Metro Safe & Sound: Singer And Frontliner Carol Banawa Spreads Positivity Through Music This Easter Sunday
This former Star Magic artist, singer, and OR nurse in the US talks about how she's spending Holy Week this year and opens up about her experience as a frontliner
Music is, and always will be, embedded in Carol Banawa’s core. Even after leaving the Philippines and her showbiz career behind in the early 2000s to start a new life with her family in Virginia, USA, her passion for singing never waned.
In between her duties as an OR nurse and her roles as a wife and a mother of two, the Filipina singer continues to pursue a career in music, performing alongside international artists in big venues abroad. Despite being thousands of miles away from her home country, she remains to be a familiar face (and voice) to Filipinos whose lives she has touched through her unforgettable hits.
With the COVID-19 pandemic changing life as we know it, the former Ang TV star reaches out to her kababayans and extends support for a noteworthy cause. This Easter Sunday, Carol lends her voice to the “Metro Safe & Sound” campaign alongside other local artists who are helping spread awareness on ABS-CBN's COVID-19 relief efforts under the Pantawid ng Pag-Ibig campaign.
Metro.Style organized this unplugged music video series to keep the spirit and celebrate the true meaning of Holy Week even in the midst of a pandemic.
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Metro Safe & Sound will bring joy, give hope, and save lives with music brought to you by some of the country's most inspiring singers. Through ABS-CBN Foundation, you can donate to Kapamilyas who are in need. You may donate through pantawidngpagibig.com or abs-cbnfoundation.com. Catch Metro Safe & Sound on Metro.Style’s YouTube Channel and Metro Channel at 4 PM starting this Palm Sunday. #PantawidNgPagibig #AtHomeWithMetro #MetroSafeAndSound
A new kind of Holy Week
This virtual celebration isn’t the only change in Carol and her family’s usual Holy Week celebration. Through her simple yet meaningful contribution of music to fellow Filipinos through “Metro Safe & Sound,” she also gets to observe the Lenten season with hints of the traditions she was used to. “Holy week here in the US is very different compared to how it is celebrated there in the Philippines,” she tells Metro.Style. “Normally, it would be a regular workweek. Work or school is not cancelled.”
Recently, though, the 39-year-old artist spends lesser time inside the hospital due to the pandemic. Their elective cases are canceled, and everything they do now are emergency surgeries.
“It’s eerily quiet at work and people are very cautious. You can sense the fear and uncertainty sa mga tao... It feels like you’re in a movie or something. Parang may sisigaw ng 'cut!' but it’s happening and the virus is real,” Carol shares. “We’re just told to stay at home. Parang how is that gonna help? But it is gonna help. It is gonna help stop spreading the virus.”
With shorter work hours for Carol and the required home quarantine in different parts of the world, Holy Week feels different for Filipinos like her living overseas. “This year, we get to focus on what is important during Holy Week. Even if the Holy Week rite is just on TV, we get to do everything,” Carol shares. The family even plans to do Easter eggs for their little ones, to cheer them up amidst the current lockdown.
A positive outlook
Being with her husband and her children during these trying times brings her so much comfort, but Carol admits that sometimes, it’s hard to see the brighter side of things. It’s understandable, since she's a frontliner, she knows she's putting her life and her family's at risk the moment she steps out of their house and steps into the hospital.
There's that fear, because we're fighting an invisible enemy. She shares, “We come to work everyday and we know what we’re supposed to do. We know our duties. We know our skills pero knowing that there’s that virus that’s there, this invisible enemy, na you don’t really know if it’s gonna hit you or not... I guess it’s the fear. The fear each time you go to work, that’s the most difficult thing to fight. Pero again, at the end of the day, you’re there because you’re there to do your job and your duty.”
On days when these thoughts weigh heavy on her heart, she reminds herself that “this, too, shall pass.” Carol says, “It is so hard to stay positive when you are going through a difficult time, and I'm sure that a lot of people would agree with me on that. However, I also know that there is an end to this. We have to believe and have faith in God. We will be okay.”
Music is part of the things that are keeping her okay now. In the past weeks, Lauren Daigle's song “Rescue” has been playing on her mind over and over, as if she's being reminded of God’s salvation. Carol reflects on its lyrics: “I will never stop marching to reach you / In the middle of the hardest fight / It's true, I will rescue you.” This, and the whole second verse of the song, is Carol's favorite—words that gently tug at the heartstrings and evoke feelings of ease and solace.
The “Iingatan Ka” hitmaker chooses to focus on the hope that lies beneath this pandemic. Similar to how our countrymen show our culture of bayanihan, Carol is fueled simply by reading stories online, which show how humanity prevails in this time of crisis. “In some areas in Europe, people would leave groceries or necessities for their neighbors, especially if they learn that their neighbor is sick and cannot leave their home,” she says.
“It is comforting to hear that amidst all the chaos, people are still helping each other,” she adds. “The only way to win this fight is to stick together.”
Being a healthcare worker can be dangerous as it is, but COVID-19 makes matters worse. Still, this did not stop Carol from staying true and devoted to her commitment to help save lives. The experience of being a frontliner has taught her one very important thing: to be grateful—for your loved ones, for the time you're given, and for all the blessings you've received.
“We may be going through difficult times right now but we have each other,” the singer points out.
Watch Carol Banawa's performance for Metro's Safe & Sound Holy Week Series on Easter Sunday (April 12) at 4.p.m. on Metro Channel and Metro.Style’s YouTube channel.