Tuesday, December 7, 2021
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These 3 Filipinos Share How The Alert Level 2 Changed Their Life And Work

Yes to the gym and revenge travel, no to face-to-face meetings.

Now that the country’s capital has shifted to a more relaxed Alert Level 2 status, the gradual easing of quarantine measures has affected the lives of many who have been in home quarantines for more than a year. 

How did the relaxed protocols affect your life and work? Three people explain how they coped under stringent health guidelines, and the practices they plan to change—and keep—under looser measures.

Marjorie Duran | Vlogger, Mommy Marj, part-time HIIT coach

(Left) When gyms closed during the lockdown, Marj took her workouts outdoors. (Right) One advantage of exercising outdoors? Healthy sun exposure. (Photos courtesy of subject)

How did the pandemic and lockdowns affect your routine?

It affected me a lot because I have always been a regular at the gym. When the pandemic happened, I had no choice but to find other means to stay active. I resorted to running, which I honestly enjoyed.

However, wearing a facemask while running has proven to be a big challenge because it’s really hard to sustain proper breathing when wearing one. It is sustainable for the first few kilometers, but along the way, especially when the mask gets wet, I had to bring it down from time to time so I could breathe properly. (Read: Woman Behind Mommy Marj Vlog Shares Her Secret To Losing Pregnancy Pounds)

I also did home workouts during gym closures. Surprisingly, it worked for me despite the small space I have at home. So when not running, I would just do HIIT workouts, training for 30 minutes to an hour max.

While exercising indoors, Marj observes minimum health protocol like wearing a facemask. (Photo courtesy of subject)

What does Alert Level 2 mean for your workouts?

I did go back to the gym already. Upon the gym’s opening, I already renewed my membership. While I like my home workouts, it is still different to be in a place where I can focus and have access to proper equipment.

Joycelyn L. Buensalido | President and CEO, Buensalido PR and Communications 

One of the few times Buensalido PR and Communications held an in person event was during the launch of London-based fashion brand Cos last June at the SM Aura Premier in Taguig City. The team observed minimum health protocol during the event. (Photo courtesy of subject)

How did the pandemic and lockdowns affect your business?   

Business was affected, of course, because we had to give first and foremost priority to our team’s safety, health, and wellbeing.

Fortunately, even before the pandemic we had already discussed the possibility of some of us working from home. So the lockdowns just forced us to immediately implement a total work-from-home (WFH) arrangement for everyone‘s safety and we eventually got used to it. We gave up extra office space and maintained only the largest unit for our admin and finance people who had to go to the office alternately in order to do regular finance requirements like disbursements, billings, and collections.  From time to time, some of us would visit the office to handle urgent product distribution and deliveries, but all our meetings and “events” such as media conferences have been limited to online platforms for almost two years now.  We have all gotten used to meeting via Zoom or Google Meet and it does not look like we are ready to go back to face-to-face meetings just yet. (Read: 3 Opening Prayers for Virtual Meetings and Events)

We are so grateful that a few of our clients continued to require our services and we even acquired new ones in the middle of the pandemic. So we quickly learned to adapt to digital and technical executions and pivot our usual ways of working. 

PR practitioner Joy Buensalido (topmost, right) holds a Zoom meeting with executives from Makati Medical Center, a longtime client. (Photo courtesy of subject)

What does Alert Level 2 mean for your company? 

We are relieved that more movement is now allowed by Alert Level 2, but for the remaining months of 2021, we will opt to continue meeting clients online primarily until the first quarter of 2022 after everyone has gotten their booster shots. We have to make sure that the work environment will be predominantly safe again.

An Alcantara | Innkeeper, Casa San Pablo

Under Alert Level 2 status, guests at Casa San Pablo “can expect the same great food, cozy rooms, beautiful gardens, and Laguna hospitality. Plus, they can expect us to be vigilant about safety protocols,” says An Alcantara. (Photo from Casa San Pablo Facebook)

How did the pandemic and lockdowns affect Casa San Pablo?

The pandemic and lockdowns almost knocked us out of business. It cut the three legs we stand on—dining, accommodations, and events. While the quarantine levels lightened in between lockdowns, we were not allowed to go back to full operations. We were restricted to 30-50 percent capacity.

The restrictions forced us to reinvent our services. We went full steam into delivery (which we had not done before) and we converted our accommodations to boutique type with smaller occupancy. We also converted some of our bedrooms into private dining spaces, where guests could dine in their own safety bubble. We invested a lot on sanitation and safety protocols. We continued to stay in touch with our guests during the lockdowns through a vlog, which kept them updated on what we were doing to while they still had to stay away. We also used the time to train our staff for service (Read: LOOK: Toktok Delivery App to Launch in Metro Manila Soon)

Spacious guest areas bode for privacy as well as safety against the unseen virus. (Photos from Casa San Pablo Facebook)

What does Alert Level 2 mean for Casa San Pablo?

Alert Level 2 means guests at the cafe can already come back at 50 percent capacity. Significantly, it means we can already hold events. That’s a big deal since it’s really our events business that suffered the most. The biggest change is people are not as afraid to go out anymore. In fact, revenge travel is already raging.

People can expect the same great food, cozy rooms, beautiful gardens, and Laguna hospitality. Plus, they can expect us to be vigilant about safety protocols. We can have fun and stay safe.

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