Unang Hirit barkada on ECQ

KAPUSO DAY - Angel Javier Cruz - The Philippine Star
Unang Hirit barkada on ECQ
Since April 13, Unang Hirit has been back on air from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m.

The past few weeks have shifted our lives in a way that we haven’t imagined before. As various countries and medical frontliners continue to face the pandemic that affected the whole world, we are encouraged to do our part by staying home.

We do miss our everyday routine, and for most of us, this includes beginning the day with the Unang Hirit (UH) barkada. Like most TV programs, UH had to temporarily stop airing in compliance with the enhanced community quarantine being implemented in Luzon. But the good news is that since April 13, UH has been back on air from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m.

While they were off-air, we asked the UH barkada a few questions and we found out that like the rest of us, they are also discovering something new about themselves.

What do you miss most doing right now?

Arnold Clavio: “Of course, doing the newscast for Unang Balita and Saksi. All of a sudden, parang may kulang. At least from Monday to Friday, na-extend oras ko sa Dobol B (he’s pinch-hitting for Mike Enriquez from 8 to 9 a.m.) kaya continue ang interaction ko sa public. Also, I miss playing golf. It’s my therapy. Stress buster na rin.”

Suzi Entrata-Abrera: “Doing anything outside the house — going to work, going to my workout class, to the grocery, to a restaurant. And I miss all the people I interact with when I do all those activities.”

Lyn Ching: “Everything that I used to take for granted: freedom to move about, to go wherever we want, hanging out with friends, going to work, going to the mall/grocery without having to do a hundred things before and after (wearing masks and gloves, disinfecting, using the alcohol every few minutes, social distancing, etc).”

Connie Sison: “Having get-togethers in the house or preparing dinner together with my besties, having long chats with my closest neighbors, and just hugging and making beso with all of them after every meet-up.”

Is there something new about yourself that you only discovered because of staying at home these days?

Lhar Santiago: “I realized that I shouldn’t have bought a lot of shoes. Because I’m just staying at home now, I don’t get to use them. Another discovery is that I can have a very good prayer life. I spend more time praying and studying God’s Word now. I realized that I should know God more and love Him more.”

Lyn: “I rediscovered my love of reading. Last year, I neglected the book nerd in me. I think I only finished two or three novels in 2019. But now, I’m very much back at it.”

Susan Enriquez: “Nakakainip pala pag nagawa mo ng lahat ang dapat gawin sa bahay. I always cook. I make sure na healthy ang dapat kainin lagi. Gusto kong ipagluto lagi ang mga kasama ko sa bahay para mas malibang ako kaysa mainip sa oras. One of these days, talagang kukuha na ako ng culinary course.”

Ivan Mayrina: “I realized that some skills remain and don’t take much to reawaken such as playing the guitar and writing (in English). Those are two skills that I used to be proud to have, but somehow got buried in the daily grind and remained dormant for years. But it’s amazing how the mind also has its own ‘muscle memory’. It just needs a bit of nudging to be reminded of such skills.”

How do you spend your day now that you have to stay home most of the time?

Arnold: “I started cooking. And I’m enjoying it. I also love sharing recipes that are simple, delicious yet easy to cook. I have a series of videos called Kusina ni iGan and posted it in my Instagram account (@akosiigan) and Facebook (@arnoldiganclavio) for the frontliners and fellow inmates (kakosa). It’s my simple way of thanking them for their heroic act to save lives.

“Also, I started watching YouTube for a refresher course in playing the saxophone. Can’t remember the last time I played it. While cleaning my room, I accidentally found the case and immediately my reaction — ‘Why not’? So, abangan…”

Lhar: “I work from home so I spend most of my time arranging interviews online, writing my script and voicing my story. The rest of the day is spent in social media and watching sermons of different Bible preachers.”

Susan: “Na-realize ko na ang luho pala natin pag walang krisis. Ngayon bawal magtapon o mapanisan ng pagkain, lahat dapat kinakain. May mga bagay pala na pwedeng di mo gawin ng regular like hair color. Manicure, pedicure, even facial. Pwede palang walang mall o shopping dahil there is nothing to buy naman kundi luho na lamang. Most of all, ang pinaka-importante sa buhay natin ang pamilya at ang oras na kasama natin sila.”

Mariz Umali: “I still go out six days a week for work but since I don’t have to leave home very early and I usually get home earlier than usual, I have the chance to exercise now. I also get to watch more Koreanovelas again now.”

What are the things you look forward to doing after the enhanced community quarantine?

Suzi: “Just doing what I used to do. I miss all that. However, I have a feeling that social distancing will be the new normal for a long while even after the community quarantine has been lifted. Everyone will be a bit more cautious and I hope people will still continue to practice good hygiene. Why stop a good thing? It had to take a deadly virus to constantly remind people to wash their hands.”

Connie: “I look forward to getting together with my loved ones, chatting with them about this whole experience and traveling the world! I want to particularly go back to my other country, Spain.”

Ivan: “Seriously, I miss shaking people’s hands and hugging people. I plan on hugging the hell out of everyone after this.”

Mariz: “Of course, I can’t wait to go back to anchoring and hosting Unang Hirit again and be with this fun bunch. Also eat out, watch movies, travel again and go to church.”

What is your message to your fans/supporters who might be part of the frontliners?

Arnold: “Every morning, say a little prayer, ‘Thank you Lord I am still alive. Help those who are suffering right now. Heal our land. In Jesus name. Amen.’ Please #staysafe #stayhome.”

Suzi: “We have been praying for you, our dearest frontliners. The courage that you possess in fighting off an invisible enemy is just incredible. I pray always for your health and strength and fortitude. Thank you for all that you do for strangers that even take you away from your own families. Such an incredible sacrifice that the whole country is so grateful for. Maraming, maraming salamat po!”

Lhar: “To all the frontliners in the fight against COVID-19, I am praying for you. Thank you for your selflessness in your service. Thank you for your genuine care and love for everyone. What you are doing is not easy and we really appreciate your sacrifices. You are part of my prayer life.”

Lyn: “I cannot begin to thank you for your selflessness in fighting this pandemic and trying to save as many lives as you can while sacrificing your time with your family. We know that every single time you enter your hospital where you work, you are risking your life to save someone else’s. Please know that we are all praying for you and are hoping that this ends soon. From the bottom of our hearts, maraming salamat po.”

Susan: “Sa lahat ng tagasubaybay ng Unang Hirit, maraming salamat po at nawa’y magkasama na uli tayo sa lalong madaling panahon. Patuloy po tayong mag-ingat. Lagi tayong magdasal na malagpasan at matapos na ang pagsubok na ito sa ating lahat.”

Connie: “I would like to extend my utmost gratitude to all of them for giving their service, especially during this time to our kababayans who need their love, expertise and moral support. They are our angels in white medical uniforms, our soldiers and policemen, our firefighters who give assistance in disinfecting the city and many more strong-willed frontliners who are out there fighting the invisible enemy for us. We are mighty proud of the service you do for our country! We are praying for God to protect you and your family during this time. God bless!”

Ivan: “With a grateful heart, let me say thank you for your sacrifice. But may I also ask you to please live to fight another day, because at the end I want you to be able to tell your kids and grandkids about this. I’m sure there are lessons to be learned from your stories. Thank you. Mabuhay kayo.”

Mariz: “Lubos po kaming nagpapasalamat sa lahat ng mga frontliners na walang takot at walang pagod na nakikipagsapalaran sa labang ito kontra COVID-19 — maraming, maraming salamat po sa inyong malasakit. Sa mga nasa tahanan, salamat po sa pananatili ninyo diyan para di na makadagdag pa sa mga posibleng magkasakit o magdala ng sakit. Patuloy po nating ipanalangin at ingatan ang isa’t isa. Malalagpasan din natin ito basta’t lahat tayo ay magkakaisang gawin ang ating tungkulin at higit sa lahat kung tayo ay patuloy na mananalig at magtitiwala sa Panginoon. Ingat po kayo lagi. God bless and stay safe everyone.”

Like our UH barkada, we are all praying for all our frontliners and our Kapuso who are battling this COVID-19 virus. Every day is a reminder that there is still hope and with God’s grace, we will survive this and hopefully become kinder, more responsible and loving people.

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