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The first few days of the quarantine left me very very anxious and fearful—even if I knew this was bound to happen. But my anxiety was more for the most needy and most vulnerable whom I knew could be grossly affected economically. I really hope the government and the big private sector and global health organizations really do right by us and make decisions that serve the greater good not merely the few rich and powerful. It’s so easy to control the populace now because of this virus. This is what terrifies me. After a few days in lockdown, I’ve decided to relieve myself of this anxiety. I am a mother first of all. I need to teach and care for my family. So we are doing the simplest of things: practicing music, exercising, enjoying the sun and soil under our feet, cooking and eating together, making art, reading. I barely have time to Netflix or do my nails. I’m busier than ever! But happy and quietly busy. Not rushed busy. Not the kind of busy like I’m running on empty. It’s a busy that is unhurried and content and knows that tomorrow I can continue my work. It doesn’t all have to be done today. The most important is quality time to do inner work, and to spend with loved ones, and to show the frontliners that we care. That’s my work now. Not to be up to date with the news. I stopped bothering with that anymore starting this week.—HINDY WEBER TANTOCO Mother, farmer, designer

HINDY WEBER

Quarantine gives us artists time to pause and reflect on our life and styles. We need to root deeper and connect with earth’s divine spirit. The world now needs our imagination more than ever. Let us use our artistry to bring out the colors of hope, resilience, and oneness.—KUBLAI MILLAN Artist

KUBLAI MILLAN

We are quarantined here in Tali. Open air, sea, and sun. God is good. We’ve decided to go green and create a backyard veggie garden. We didn’t have soil so we even contemplated driving for an hour just to get some, going as far as securing a barangay clearance, only to discover an organic farm 10 minutes away. We all must go back to the basics, to create more food security for all. We must tend to Mother Nature. In just a few days we hear great changes happening already, from dolphins in the shores of Italy, clear skies over China, and swans on the Venice canals. Overpopulation and pollution, that was what the earth was yelling out to all of us. God knows how long this is to go on. I wish I could find ways to work from home and monetize but right now it’s keeping well and safe that matters most. I miss my kids though. My family is dispersed all over the world. A realization too that we were designed for and designated to the exact place at this exact moment. We’ve been through quite a few calamities together—the tsunami, Hurricane Sandy, a big snow storm in 2010 in New York, but now we are each alone and quarantined. My faith is even stronger now. I can take so much more of what my senses can absorb and appreciate, being in the moment. The best things, I realize, are to burp, to fart, to sneeze, to yawn with all out hearts, and finally to breathe, to see, smell, feel, touch, hear. Everything. And take in all the beauty that the planet has given us and to never ever take any of it for granted.—CHERIE GIL ArtistCHERIE GIL

For me, the community quarantine has allowed for some space, room to breathe, and much time to reflect. As someone who has worked in media for many years, I had gotten so accustomed to interaction, and I love every beat and every conversation. Since the quarantine began, my headspace began to clear and I got to thinking.
Uncertain times hold within them the power to bring out the best and the worst in people. Yet, every single person has within them the power to choose what kind of person he or she presents to the world. Even if we don’t know what next month, or even next week, would look like, every day we have a choice—and I choose to see, to believe in, and to be the good in this world.
It is a pity how it seems these reflections may arise only during dire times such as now. Regardless, it is a realization that I hold dear and close to my heart. When this is over, when we as a nation and a community have weathered this storm, I hope by then we would have grown to be stronger, kinder, and more compassionate human beings to one another. I hope we all walk forward knowing that life is what we make it, and every moment we have a choice to lead one that is well-lived, full of love and joy, and ultimately good for all.—RAUL MANZANO Editor in Chief, Metro SocietyRAUL MANZANO

I find that my thoughts and my frame of mind change every day. Every day, something new happens that triggers a different part of my brain. Maybe I have just not been left to my own thoughts for so long that this all feels foreign to me.
My thoughts  are split between the past and the future, trying to decide which is more important.
Things have changed. I have never checked on my parents, friends, and extended family more than the last couple of days I’m hoping no matter the outcome, once this all blows over, I will continue to be in the habit of this.
I am also aware—and continue to become more aware–that being able to contemplate life this way comes from a place of privilege and that is something I think I will continue to check myself for.—SAM SEWELL Associate producer, GMG ProductionsSAM SEWELL

I used to go out every night before Covid-19. Life was beautiful, spent with family and friends!
Since the outbreak, even if I have not been in contact with a carrier nor do I have any symptoms, I have been on house arrest, without contact with anyone. I do my work through phone calls and Viber messages.
Although it is not what we are used to, I feel this is the responsible thing to do to avoid spreading the virus further. I hope everyone will do the same.
Let’s have solidarity during this crisis and let our doctors, volunteers, and other experts continue their work with the people who are infected. Let us help in every way we can not to increase the number of confirmed cases and carriers by simply being responsible.—TINA CUEVAS Executive director, Sulo Hotel RivieraTINA CUEVAS

The self-quarantine has radically shifted my way of thinking and what I give importance to. It also made me take stock of my life and my views of the world. It has definitely made me more hopeful in God, that he alone can take us out of this crisis. I hope, when this is all over, that we would realize that it’s the simpler things that are more important and we don’t go back to being so self-involved and always putting ourselves first. I hope we will be more grateful, kinder, more selfless. I pray this for myself and for everyone else. Keep the faith!—ANTON SAN DIEGO Editor in Chief, Philippine TatlerANTON SAN DIEGO

I was indisposed just before the lockdown so my doctor put me on a 14-day solitary quarantine. Staying home is not my norm but it gave me time to reflect on what I could do to alleviate the lives of people affected by the enhanced community quarantine. I discussed with CCP president Arsenio J. Lizaso and we decided to grant a a one-month rental reprieve to our lessees provided they financially assist their employees who have been affected by their temporary closure. I spent time reading the DOLE declarations and informed the resident companies of the CCP of the safety nets affected artists and production staff can avail of. I started reading a new book and had time to read Revelations and pray for my health and that of my family, for our country, and for the safety of the whole world.—MARGIE MORAN Chair, Cultural Center of the PhilippinesMARGIE MORAN

The biggest challenge for me during this time is staying calm and not succumbing to bouts of panic and fear. I’ve always considered myself a calm, level-headed person, but when we live in isolation, deprived of social connection and physical activity, our mental health is almost immediately at stake. Since the announcement of the community quarantine, which unraveled in a span of three days, I had to make the difficult decision, like many, of staying in isolation rather than going back to my parents’ house or living with my sister to ease my own distress. This constant conditioning of the mind, as well as somehow learning how to live with a certain level of constant discontent, unease, and fear of uncertainty, has become an everyday struggle for me. I try to filter information I gather daily, guard my thought process, and stay connected with those whose form of level-headed reasoning I can always count on. This experience is teaching me to heal, to look inward, and to care for others. I look forward coming out of this with renewed strength—mentally and spiritually, with gratefulness in my heart for all the little things I have taken for granted in my everyday life.—MONIQUE MADSEN Fashion editor, Philippine Tatler26815082_10155516291217669_9084300707583834023_n6999504627634721791

Covid-19 has shifted my perspective a lot. I’ve been talking  about food security and sustainability for years should the Big One happen, but this pandemic is something I never imagined. It made me face my mortality and that of my family in such a significant way. I fell helpless (but at least not hopeless). I’m rethinking a lot of things right now, of maybe moving out of Manila and starting a farm. Well, everything is uncertian for now. It’s scary, really scary.—MIKE TATUNG ChefMYKE TATUNG

What I’ve learned while on quarantine so far:
That I am no longer afraid of death, that you should always put your life in order—relationships, finances, wishes—so that you can go anytime.
That I should say I love you to my wife and my kids all the time just in case those are the last words I speak to them.
That life is short and that I should try to do something meaningful during my time here.—YARI MIRALAO President, Batangas Clean EnergyYARI MIRALAO

I think we are in the midst of seeing the best and worst of humanity all at once. I feel like this whole pandemic has forced people to confront who they are and what their place in the world is at a very stripped down, mundane level. We are being forced to appreciate every single thing that we have taken for granted: The extreme level of privilege we have as people with homes, family, even staff. Food security. Entertainment systems. Space. Pets to play with. Sunlight. Streets to walk down. Fresh coffee.
What is oddly beautiful about this situation is that I think it has brought people closer together.
Emotions are running high. Many are spending less time trying to play it cool and more time reaching out to one another as we all grasp for slivers of hope, joy, support.
Others have chosen an alternate path: They have chosen to tear down others on social media whom they have never even met. There is someone close to me who unjustly became a punching bag for people frustrated with their own circumstance, and it breaks my heart.
Everyone is suffering in their own way. Some of us are hit much harder, yes, but at a time like this I think we must all lift each other up, not drag each other down.
Every day, I wake up, have coffee, and sit with my thoughts in a way I normally don’t. It’s been five days, but to me it feels like five weeks, and I am struck with the fear that this will last for what will feel like five years.
I love to be out in the world, to feel people and energy and noise, and I miss it almost more than I need to breathe. I hold on to the thought of just how incredibly grateful we will be when we go back into the world. We have been reminded of what it means to be free, to love, to live.
If there is one thing Covid-19 has shown us, it is that everything that makes the human experience so beautiful can be so quickly taken away.—NIKKI HUANG
Student, columnist, Manila Bulletin Lifestyle

NIKKI HUANG (with sister Bellee)

Nikki with sister Belle

 

 



Source: Manila Bulletin

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