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In the current virus-ridden world that we live in, where quarantine and physical distancing mean safety, connecting with loved ones have become more challenging than usual. Any and all communication have either gone online, or worse, have stopped altogether.

But what if you can establish, renew, or keep that connection, and make it more special and more personal while ensuring everyone’s safety?

Enter Handwritten by Maria, a writing service that makes and sends real letters to connect you with whoever you have in mind.

For P400, you can have a handwritten letter with a maximum of 300 words in a personalized envelope, along with a short playlist of songs, a collection of favorite quotes, and a pressed plants bookmark.  Just make sure to send the letter body, chosen songs, and quotes via email at [email protected].

If you’re not quite sure about how you want to write the letter, Handwritten by Maria also offers an option to let them come up with the letter’s body. You can also choose to include chocolates or crochet coasters for an additional fee.

Ma. Lisbet Esmael, who described Handwritten by Maria as a passion project, says she has always been interested in handwritten letters and it’s power to make “the receiver feel that the sender care a lot since making one takes more time and effort.”

“The thought of putting [it] up came last May—when the country was still under strict quarantine controls and people’s movement continued to be limited amid the coronavirus pandemic—and I was really eager to send someone a handwritten letter,” she tells MB Life. “I looked up on the internet if there’s a handwritten letter service, but the ones I found were based in the US or London. So I thought, maybe I should really pursue this.”

Opting to send a letter may be a thing of the past, but Esmael says expressing yourself by pen and paper tend to be more personal than online messages.

“Allowing yourself to be vulnerable is what I love most about handwritten letters, because we get to write down our raw feelings on paper—providing only love and comfort, and not expecting anything in return,” Esmael says. “Handwritten letters are tangible, too. You get to relive the emotions you had while reading the letter, even years after receiving it.” 

The receiver does not have to be a special someone, too, at least at Handwritten by Maria. “This service is for everyone, especially for those who want to express their feelings through a handwritten letter, away from the digital messages we are now used to, and for those who haven’t abandoned their love for handwritten letters, yet have no immediate access to logistics.”

While Esmael recognizes that it’s a niche market, she also believes that the ensuing lockdown would make Filipinos realize the importance of thinking and connecting beyond digital means to their loved ones–whether that’s through typical ayuda like groceries and sweet treats, or through a handwritten letter. 

“I just wish for people to take time and reflect on their feelings,” she adds. “[I hope] they can make the receivers feel loved and appreciated, too, especially at a time when many Filipinos, for sure, are suffering from anxiety and social isolation.”


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