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2020 Was the Worst, Here's How Filipinos Got Through with Grit

A year of getting by.
by Ara Eugenio
Dec 11, 2020
Photo/s: shutterstock

The year 2020 saw the entire planet grieve the loss of lives, jobs and the old normal. For many Filipinos whose stories we covered, they survived and thrived on pure grit.

By persevering through the worst possible year, they inspire fellow Filipinos to do the same and look towards 2021 with hope.

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Mr. Speedy Rider and ex-pop star Jek Manuel

Ara Eugenio

Like the devoted and hopeful lover in his pop hit "Ako'y Sayo Ika'y Akin Lamang", ex-pop star Jek Manuel powered through the crisis like millions of others who either lost their jobs or endured pay cuts because of COVID-19. With resourcefulness, faith, and grit, the OFW became a delivery rider for service app Mr. Speedy after he got a stuck in the country and couldn't go back abroad where he works as a bar singer. Read about the OFW's story. 

High school teacher and online seller Grace Esmaya

Courtesy of Grace Esmaya
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The past year has truly been a test of endurance especially for teachers who had no choice but to take on the challenge of remote learning. For makeup-savvy high school teacher Grace Esmaya who dared push her limits further, reselling makeup became an alternative lifeline. Read her full story.

Biology professor Dr. Rodney Cajimat

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Biology professor Dr. Rodney Cajimat knows that as an educator, putting the needs of his students first is critical to his job, especially in the worst of times. He knew he had to find a way to ensure that those without internet access can continue learning. Find out how he did it here.

Torio Family and their pet dogs


As if the health crisis wasn't enough, disaster-prone Philippines also had to battle the worst storms this year. At the height of floods spawned by Typhoon Ulysses (Vamco), a family in Montalban, Rizal learned a very important lesson: leave pets unchained and they might just save your life. Here's how it happened to them. 

Grab rider Joy Calimlim Habana

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, delivery app riders were among the ones who rode to the frontlines. Notwithstanding the dangers on the road and the risk of getting sick, 49-year old Grab rider Joy Calimlim Habana is juggling two different jobs with one leg. Get to know him more here.

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Medical Frontliner Manuel Sotelo III 


Filipinos were tasked to stay at home this year, medical workers stayed out at the frontlines and risked their lives just so they can tend to the sick. For 49 year-old anesthesiologist Manuel Sotelo III who is also a father, the sacrifice is made even more difficult by the possibility that he might never see his daughter again. Read why he did it anyway here. 

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