Lockdown diaries: Safest place is home, and most important is family | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Manix Abrera’s self-portrait

(Ninth in a series)

Randy Ortiz: With no Zumba classes, the fashion designer now gets his workout on the elliptical machine

Randy Ortiz, fashion designer

Lockdown is an experience that has caused me so much fear and uncertainty. When it was announced, I was still doing last-minute fittings with a few clients, a couple of production meetings with my team, and last-minute errands for my own personal needs, including canceling my vacation with my siblings to the US. I was also preoccupied with my employees’ salaries and how to extend our assistance to them.

We had a “social distancing” lunch with a few fashion friends when the community quarantine was just beginning.
The first three days were quite a difficult transition for me, because my typical day revolves around my job, which I am very passionate about.

Last year and early this year, I was so busy with the custom orders and doing the pop-up retail collection on the side with my siblings, which became my day-to-day routine. I have never prayed so hard in my life (that’s an understatement). I’m doing a lot of spiritual activities online just to appease myself and stay calm amid this crisis.

I sleep late because of movies/Netflix, but I still make sure to get enough sleep.

I already started my spring cleaning and decluttering even way before the lockdown. So far I’m done with my cabinet, my chaotic bedroom and work area.

I exercise on the elliptical machine every day, since I can’t do Zumba classes. Preparing the daily menu is a major activity (trying to be healthy) and managing my meds for my diabetes; lots of veggies, fish and minimal meat, wheatgrass, lemon, apple cider, fresh ginger tea and megadoses of vitamin C have been a daily ritual.

I sleep next to my sketch pad, as usual. I watch basically all fashion videos and a lot of feel-good movies/series, including Korean dramas. I’m not so much into social media, but I still do Messenger and Viber once in a while, and a few group chats.

I’m more active in our family chat.

Recently, I started making masks out of scrap fabrics with my stay-in staff, who are nonsewers, as a home project, which enabled us to donate a few to a nearby hospital in Quezon City. They’re also for our staff’s, protective nonmedical grade masks for home use.

Manix Abrera’s self-portrait

Manix Abrera, comics creator

Stay at home kami lagi, haha. Nakatutok ako ngayon sa pagdo-drawing ng “Kikomachine” strips for Inquirer, ang topics ay quarantine at lockdown and yung pag-cope at ginagawa ng mga tao sa current situation; and “News Hardcore” strips (for GMA News Online) na ang topics ay ganoon din. Family bonding time kami madalas buong umaga. Buong gabi hanggang past midnight usually ang drawing time ko (after manood ng news, haha). May tinatapos din akong special na “Bertong Badtrip” comic book ngayong panahon.

Andee de Guzman-Que, advertising and public relations manager, Rustan Commercial Corp.

The lockdown has given me the chance to focus on myself and my family. My usual weekday routine before the quarantine was to get up at 6 a.m. to have enough time to get ready for work, drive about an hour and a half to Makati, arriving at work at 9 a.m. I usually clocked out at 7 p.m. and with luck, I got home at 8:30 p.m. earliest.

I have two kids—a 4-year-old daughter and a 6-month-old son. Ordinarily, I barely get to spend time with them on workdays, which is why I devote my weekends to bond with them both, as well as with my husband.

The threat of COVID-19 has really put a lot of things into perspective. It has shown me that at the end of the day, the safest place on Earth is my home and the most important thing in life is family.

Right now, I still work from home 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. but I’m able to take breaks in between to cuddle my little butterball, Jackson. I have lunch daily with my family and after 6 p.m., I can cook dinner for my husband and daughter.

Andee Que’s daughter Robyn, 4, shows off her artworks.

My girl, Robyn, enjoys coloring so that’s what we do after dinner. Together, we make cards for her friends, for front-liners, and she recently made notes of encouragement that were given to less fortunate families in Quezon City, accompanied by care packages from her school.

On days that I have more time, I work out. Having just given birth a few months ago, it is so good to finally find time to love myself and care for my health.

All that sweating sort of goes down the drain, though, because my daughter loves baking cookies, brownies and cupcakes. So far, we’ve baked at least once or twice a week. Yesterday, we made enough chocolate muffins to share with the security guards of our village. I also cooked extra pasta last night, which we shared with them as well.

The real heroes of our lives are those who help keep us fed, cared for and secure. There are a lot of independent causes right now which benefit these people. I try to support what I can, even in the smallest way, to show appreciation for their efforts and sacrifices.

Danica Valdes Lloren, general manager, Visions & Expressions

Nearing a month in ECQ (enhance community quarantine), and I’m surprised that I haven’t watched most of the Korean dramas and movies on my list. Nowadays it’s really about quality time with my almost 4-year-old son, Zimri, and my husband, Struther.

We’re living in this extraordinary time that’s filled with worries and uncertainties so I try not to entertain negative thoughts as much as I can kasi nakakabaliw talaga! But from another perspective, we know that this long pause from the usual hustle and bustle will not happen again (we hope), so I focus my energy on all the good around me.

I try not to pressure myself to be productive at all times. I find joy in my ordinary day—making breakfast for the family, unlocking new recipes, reading a story to my son, playing Avengers, PJ Masks and all his other favorites, Netflix and chill (wholesome ha! lol) with the husband; organizing closets, drawers and computer files; and the list goes on. Before bedtime, my son and I would talk about random things and I’m amazed at all the topics he will bring up.

I also make sure to have alone time for my sanity, which usually includes a virtual skincare and depuffing routine, and an e-numan session with my friends.

Lesley Anne Tan: “My goal is to cheer people up, by sharing easy, nonintimidating recipes.”

Lesley Anne Tan, marketing consultant and former hotelier

Since January, I had been closely monitoring the news on COVID-19, and had a sinking feeling that my travel plans would be upended. I was set to return to Singapore on the first week of April to lead a global communications campaign, and before that, a quick jaunt to Italy for a vacation. But when every news headline and email subject was sounding the same alarm, it was difficult not to get caught up in collective despair.

It’s ironic that it took this crisis to make me give up my fastidiousness and finally start to learn the simple joy of letting each day go by. I used to always have full days planned with appointments, meetings and errands, and decompressing would mean cooking and entertaining at home. During the first two weeks of the enhanced community quarantine, I was initially off-tangent, listlessly absorbing the news, binge-watching Netflix and Amazon Prime shows, wallowing in my pajamas and participating in open-ended commentaries on private chat groups. It felt like a breakup, a deep-seated heartache that felt like failure.

By the time the second presidential press conference aired, I had burst into tears and started making pancake batter past midnight. As I was cracking eggs and whisking furiously, I realized that while I couldn’t control what was going on around me, I could manage what was going on inside me. It is important that while we all cope in different ways, I could do it in a more positive, productive manner.

I am grateful that my fiancé anchors me whenever sadness and anxiety tide me over, and he enjoys eating everything I cook. We pray every night, sometimes with my prayer group from a Holy Land pilgrimage last year, but always with each other, including setting a daily gratitude list. My core group of friends helps a lot, too. We check up on one another every day, and process our feelings through video calls that go on for hours, usually with wine glasses and snacks at hand. During a particularly charged evening when the conversation topic was about how to keep our heads above water, I shared an image of my fluffy pancake, joking that I was putting all my feelings into it, and they told me that since we have so much time now, I should compile my recipes and share them.

That flicked a switch in my head. I had been a professional marketer and an editor in the past, and those experiences were driven from my passion for storytelling. This time, I can connect passion with purpose, because cooking somehow is sharing a story as well—conveying how much I care about my loved ones through a primordial instinct—that is, feeding and being fed, sustaining relationships by nourishing the mind and body, and vice versa. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to embrace this wholeheartedly? I was already sharing cooking-related stories in my private social media account; why not take it public and post recipes in a blog?

Building initial content and setting up the www.LesCookMore.com website took less than two days, including going live. I credit this speediness to my hotelier marketing days, when multiple projects had only one-day leads and an expected 24-hour turnaround. As I was checking photo quality, jotting down measurements and methods, designing a logo and site layout, selecting typography and color palette, encoding tracking links, testing keywords, and ensuring posts were concise and grammatically correct, I started feeling more alive … and back to being myself. Funny how I am recreating my old marketing workload, but applying it to a personal project.

I am by no means trying to gloss over the somber reality the coronavirus has cast over the world. What I do know is that I can manage my reactions and merge both my skills and passion into something useful.

Amid this upheaval, I found a way to allow all those different parts of me: the analytical, the creative, the nurturing, the exacting, to coexist with one another.

Since launching LesCookMore.com this week, family, friends and industry colleagues have sent messages of support and encouragement. Website visits and subscription notifications are growing, including contributions and requests for more recipes. My goal is to cheer people up, by sharing easy, nonintimidating recipes with one another that can be shared and recreated while staying at home, and after this quarantine is lifted. The website is of course a work in progress, and it has given me a renewed sense of purpose.

Rima Ostwani twinning—tripleting?—with her kids Adriana and Matteo

Rima Ostwani, model and mom of two

I have two young kids—Adriana who is 3 and Matteo who is turning 2. We’ve been reading books and doing fun learning activities together. I make sure to keep the learning part fun especially for Adriana so she continues to enjoy it at home. Of course, they’ve been playing a lot together, coloring, painting and doing little house chores like cleaning their table and chair, their toys and packing away. We also try doing simple healthy snack recipes together.

After a few weeks of just being in pajamas, I’ve recently gotten into wearing twinning outfits with Adriana on some days, just for fun. I look into what she and I have in our closets that can be matchy and we dress up. We even include Matteo sometimes! I also like dressing them up and taking their photo. It has become the new normal since we can’t go out. I know these photos will be a nice memory to look back at years from now. Oh, and we’ve been potty training Matteo—such perfect timing!

As for me, I’ve been putting effort to workout more and do mat Pilates to stay active. This is in addition to having my two kids who definitely keep me active! I’ve also been on a cleaning and organizing spree and it feels so good to declutter and discover things that I forgot I had and finally use things that have just been stashed away.

I’ve also never watched Netflix this much. I was never into watching TV but thanks to his quarantine, I finally get to watch some nice series and be able to relate to friends!

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