What are your ECQ accomplishments?

Let’s look at the bright side. Much of our wishes have been granted: the long weekend, with indefinite extension; sleep in like it was the day off work– everyday; tidy the closet, which lead to cleaning the entire house; finish the book by the bedside—and the other books in the library; finish a Koreanovela – and getting addicted to several others. We have so much time on our hands. Let’s be productive. Whatever talents we (re)discover, we’ll come out of this quarantine as gold medalists of whatever trade. 

I asked a few Davaoeños, “What have you accomplished during the enhance community quarantine?”

Caroline Taojo. I have been a full time housewife and mother all my married life, so this quarantine fray doesn’t entail much of a big change if at all.  In between prayer and reflection, and keeping myself updated with Covid19, I have picked up the brush and occupied most of my mornings with honing my acrylic painting.  Some hours are meant for books. Now I’m reading “Below the Line,” the hilarious travails of a theatre actress from the ground up, into film. 

Kay Gempesaw finds serenity when painting; Caroline Taojo hones her painting skills

Kay Gempesaw. Going back to painting at this time is like a form of meditation for me. During the time that I paint, I am absorbed with what I’m doing, and all my anxieties disappear leaving with a sense of calm after. I usually take out the brush and paper after lunch.

Boo Maramba. Our business falls on the “essential” category, so I work in the mornings. With extra on my hands after work, I’m back to handling the rolling pin and baking pans again. I gave up my baking business in 2011, but it’s nice to bake a few of my personal favorites, which I shared with my friends. It’s only during this ECQ too that finally got to open the “connect the dots” book and play, a gift from my sister. 

Booboo Maramba is back to baking for her family and friends, and Nikki Honasan satisfies her sweet tooth by baking

Nikki Honasan. The truth? The moment they announced the lockdown in Siargao I started craving for sweets and chocolates that I know I could not find on the island. So, ta-da! Turns out, a lot of people have been getting the same cravings. And because so many places here have closed and the café is one of the few establishments that are open, we’ve become a go to place for homemade snacks and dessert. Our cookies and loaf cakes are a hit, alongside our health tonics and smoothie bowls. 

Otoy Mercado. I started my piano lessons since I was seven then it ended when I started high school, since then on I played the piano once in a while. Since we’re in a lockdown I ended up with nothing much to do at home so I might as well brush on my little knowledge in dabbling with the ebony and ivory keyboard. Well, after doing my other domestic chores.

Chari Gavino puts her green thumb to work; Otoy Mercado brushes up on his piano skills

Chari Gavino. It’s always like work from home for me having the school in the same compound where I live. But during this ECQ and the absence of household help, I’m back to being domesticated and a full time homemaker again. I do the laundry, grocery, cleaning. But what’s most fulfilling is I got my green thumb on work mode work again. Gardening gives me a sense of peace and the patches of green around my home makes the place so refreshing. I love plants but I don’t really have a big garden. 

Nikki Tan. I got back to cooking and planning our meals without the constraint of other commitments or having to leave the house at an appointed time. It is the kind of cooking where the preparation isn’t rushed and the mise en place can be done properly. I missed trying out new recipes and maximizing what’s in our pantry.  

Nikki Tan is back to cooking and planning family meals without rushing through it; Jay Sison turns to cooking for the family to keep himself “sane”

Jay Sison. Having an office at home allows me to work. I do my boxing workout sans my coach but with the aid of YouTube and contribute in our house choirs. But what keeps me busy and sane is cooking for my family. This has always been my secret passion. At present I cook on what’s available in the refrigerator or what’s about to expire because at this point in time its about food sustainability. Food creativity is secondary because we should not waste food during this ECQ. 

Mimi Tupas. I’ve been cooking plant-based for my family for a time now, but I never took pantry essentials this seriously, until this very extraordinary time. I prioritized stocking on the essentials at the onset of the lockdown: nuts, grains, legumes, seeds, dry spices. Tofu and mushrooms are our ‘meat’ and source of protein. We press our own nut milk and make our own spreads, bread and sauces. I took this quarantine as a chance to practice doing more plant based recipes at home. We managed to rotate a month’s worth of creatively done, economical, nutrient-dense dishes.

Mimi Tupas gets a chance to create more pant-based recipes; Monette Cutler keeps herself fit by doing zumba

Monette Cutler. Does downloading all free books on kindle count? Lots of authors offering their books for free and am taking advantage. My to-read book list is getting longer by the hour. 

I did my Mari Kondo stint and gave away our excess to those who may need it, trying out online zumba, pero hirap to stay in shape, and I’m back to cooking. My husband and I stopped cooking when the kids left for Manila.

Also published in the SunStar Davao newspaper.

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