Over half a year has passed since quarantine evolved from just the latest buzzword in scientific circles to being the new social reality of Filipino life in the COVID-19 era. To flatten the curve and save lives, Pinoys have adapted to the new normal of staying indoors, observing social distancing, and shifting to digital technologies for needs and transactions. While some have used their newfound free time in the lockdown for relaxation and personal improvement, others, especially the brave frontliners, face a fight for survival in the wake of disappearing jobs, trying to make ends meet.
True to the country’s innate spirit of resilience. However, Filipino life is slowly but surely adapting to the changes that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought upon our noisy and lively cities, thriving vacation spots, daily routines, public lives, methods of learning, favourite TV and online shows, and many more.
Perhaps it’s because of the fast pace of modern society used to take up all of one’s time for exercise and recreation, or the people being inspired by TikTok to practice dancing and physical fitness. But either way, many Filipinos are capitalizing on the quarantine for their passions, hobbies, and family, as well as plain and simple rest.
For example, many households that had started growing plants like tomatoes or okra in April enjoyed their first harvests in June or early July, giving moms and kids a workout in their gardens. It’s almost certain that many Filipinos became better cooks throughout this pandemic as well.
Early in the pandemic, the affordability of streaming services like Netflix and iflix and the pivot to online interactions enticed many Filipinos with Korean and Thai dramas, anime, reality TV, and more.
Although it can be for good or bad, no job and no school means no extra workload, giving many tired Filipinos a chance to sleep eight hours a night. Lifestyle changes like sufficient sleep and a shift to nutritious homemade meals also help build up everyone’s immune systems.
Protective Public Protocols
As much as Pinoys wants to go out, the threat of COVID-19 infection has mostly limited how long and often one can travel and move around outside their homes.
Facemasks and face shields are absolute necessities, designed to filter and block SARS-COV-2 particles from entering the airways. Security guards dutifully take temperatures and spritz alcohol in places of transaction. Makeshift barriers made of plastic now divide cubicles and office space to minimize exposure to particles in the air.
Essential workers in offices, shops, and markets have to provide for their families in these trying times. Unfortunately, not every employee or enterprise is keeping afloat. Many businesses and their jobs closed down throughout the pandemic season. While challenging, some business owners and workers have branched out into alternate income streams. Online marketplaces and digital assignments abound for many Filipinos, letting them pick up valuable new skills in technology, marketing, and networking. One can also notice the rise of small-scale, made-to-order food services from the cooks in one’s neighbourhood.
There’s also the matter of Filipinos adapting social functions like fiestas, birthdays, and weddings to COVID-19 standards. Typical Pinoy gatherings often include much of one’s extended family and can reach a whole community, but social distancing and quarantine have drastically limited the number of attendees. Relatives have to do with video calls and live streaming and sending gifts and food through express delivery. Though this means events this year are much quieter, the spirit of celebration keeps burning in everyone’s hearts.
As Christmas season starts to unfold, the thoughtful lyrics of Jose Mari Chan’s holiday hits will pass through quiet halls as Filipinos count on the blessings in a year of hardship and wait earnestly for the end of the global crisis.
Hiccups in Online Learning
Online learning has become the national standard for education during the pandemic. The youth have started getting used to teleconferencing apps like Zoom and online classrooms such as Schoology, Edmodo, and Canva.
Due to the relative newness of digital schooling, however, students and teachers alike have learned to get a little creative and flexible with how they use their new medium. Synchronous meetings, where students join a live meeting with their professors, can include regular discussions, demonstrations, and tours. Asynchronous sessions allow Pinoy learners to study and take quizzes at their own time. Deadlines can range from generous to punishing.
Regardless, the Filipino response to COVID-19 in education is clear: Not even slow internet speeds and unreliable connections can stop Pinoy students from finishing their studies.
Classes for Academic Year 2020-2021 started as early as last August for some private schools. The Department of Education has slated the opening date for public schools on 5 October.
Despite what Filipinos have been through with this pandemic, Filipinos have remained resilient, optimistic, and hopeful. Stay Strong Philippines, and We’ll get through this! We’re on this together.