Jared Lustre on COVID-19, Writing, and Politics

Written by: Daphne Sagun | 10 months ago

During the COVID-19 pandemic, people all over the world have struggled to cope and survive daily. In the Philippines, Filipinos have had difficulties making ends meet and staying safe for the past two years. Among these people who have struggled with the pandemic is Jarod Anjelo Lustre, a writer, and artist who uses his talents to speak out against the common injustices Filipinos face. In his essay entitled “We did everything right”, he speaks of his family’s experience with testing positive for COVID-19 and the struggles that came with it.

At the time when his family was getting sick and the Philippines’ political climate was taking a turn for the worst, Jarod felt an immense amount of frustration which led him to write this essay. With this piece, he wanted to send out a strong political message and for the essay to resonate with the people who share the same struggles.

Reading was Jarod’s path toward becoming a writer. Starting with children’s storybooks and then jumping to novels, he fell in love with literature. At 12 years old, he had amassed stacks of books in his home, and he would read them at the school library. Writing didn’t come until he was in high school when he wrote poetry for his crush. When he started, he realized that he enjoys writing, and he decided to continue. He shares that a lot of his writing skills came from the teachings of his junior high school teachers, who coached him both in speaking and writing while entering various competitions.

After everything that’s happened to Jarod’s family and the Philippines, his political stands firm and grew to be fiercer. He shares that the government needs accountable officials, ones that won’t place the blame on the common Filipino people.

Since his family’s experience with getting COVID, they have been doing fine. His family members recovered, but he still wants his family to remember and learn from the experience.

For aspiring writers, Jarod advises being honest and vulnerable with their writing. He shares that one of his best days came from letting himself be vulnerable with writing when a reader came up to him and said that they related to his piece. He believes that art should be an expression of passion, and that strife can inspire people to stand up for themselves and others.

Learn more about Jarod’s writing and thoughts on The Indiependent Collective’s podcast, available on Spotify.