1st Place: "Man's Greater Depth to Life"


“How could the world be a safer place for you and me?” This question was addressed to students across the province. The essay contest challenged the youth to reflect and draw lessons from their own experiences during quarantine. An overwhelming response was received, reflecting on how the individual and the society can collectively make a difference.

With great pleasure, we share the 1st place winning essay:

1st Prize Winner | Siargao National Science High School

Zaashra Angel B. Escutin

No threats. No harm. No deaths. No assumptions about yet to come. What seems to be new when the world is only filled with but people who live a normal life, tantamount to democracy and free will. Awareness is neglected, cautiousness is raised especially at the coming of new dilemma in the Philippines, and here I am with my family, in the protection of our homes while some are fighting for the lives of their own and others against danger brought by the Corona Virus Disease 2019.

It’s summer but fate does not cooperate with my satisfaction to enjoy vacation in my own way. The heat of the sun, the splash of the waves and the blow of the mountains are unable to satisfy the longing desire of my body to have a relaxing moment with nature. While assuming about the ‘travel peeps’ that I personally counted in, I am but have the least chance of bringing my feet to journeys, new experiences and vacation destinations. Nevertheless, these are just the ‘wants’ incomparable to the ‘needs’ of some. The virus, with its system of conveying to kill its host, also kills the living of the uninfected, the less fortunate and the needy, and my heart breaks every time I watch on the television, learning how powerful this virus is to blow a maximum blast to mankind, and the entire nation in general.

Everyday, like the 'new normal' to be called, we live with such imperatives and reminders to stay at home, wash our hands, distance ourselves, wear face mask, get enough sleep, drink vitamins and avoid the use of cigarettes and liquors. With all these](, we protect ourselves from the deadly threat of Covid-19 by stopping the transmission to more individual and continue to live in nourishment.

But as reality speaks, not everyone live in abundance and so others are left with predicament: stay home or go out if starve, seek for a living or make unfavorable actions and live. If all these give others a greater chance to survive from starvation other than staying alive to defeat the virus, they are left with no choice but to make decisions whether righteous or not and continue to be exposed to endanger their lives and others.

Hence, what safer world awaits? Each one of us needs to reach a greater depth of life’s virtues.

BE OBEDIENT. Follow the imperatives driven by the government and be courageous to fight the virus by showing obedience and respect. Everything works and goes well when everyone adheres to the safety measures.

BE KIND. Humanity is born equal but mankind walks into different paths. If one lives in abundance, the other suffers in poverty. A consideration of each other’s situation can create a huge difference. Recognize the worth of others, and not just your own.

BE GENEROUS. In these times, generosity can save lives. An offer of time, food, money or something that may help is a light of hope to those who strive to live, but with the shortage of life’s basic necessities.

BE HELPFUL. Help does not only exist by giving material possessions. Time, forms of encouragement such as rendering songs, making poems, prayers and smiles are a sign of great help to others. BE OPTIMISTIC. Instead of sharing negativity, give emphasis to what’s good and pleasing. Instead of complaining, make interventions and reward yourself by fulfilling fruitful days, and make each day a desirable chance to live.

BE HOPEFUL. If you don't quit, you find light at the end of this struggle, for COVID-19 pandemic happens for a reason. Do not lose hope because there is a God who make the impossible possible. Have your heart filled with prayers to fire up the flames of faith.

BE HEALTHY. To be able to fight the virus, health must be prioritized. Physical, mental and emotional health should work in one. Eat nutritious foods such as fruit and vegetables, and drink enough water to continuously and easily cleanse your body. Get early in bed and have enough sleep to strengthen your immune system. Invest yourself more to healthy activities because during these times, the fittest is the one to survive.

BE EFFICIENT. Instead of living every day on a repeated scene of sleeping, eating, watching tv and scrolling through your cellular phones, perform operative and valuable works such as doing house chores and teaching your siblings how to do so. If you have a family business, expose yourself more to it by working as a cashier or any position to take part. Make the whole situation better by executing productive doings that will nourish yourself and your life.

BE TECHNO SAVVY. Technology was initially created for good but as time passes by, it created more chaos and unpleasantness. Since the world is already at a bad state, let’s make it better by changing our methods to technology’s usage. In place of watching 'tiktoks' and scrolling through your social medias, engage to educational activities such as exploring E-Learning courses and watching youtube that contains informative contents like ‘how to be productive’ videos. By doing these things, your lazy routines will turn into productive routines that will not only effectively affect your day but will change your entire life.

When a man finally leaves this world, he dies without possession. He lies in his coffin, buried in the deep soil with parasites leisurely ingesting every flesh he has until he is left with nothing but bones. Life is more than what we think it is. It does not only revolve within ourselves and the things we see in this world. It is not about materialism. It is not about wealth. It is not about who survives, and who don't, for MAN'S GREATER DEPTHS ARE THE VIRTUES WE ACQUIRE, POSSESS AND SHARE. It is virtuous if our existence is shape by our well-beings. It is valuable even more if those that are VIRTUOUS ARE THE SAFEST PLACE TO LIVE IN. Without these, everything is meaningless. Every human's existence is nothing, but a hole. If a man lives without purpose, he dies and sees God with nothing to be proud of.

Today, every nation is at the midst of its collapse. Efforts are strengthen to defeat the unseen opponent, but since physical procedures to win against the virus are visible and obvious, we can conquer the crisis that we are facing. Together, we establish ONENESS, and we MAKE EACH OTHER a safer place to live.

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