THE International Friendship Day was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2011. This emphasized the young generations, different cultures in building bridges of peace and understanding.
In this pandemic, I saw friendships developed through the shared responsibility to keep the communities going, driving away fear and uncertainty, maintaining a happy disposition and keeping economies going.
We just witnessed the market to the home association, composed of vendors and suppliers, had their induction last September 30 at Grand Sierra Pines. I watched and saw how friendship has grown between the members, where at the beginning, they may not have known each other yet. I watched Malou and Arleen depend on each other as they led the activity. I saw how the officers help each other in explaining to the media what has happened in their activities and how it helped their family and their business.
I also came to know that aside from meeting at the barangay market day and deliveries, they try to find time to be together. It is amazing when similar activities and a common purpose will draw people of the same passion and vision that leads to strong friendships.
At the start of the project, I did not personally know any of the vendors, but it was complete trust that the group was developed. I was trusting them and they were trusting me and with confidence that we were on the right track. It is not a hard one, as a common purpose to deliver goods and satisfy customers were the guiding principles that kept these relationships going since the enhanced community quarantine. I did not know the vendors, but through the weeks, I came to see them very confident in overcoming the difficulties that came their way. Though distancing physically and emotionally was the norm of the day, I could see the warming up of everyone. Until we finally met face-to-face during the induction, a good five months after.
I did not expect a very young Moana Ecklay, who I always see in the group chats, that the homeowners were generous with their thanks for the fresh fruits and vegetables she delivered. I met Faith Sabala who also spearheaded the Gabriella Silang Market and their district. I again saw Brenda Lee Sudaypan of the farmers' group who I tapped to start a Farm to Homes. Kagawad Precy Esteban was there who was the first to do a Barangay Market Day.
I also met again Joy Labosnog, Soledad Benwaren together with my staff Faye Manzon who manned the group chat. As Joy mentioned at the beginning, it was a difficult job monitoring different barangay group chats all at the same time. At that time, the vendors were not yet part of the group chat, until such time that they have been serving at least a week or so and then we let them directly deal with the homeowners.
I saw Malou, Dyan and Arleen wanting to pursue this for a long time and could be the leaders to bring this to a more permanent market. They caught and shared the vision that could carry through for the future. It is the new normal of a market, online selling and delivery service all rolled into one. It is a virtual market, but vendors know who their customers are and the customers know who their vendors are. Physical face-to-face is a privilege upon delivery.
Personally, I have also grown closer to them because of the virtual exchanges in the group chats and social media. It is a new normal of building friendships. The virtual becomes a reality.
For, in the end, it is service, sacrifice and care that will keep things going. It is trusting what was envisioned will happen with confident steps and a good attitude. It is friendship.