Familial Love in The Time of Pandemic


It is no secret that the current pandemic has turned the lives of many upside down. Everyone is pushed to adopt a new lifestyle, while new heroes—our frontliners—rose to the challenge of being our first line of defense during this time of uncertainty. But while everyone is struggling to adjust to the “new normal,” there remains one problem that a lot of people have been struggling with until now: keeping our connections with others, especially to those that we love.

Marianne Coleen Basibas is one such person who can give voice to this challenge. As a medical frontliner, she has personally experienced the impact of dealing with the virus first-hand as well as the disconnection it has brought when it comes to her loved ones.

“All of us are having a hard time because of the pandemic crisis we are encountering now. As a frontliner, one of the changes that I’ve had most trouble adjusting towards is distancing myself from others including my family. Since I am exposed to different patients every day, I need to do it to protect them,” she shares.

It has been particularly hard on Marianne since she has always been so close to her mother and grandparents who raised her. A daughter of a humble single mother, she shares that she never felt something was lacking in her life. “Napakahands-on niya sa pag-aalaga sa akin mula bata ako hanggang ngayon. I am living with my grandparents and my mother so masasabi ko na maswerte ako sa kanila dahil hindi lang iisang tao ang nagmamahal sakin. Kumpletong pamilya yung meron ako and I am very thankful for the family I have.” [My mom has always been hands-on in raising me since then up to now. I am living with my grandparents and my mother so I can say that I do not have a shortage of people who loves me. I have a complete family and I am very thankful for the family I have.]

When asked about her greatest challenge working as a frontliner, she answered: “One of the difficulties I have experienced was when I was isolated in the hospital. I cannot go home because I was exposed to patients. I think that’s one of the difficulties that frontliners like me are experiencing. We know our lives are at risk, but more importantly, we need to stay away from our family for their safety as well.”

This longing is the very reason that inspired Marianne to take her chance on Grand Videoke’s Kantah-Anne virtual singing contest. “I was quarantined in the hospital and I saw it online. The contest was for the celebration of Mother’s Day, so I had the idea of joining to dedicate a song for my mom. I was thinking, if I win, the Grand Videoke will be a perfect gift for her. One of our favorite bonding sessions together is having videoke sessions.”

Luckily, Marianne’s soulful rendition of the classic “Ugoy ng Duyan” bagged her the top prize. “I chose the song because it is so relatable to my experience right now. Yung “Ugoy ng Duyan”, kanta siya ng isang anak na sabik ulit na mayakap at makapiling ang kanyang nanay. Naisip ko, kapag napanood ng nanay ko yung video for her, she will be touched, and she will feel kung gaano ko siya kamahal kahit magkalayo kami ngayon.” [The song is from the perspective of a child longing to be with her mother again. I thought, once my mom sees the video, she will be touched, and she will also feel how much I love her despite our distance.]

For Audio-Video Solutions Corporation (AVSC), distributor of Grand Videoke, Marianne is the perfect poster child to win the contest because of her singing prowess and inspiring experiences.

Grand Videoke’s Marketing OIC, Jin Cortez shares that this is their small way of trying to encourage people to be more positive during these hard times. “Singing is a big part of our culture as Filipinos. We usually have videoke sessions to celebrate during gatherings, but we also want to shift that a bit and show that it can be the perfect outlet to express our feelings even when we are far apart from each other at the moment. We don’t need to be physically close to each other to feel connected.”

The Grand Videoke is more than just a regular videoke unit, too. It boasts of advanced technologies like its proprietary feature Perfect Pitch, a scoring system that guides users to improve their singing skills using an interactive real-time feedback that acts like their very own singing coach at home.

“For me, singing is important because it builds self-confidence. A lot of people use it to express their emotions and to give their messages to others. I personally consider it my passion. I feel very happy every time I perform,” Marianne shared. She continued, “This is not the first time that I joined one of Grand Videoke’s contests. I participated in their Perfect Pitch Battle before but didn’t win. Still, I’m very happy that I finally got the grand prize this time around—it’s more meaningful for me because I dedicated it to my mom.”

This is not the first and last activity that the brand has in the pipeline, too. Grand Videoke is planning to bring more exciting things to provide home entertainment and fun to the community during these tough times.

As for Marianne, she has a very important message to frontliners like her who are longing to be with the people they love.

“To all frontliners, stay strong and healthy. Remember that our family is always there for us no matter what. Everything will be fine, and we will soon go home to our families in God’s perfect time.”

“And to the frontliners who are mothers themselves and have kids waiting to see them again, just think of how proud they are to have someone like you as a parent. Be strong for them. Remember why we are doing this job and keep on fighting.”