(22nd in a series)
Pinky Amador, theater/film actor
The enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) has been one massive (overextended?) creative exercise for me, with activities ranging from the mundane to the esoteric: discovering new recipes with available ingredients, doing cleanouts, “COVID fitness” Zoom classes, reorganizing spaces for music, video files and scripts, learning new meditations, connecting with former colleagues, praying more, attending amazing webinars on creative coaching, unlocking the millennial code, storytelling, pivoting your business and digitalization.
I am grateful it has given me time to focus on my start-up, Amador Creative Concepts, which champions cultural projects for social responsibility and development goals. More importantly, it gave me the opportunity to collaborate with other artists for a cause: Lav Diaz’s “Himala: Isang Diyalektika ng Ating Panahon” for Lockdown Cinema Club’s displaced film workers; “Umagang Kay Ganda” for the Actors’ Welfare Fund; new concepts like CAST PH’s “A Matter of Husbands” audio recording on Spotify; and my online Acting Masterclass.
I am hoping that we can ramp up free mass testing to guide the easing of the ECQ; that people realize the essential role of artists in shaping the “new normal”; and that we support narratives that encourage, uplift and create empathy. Because at the end of the day, we must all emerge as better human beings. —Pocholo Concepcion
‘I hope it will translate to how people will choose the country’s next leader’
Noel Cabangon, singer-songwriter
I have been doing a lot of household chores and errands, since I am the assigned person in the family with the quarantine pass. I have also found time to read books, and to really sit down to finish the songs for my new album.
I am not social media savvy. But with the ECQ, we were able to set up a small sound system for our virtual gigs, for the various fundraisers that my son and I were into. Since the ECQ started, I’ve had six virtual performances.
I hope the developed world will find the cure to this menace, so that we can all go back to our normal lives. I know that it won’t be the same again, our way of life will definitely change, but we need to go back to work so we can sustain our lives and our families.
There are a lot of lessons and revelations from this pandemic, and I hope the people are learning a lot from this experience. I hope it will translate to how they will choose the next leader of this country. —Pocholo Concepcion
‘Only things that matter are old-fashioned values’
Chickoy Pura, singer-songwriter
I have strict rules for going out because of my preexisting condition, which is cancer of the skin. I have joined fellow musicians in performances online. Also, we tried reaching out to other people who are in need, as well as those willing to help.
As I write this, the world hasn’t seen the light at the end of the tunnel, and the only option seems to be to get down on one’s knees and pray. If ever we get to the end of this in one piece, I think we should do some soul-searching. All the material things that humanity has aspired to are meaningless. The only things that matter are the old-fashioned values that our parents taught us—faith in God, our sense of justice, principles and the nonnegotiable dignity in each one of us. I’m sure there’s more, but the point is that we are our brother’s and sister’s keeper and we should take a stand in defending these principles.
Before this pandemic, we were in the middle of a struggle against a tyrant. If there’s any expectation after this plague, I think we should gather our courage and make some changes. Restore respect for human rights. Give justice to the oppressed. Make all government officials accountable for their actions. And give thanks to the medical professionals and essential workers that shepherded us through this crisis. By the grace of God almighty, we will pull through. —Pocholo Concepcion