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So close, yet so far


Illustration by Louise Anog

Illustration by Louise Anog | @louiseanog

Long distance relationships (LDR) can be quite the commitment, so when the enhanced community quarantine came into effect, many young couples were surprised to find themselves in an LDR despite being in the same city. From the newly formed to the long term couples, Manila Bulletin Lifestyle talks to several young couples about how the quarantine has been affecting their relationship, and if they have any fun and creative dating activities and suggestions.

Erika and Takumi

Schoolmates since grade school, Erika and Takumi started dating in college. They have been together for five years. Both involved in the restaurant industry, they often video call when they are in the kitchen to mimic what it is like cooking for each other, although Erika confesses the calls can sometimes be silent as they focus on preparing the meals.

“Aside from the usual video calls and Messenger chats, we have gone on Animal Crossing dates,” said Erika. “Although I wish we were physically together, it’s a cute way of exploring islands and having fun. We’ve also tried Netflix Party to watch a series together, and the Houseparty app for games. He even tried to teach me DOTA, which was fun.”

Takumi and Erika on an e-date using the popular Switch game Animal Crossing New Horizons

Takumi and Erika on an e-date using the popular Switch game Animal Crossing New Horizons

Their dating activity suggestions under quarantine:

  • “Play games! Whether on Messenger, Instagram challenges, or Animal Crossing, it’s a great way to have fun and make each other smile.

  • “Watch a movie or a series you both enjoy so you have something to talk about, maybe even get into a fun and heated debate about it.

  • “I have seen people do video call workouts! You’re able to keep each other healthy during the enhanced community quarantine.”

Sophia and Kenley

“Honestly it hasn’t affected our relationship much, we just can’t do things together in person,” said Sophia. “We try to video call each other every day. Some days we are joined by friends and we play online games together. Since this relationship is quite new, it’s a good test if it will survive on communication alone. So far, we’re still together!”

Sofia and Kenley would constantly see each other via video calls

Sofia and Kenley would constantly see each other via video calls

Their dating activity suggestions under quarantine:

  • “Make video calls more fun on Facebook by using filters (don’t forget to take selfies)

  • “Play online games together, like JackBox, Houseparty,, and online boardgames

  • “Start a list of things you want to do together when quarantine is over.”

Erica and Ged

Erica and Ged have been together for almost six years, ever since they met in senior high school.

“It’s something really new to use because prior to this we used to see each other every day,” said Erica. “But we’re also just thankful that Facetime is there so we can communicate anytime we want. We also sometimes stay on FaceTime even when we’re doing different things. Nothing too creative but we have tried working out together and having dinner and wine through video calls.”

Illustration from Freepik

Illustration from Freepik

Their dating activity suggestions under quarantine:

  • “Bake cookies together, watch a movie together via Netflix party, have a date with a nice set up using vido call, and Animal Crossing or any other video game.”

Dale and Sandra

The two met in college after taking part in an ensemble role for their upperclassmen’s theater class. Dale courted Sandy for four years and they have been together for a year and four months to date.

“Both of us haven’t been in a long distance relationship, I guess that was the case until now,” Dale said. “Fact is, we haven’t physically seen and spent time with each other for so long outside that it feels like an LDR. Because of that we’d mostly do video calls daily where we do our normal activities like read the bible, or just sing songs together.”

Sandra and Dale on a date some time before the pandemic

Sandra and Dale on a date some time before the pandemic

Their dating activity suggestions under quarantine:

  • “Read with your partner. It’s not important if it’s a book or a story online. You can read the bible, or a love story on a website like Wattpad, even a horror story in Creepypasta.”

  • “Carry on with your common interests. Whether it’s making music, singing, painting, or cooking, doing the things that you both like and usually do brings a sense of normalcy to the relationship.”

Eric and Sunny

Joel Mchale Online Dating GIF by NETFLIX - Find & Share on GIPHY

While Eric and Sunny were classmates for a one semester on the third year of their college, it was only last year that the two really got to know each other and started dating. They have been going out for six months.

“Before the ECQ, we would go out at least once a week to see each other. We’d have dates as simple as getting coffee, going to movie houses, lounging at bookstores, or just hanging out in her pad or mine.” Eric intimates how he normally spends time with Sunny. “These days, we see each other more often through video calls, perhaps because both of us are working from home. The upside is we have more time to communicate,” the civil engineer added. “But, of course, there’s this lack of ‘physicality’ needed in any normal relationship.”

Their dating activity suggestions under quarantine:

  • “Sometimes we would drink together at night while on video call. We’d play drinking games, like this one game we came up with where we would watch certain videos online and take a shot of alcohol whenever quarantine or Covid-19 is mentioned or flashed on screen. What I’m trying to say is do whatever you think is ‘fun.’ What’s important is to just spend your time together, and that you keep safe.”

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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