picks is a Post Malone vinyl figure which he got from San Francisco while doing the ASAP Natin ‘To Bay Area shows. So, it reminds him of their beautiful San Francisco memories. His favorite childhood anime character, Squirtle from “Pokemon” is the latest addition to the bunch.
There’s one that holds a special meaning to his love team partner, Maymay Entrata. It’s the Majin Buu bubblehead from “Dragon Ball Z.”
A responsible collector with a heart, Edward doesn’t spend too much on the toys as he only keeps those with sentimental value. “I just collect the ones that have special meaning to me. Doon ‘yung tunay na treasure. Every single one of them has a specific memory attached to them,” he said.