With COVID-19 still threatening our lives, the least we can do is stay home to prevent community spread. On the bright side, this means having more time with our animal companions while frontliners continue to fight an invisible enemy.

As a creative tribute to frontliners, the Philippine Lapine Club, Inc. (PLCI) conducted an online Rabbit and Cavy Photo Contest that garnered a lot of entries from different parts of the Philippines, with short messages of salute to accompany the photos.

The entries were judged based on creativity, adherence to the theme, uniqueness of the concept, and write-up. Deciding the fate of the contest were Animal Scene Magazine’s very own Managing Editor Jeffrey Lim; PLCI adviser Jaime Lim of Sugar and Spice Rabbitry and Caviary; photographer John Christian Inocian; American Rabbit Breeders’ Association rabbit judge Mike Magales; and University of the Philippines Photographers’ Society “Primera Litratista” Astrid Ocampo.

Out of 190 official entries, here are the 10 winners to give creative tribute to our frontliners.

Top 10: Momo (Mexico, Pampanga)

Momo looks the part of a rabbit doctor ready for surgery. “Thanking all the frontliners who are risking their own lives just to serve us. Let us support and pray for them. May we heal as one!” says Joshua Due, human parent to Momo.

Top 9: JC (Taguig City, Metro Manila)

JC stands tall and fierce, guarding the streets. JC might not be as intimidating, but the cuteness factor will definitely make you stop at the military rabbit checkpoint.

“Today, we’re celebrating real-life heroes. Instead of capes, they were masks, and instead of superpowers, they save the day with dedication,” says JC’s human companion Gracel Abria.

Top 8: Pau-pau (Manila)

“Somebunny’s 3D-printing face shields fur our frontliners! We carrot about you a lot. Thank you for all your bunderful help!” says Charles Vinson Lu in the pun-ny caption accompanying Pau-pau’s photo. These face shields will surely be a big help to our frontliners in preventing the spread of COVID-19!

Top 7: Jasper (Tanauan City, Batangas)

Simple, elegant, and majestic, Jasper not only showcase his beauty but also shows us how to wear a mask correctly. Make sure there are no gaps in between your face and the mask. Up the nose and under the chin, people!

The photo caption by Jasper’s human parent Princes Charlene Sala reads, “Thank you, frontliners, for all your bravery [dedication, service, and sacrifice] in our battle against COVID-19. We pray for your safety. God Bless!”

Top 6: Grey (Sta. Maria, Bulacan)

Grey waits patiently and keeps her tools ready as she prepares for patients about to come through the hospital doors.

Another photo dedicated to our frontliners in the medical field, with a caption from human companion Marielle Gidalanga that reads, “Due to the extended enhanced community quarantine, Dr. Bunny’s kits were called to the frontline as nurse, police, and food provider. Despite the death of their Mommy Nurse Bunny and many other frontliners, together, we will fight like Dr. Bunny’s family. We will heal as one! Mabuhay, Pilipinas!”

Top 5: Shadow, Creamy, and Tom (Agoncillo, Batangas)

Protecting the laws that protect you. Shadow, Creamy, and Tom remind us of our rights and responsibilities as citizens of this community.

“Hindi baril o [anumang] armas ang sandata nila, kundi ang lakas ng loob na suungin ang panganib, maipatupad lamang ang batas para sa proteksyon nating mga mamamayan laban sa pagkakahawa o pagkalat ng virus. Huwang kang matakot dahil wala kang kasalanan sa batas, bagkos ay magpasalamat dahil meron din silang pansariling responsibilidad na tinalikuran para sa laban ng epidemyang COVID-19. Sama-sama nating pagtatagumpayan ang labang ito!” says human parent Josel Kacasadile in the caption.

Top 4: Fluffy (Bacolod City, Negros Occidental)

Complete with a homemade face shield, Fluffy shows us how simple it is to make one. Ready to use in seconds, a stylish, functional, and comfy face shield can be created in the comfort of your home! And hey, why not make some for our frontliners, too?

“Salute to all our frontliners! God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them,” parent Jonalyn Huelar’s caption reads.

Top 3: JC (Taguig City, Metro Manila)

A repeat winner, this time as the number three spot, JC sets another checkpoint in place. More checkpoints mean more chances of stopping the spread of the virus!

“We honor those people in the front lines for being selfless fearless [about] winning against this pandemic. We are with you in our prayers,” says Abria in the caption.

Top 2: Lucho and Yara (Batanes)

Lucho and Yara take the second spot, reminding us of what makes the backbone of community healing; the work of the medical practitioners and the unity of our people.

“Sa digmaan, and totoong katapatan ay naipapamalas hindi sa talas ng armas, kundi sa pag-iisang loob ng [taumbayang] malakas,” human companion Zerjei Ballada says in the caption.

Top 1: Matcha (Batanes)

Toppic our contest is Matcha! Matcha brings out the true cure to the pandemic: compassion, unity, and hard work!

“In adversity, true strength is revealed. Heroes [battle] not with swords and shield, but with [face masks] and prayers,” human companion Zerjei Ballada writes in the photo caption.

Heartwarming response

“I’m also a frontliner – a physician attending to COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 [patients] every single day. Surely, [I appreciate this] photo tribute, both as a frontliner and a bunny mom,” said Dr. Lindsay Cadorna of Imus, Cavite.

It is not surprising that with all the unfortunate news we hear, we are more stressed than ever. It is nice to take a break once in a while and see these adorable photos on our feed.

Cuteness aside, they stand there not only to remind us of our duties to ourselves and to the community, but also to salute the frontliners who are doing everything they can to end this pandemic.

Thank you to all the people who sent in their thoughtful messages through their creative entries, and a huge thank you to all the people in the front lines. We salute you!

Check out all the creative tributes to our frontliners on PLCI’s Facebook page!

This appeared in Animal Scene magazine’s September-October 2020 issue.

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