ECQ Season 3


During this third and hopefully final extension of the quarantine, I have decided to “quarantine” my attention from all the negativity out there so I can refocus on my real life purpose. With more time for myself to truly identify this purpose, I can pay more attention to developing skills to polish this passion. 

Happy 60! Jo-ann Soler carrying Louie Malachi Crespo Prieto

For some of us, our purpose and passion in life are obvious and clear. We’re born with a set of talents and through persistent practice, we develop our talents into skills. We then pursue that with passion and enthusiasm.

It’s never too late to change or adjust our purpose. Take a few moments and write a description of what the world would look like if we had the chance to operate it. Think about what we really want to do. 

When you present your goals to the universe with all its powerful technology, you will be surprised and dazzled by what it delivers. This is where the magic and miracles truly happen.

Because of this ECQ, I now have more time for my spiritual growth as well. This COVID-19 pandemic has tremendous impact on so many lives both on personal and national levels. Global economies are going through maybe the highest level of hardship.

How do we make sense of what God is doing in periods of pain, disappointment and suffering? What’s impactful when we are going through suffering? Where is God? He is right there with us. 

Be encouraged by the fact that suffering will not win. There is going to be a resurrection and an end to these evil symptoms. Our suffering will not need defeat us if we lean into God. He will surround us with love and comfort.

The keyword now is resilience. We all need to maintain our core purpose and integrity in the face of dramatically changed circumstances.  

Every single day is a gift. Even during these dark times, we have so much to be grateful for. Many people have celebrated their birthdays during lockdown but somehow the celebration was even more meaningful with those who matter the most. 

This is so true especially for the Rustan’s Group Tantoco family. With most of the retail industry temporarily closed, this may be the most challenging times for their family-owned retail empire but the Tantocos’ still share their strong family ties as they celebrate several important milestones in the family. 

Last April 7, Rustan Commercial Corporation Chairman Emeritus Amb. Bienvenido Tantoco Sr. celebrated his 99th birthday. Rustan’s co-founder “Lolo Benny” was supposed to have a birthday bash with a Bulacaneo theme to celebrate his roots and his childhood. It was just going to be celebrated with just their family at his home.  They might just jointly celebrate after lockdown with his daughter-in-law Nena Vargas Tantoco who turned 75 last May 2. Tita Nena is such an elegant lady who has a gift of styling beautiful interiors and table settings. 

Indeed, family is what truly matters most and it took this virus to remind us of this valuable aspect. In our family, our youngest Athena Valdes turned 15 last May 5. Just like everyone, we celebrated at home with just the family and it was still very special. 

Thanks to food delivery and online shopping, we were able to enjoy food favorites like Florabel (check out their IG and Buddy’s Pansit Lucban (to order IG @buddysph). Buddy’s owners Zaldy and Nova Veluz have been so generous and feeding a lot of frontliners too. Their daughter Lia is a good friend of Athena and she also celebrated her 15th birthday on May 15.  

For my fave designer Rajo Laurel’s upcoming birthday on May 19, he will celebrate it fashionably online! Saga Events, Inc. presents Rajo Runway Online! My First Virtual Fashion Show. The brain child of director Robby Carmona, the live streaming party and fashion show will be launched on May 19 at 6PM on Saga Events Official Facebook page. Like and follow SagaEventsOfficial Facebook page, @sagaevents on Instagram, and Saga Events Inc. on LinkedIn. Join us #SagaEvents #RajoRunwayOnline for this unique celebration. Portion of the proceeds will go to our Red Charity Gala beneficiaries including Makati Red Cross.

Dong Ronquillo , Tessa Alindogan , birthday boy Rajo Laurel And Nix Alanon

We had decided with co-chair Kaye Tinga to postpone the Red Charity Gala this year and prepare the charity show with our featured designer Ivar Aseron on October 2021 instead. Ivar recently celebrated his birthday too during lockdown. 

With so much time at home, online shopping is a wonderful way to release anxiety!  As the world practices social distancing, Palacio de Memoria’s auction house, Casa de Memoria or the Casa, will be offering a new online experience filled with art, celebration, and goodwill as they hold two special auctions, Primero and Segundo, online at, powered by Invaluable, on May 30 and 31, 2020, respectively, both at 2pm. The Segundo also marks their fourth anniversary.

The Lhuillier-managed auction house will be donating part of the proceeds to charity. It will go toward the funding of an emergency quarantine facility, designed by WTA Architecture and Design Studio, in Sta. Ana Hospital Manila for COVID-19 patients and frontliners.

Valuable and rare artworks, antiquities, and heirlooms of European-Filipino provenance will be up for sale at the Primero and Segundo auctions.

Wherever you are, I hope you and your family are safe and in good health. This May is certainly different from ones we have known in the past, but one thing that remains the same is that we celebrate family and Mother’s Day this month. Especially significant this year is the United Nations International Day of Families last Friday, May 15. While we may be unable to gather physically together this year, may the love we share bring us together in the spirit of family.

Just as our families can be the source of our greatest joy during good times, so too do they provide strength and comfort through challenging times. As Alex Haley, author of Roots, wrote so beautifully, “In every conceivable manner, our family is a link to our past, a bridge to our future.”

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