Celebrating My Small Victories This Pandemic: An Eye-Opening Experience

This pandemic has pushed us not only to get outside our comfort zones to survive, but also to find ways to be productive. It can be discovering a new hobby, starting an online business, or altering routines to change a lifestyle. I’ve also learned to divert my attention by creatively expressing myself through writing and cooking. These two passions also led me to celebrating my God-given talents and gaining recognition through them.

While browsing in Facebook, I read about the contests related to food and writing and got enticed with the prizes. After all, as one of the breadwinners in the family, it would be a great help to win these competitions because the prizes are fitting for my family’s needs. Being the procrastinator that I am, I submitted my entries on the last day of submission deadline.

Father’s Day with San Remo

I’ve read in the post of a fellow blogger that San Remo holds a contest about Father’s Day. Contestants will have to present their cooked pasta dish and compare their fathers to a pasta shape using creative descriptions.

Here is the full mechanics:

Show your love to your dad/head of the family this Father’s Day! Follow these steps to join and win Php 3,000 Sodexo e-GCs and San Remo Gift Packs!

1. Like and follow San Remo Philippines on Facebook and Instagram.

2. Pick a pasta shape that best describes your dad/head of the family, make a pasta dish with it, and tell us why in the caption.

3. Post your entry between June 17-June 28, 2020 on Facebook or Instagram and tag us with the hashtags #PastabilitiesThatShapeYou#SanRemoPH#FathersDayWithSanRemo. Make sure they are set to PUBLIC.

4. The most creative post will get a chance to win a San Remo pasta package and 3,000 Sodexo e-GCs.5. 6 winners (3 on Facebook & 3 on Instagram) will be announced on June 30, 2020 at 3pm on San Remo’s FB and IG Page, and will be contacted via personal message on how to claim their prize.

The greatest catch for me is winning San Remo’s prizes: Pasta and Gift Certificates! I love to cook pasta and I can use the Gift Certificates for my bi-weekly groceries. Very practical right? However, the only sad part about the contest is remembering my dad in the process. I remember after writing the caption, I was crying. I recalled his memories with me and his greatest impact in my life.

Anyway, I thought of choosing the Trivelli pasta just to make it a bit different. Spaghetti is a bit common and I know many will be using it as their contest piece. The others pastas are a bit complex to execute in terms of finding the perfect sauce and making it presentable in social media.

The day before the deadline was my brother’s birthday so I thought of choosing a recipe that can also be a part of his celebration. Believe it or not, it was my first time to cook Pesto. I bought the cheapest olive oil and Basil leaves from the supermarket as these are only extra items in our grocery list. Good thing, I reserved an extra serving after the party for my plating the next day. It was almost gone during his birthday! The Basil leaves I reserved as toppings wilted the following day, so I had to cut celery leaves to improvise.

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My dad is a former seafarer. He worked abroad for 30 years as a cook in an oil tanker vessel to provide for our family's needs and send us to reputable schools. He sacrificed his life overseas so we can have a comfortable life. His greatest legacy to us is the gift of education because we will not reach our success today in our careers without him. Sadly, he passed away last March because of liver cancer. As I cooked the Pesto pasta today, I subtly remember his influences to me as a father. He was my mentor in cooking, who also led me to my passion for food. Just like the Trivelli pasta, his life may be intertwined with twists, obstacles, hardships, and blessings, yet he surpassed everything so he can provide for us. Like the Pesto, he was full of life and vigor and his testimony is fresh and radiant of God's love and grace as he battled cancer for one year. Like this basil pasta, he may look dry and weak on the outside because of his sickness, but when you probe his heart and soul, you can taste the flavors of his kindness and generosity. Flavors that will linger for life. And the greatest twist of his life? Though he had succumbed his life due to cancer, in the process, he gained a relationship with God and acknowledged him as his Lord and Savior. He devoted his life to his family and career but in the end, he peacefully met his Creator. We really miss him as we celebrated Father's Day but our hearts rejoice knowing that we will see each other again someday. T- aught me the meaning of hardwork R- espected my decisions and choices in life I-nstilled to me the value of good family relationship V- ictoriously overcame life's twists and turns E-mphasized that good character is of utmost importance L-ived a life in service of other people L- oved me unconditionally I- nspired me to be the best person I can be I miss you, Daddy. This is for you. I love you. #PastabilitiesThatShapeYou #SanRemoPH #FathersDayWithSanRemo

A post shared by Danica Airelle Marasigan (@thediamondintheroughblog) on

It was also a pressure to see the other creative and witty entries which are winnable! I am also not an expert in flatlays so I just made use of the available “elements” at home like cloth placemat, pepper grinder, parmesan cheese, and sofa pillowcase. I scanned some pasta flatlays in Pinterest and Instagram to gather ideas.

I was surprised that I was announced as one of the winners in Facebook! Reliving the significance of Dad’s influence to me became the gateway for me to win this contest. I guess the essence of my story captured the hearts of the judges.

Comco Southeast Asia’s Writing to Ignite Blogging Project

This contest is open for all bloggers. Participants are encouraged to share their survival stories this pandemic and the lessons or insights they have learned.

The “Write to Ignite Blogging Project”, ComCo Southeast Asia’s latest initiative co-presented by Eastern Communications and sponsored by Electrolux, Jobstreet, and Teleperformance, is a response to the need of our times, as every story comes a very long way during this period of crisis. An initiative open to bloggers in the Philippines, it aims to highlight the human spirit by encouraging them to share their reflections and personal plights during the COVID-19 pandemic. To guide them in their writing, they may narrate their story by answering the following questions: (1) How is your situation during the pandemic and quarantine? ; (2) What are you doing to get through the situation? ; (3) What has life taught you? ; and (4) What makes you move forward?

The grand prize is whopping Php 20,000!!! I need not elaborate why I decided to join the contest. After being in blogging hiatus for a couple of months to recover from the loss of my dad, I decided to write again. I collected my experiences during the pandemic lockdown by narrating how I managed to overcome losing my Dad and my close friend Karen, the new hobbies I started doing, plus the lessons and realizations that made me move forward in this crisis. Here’s my full entry:

https://diamondintheroughblog.com/2020/06/20/covid-19-crisis-gaining-a-renewed-perspective-and-seeing-beyond-despair/

We’ve heard different stories of hope and despair, and of striving to make ends meet. Each one has a unique story to tell in the face of the pandemic season; whether recovering from the virus, losing a job, discovering a new hobby, overcoming depression, or starting a new business. COVID-19 has changed us in one way or another.

Being the buzzerbeater that I am, I submitted my entry at 11:58 PM on June 30, the first declared deadline. After visiting my dad in the cemetery, I composed my thoughts and requested my family not to disrupt me so I can finish my piece before the deadline. Many talented writers and high -profile bloggers from all over the country joined. I was intimidated to read the stories of people in the same league, knowing they are all good in writing. It takes boldness to write a testimonial article that speaks of one’s courage amid this crisis.

I waited the whole day for the announcement of the winners. Unlike San Remo, it was not stated what time will they release the results on July 7. I kept going back to the website and FB page to check it. Until finally, in between emails at work, I finally read that I was one of the Top 40 among 70 participants! I was literally jumping for joy as I did not expect to be included!

Here’s the link: https://www.comco-hq.com/comco-in-action/comco-southeast-asia-announces-the-top-40-storytellers-for-write-to-ignite-blogging-project/

It was followed by a virtual awarding on July 14. Among 40 storytellers, I was awarded the 15th place. I feel honored and privileged to be given this recognition. I may not have won the grand prize, but the experience is something to be treasured for a lifetime.

My Takeaways

I remember joining writing contests since high school but it’s either I don’t win or I am always the second runner-up but never the grand winner. I remember I was an almost an Editor-in-Chief in college, but didn’t get the position and cried over the scholarship. But despite these heartbreaks, I still pursued my passion for writing. It is true that God knows the desires of our hearts — He is the author of all these dreams. He is the giver of all these gifts. And one day, He will grant your yearnings according to His own plan and own timing.

Secondly, all the earthly rewards are just fleeting and will be forgotten by people. What about our eternal rewards? If the feeling of receiving these material incentives is overwhelming, what more in heaven?

” Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” – Matthew 6:19-20

Still, I am thankful to God for allowing me to experience this. I am also grateful to my family and friends who have supported me in these endeavors. To Him be the honor and glory.

What contest will I join next? Hmm…

22 Comments Add yours

  1. paolo says:

    Congrats on the award! You are such an inspiration to all newbie bloggers like me. Hope to join the next contest

    Liked by 1 person

  2. iamraediant says:

    Congratulations, girl! Magkasunod pala tayo, number 16 ako. See you at the Virtual Party of Comco! Congrats on San Remo as well! 🙂 I love their pasta!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww congrats sa atin! Oo I’ve seen you nga. Good job!! Thank you Rae ❤️

      Like

  3. pag pasta talaga ang binibili ko san remo talaga! ewan ko sarap na sarap ako dito. and i like the shapes dami nga pwede pagpilian. sayang lang di ko pa talaga ma encourage yung son ko na kumain ng pasta.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Aaliziyah says:

    I am just like you. I was never complimented with my writing skills so I decided to deny the fact that I write. I started doing public speaking because a lot of people told me that that is what I am good at. Although that is the case, I went back to writing because I know how powerful I can be with it. Thank you so much for sharing this one!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve read that writing can bring us to places. It’s a unique gift we should be proud of and treasure. I also want to learn public speaking!

      Like

  5. Vee Peñero says:

    Woah, congratulations! Your dad is surely proud of you 🙂 This is an extra dose of inspo for me this morning… thank you, and thanks for reminding your readers that He deserves all praise! Stay safe and blessed!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awwww thank you! 😘 Yes, all glory to Him.

      Like

  6. Therese says:

    Wow! Congratulations po on your awards! The insights you’ve shared in this blog has brought a smile to my face ❤️ I focused on blogging ever since this pandemic occured and reading these type of blogs gives me a great push! Thank you po for the motivation!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Keanu says:

    Congratulations! The name of your blog fits you and this content! We sometimes have to feel that we are not the best to know what the best is! Congrats again!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Janella Herrera says:

    These accomplishments are big! Congratulations for *always* your best and having the confidence to join all these competitions. Great job!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. bitethegram says:

    Congratulations on your victories!! I’m a newbie blogger and It’s my first time to hear about these contests. Hoping to join some as well soon ^_^

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow, congratulations on the wins! I used to join competitions a few years ago, but I’ve been feeling pretty brain drained lately, so even if I wanted to, I don’t think I could’ve come up with a winnable entry.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. theaoctavo says:

    Hello Danica! First of, ang sarap ng pesto! Nakakagutom talaga haha Second, Congratulations to you! I hope you keep joining contests! You deserve it after every sacrifice that you have gone through to reach where you are right now. All those tears and heartbreaks were worth it. You became a stronger writer because of those 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Thea! That comment means a lot. 😘

      Like

  12. Hazel Salcedo says:

    Congratulations!!! I’m sure your dad is super proud of your achievements! 🙏🏻 Also, ang ganda ng pagka flatlay mo doon sa pasta! Aside from the touching caption of course! ❤️❤️❤️

    Like

    1. Thanks Hazel! Haha oo galing talaga sa puso yan.

      Like

  13. I saw your entry in San Remo contest and I must say that you deserve to be one of the winners. I was touched by your story of your dad. Congrats on your wins this pandemic season. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. blair villanueva says:

    Congratulations on being on top 15! Not all achievements come with a price tag. Being recognized is one of the best.

    Liked by 1 person

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