With countless lives lost or deeply affected by this pandemic, COVID-19 is simply not something to be celebrated. This much is clear.
This is exactly why in the face of this massive cloud that affects us all, we Filipinos try to find the so-called silver lining behind being placed under the longest lockdown in the entire world, yet having far from spectacular results to show for it.
Here now are 8 of those silver cloud linings — cold comfort as they may be to some of us.
8. We’ve proven that Filipinos are far from “pasaway.”
When we wonder why everyone is suddenly out and at it today, we realize it’s not because the Filipino in general has no regard for rules, but it’s because they’re allowed to be out and about.
Yes, of course, there will always be people who think they are above the rules, but the data shows that we as a whole have more discipline than our self-evaluation would care to admit. It’s just too bad that being “obedient” is just one thing a country needs to beat this pandemic, and we don’t exactly have everything else.
7. We’ve realized there’s a different way to work.
WFH became necessary for a lot of industries thanks to the lockdown, and it’s an experiment that has proven somewhat successful. Some companies may never look back even after this pandemic is over, having realized that their employees are perfectly capable of thriving once you remove their daily 2-4 hour commute from the equation. For years, the Philippines has been losing billions in pesos due to loss of productivity while in traffic. WFH may have not completely solve this problem, but it clearly helps. Massively.
6. We’ve discovered that fads and bandwagons aren’t all that bad.
Dalgona coffee. Plantitos and plantitas. Sourdough bread. Ube cheese bread. Sushi bake. These are just some of the things that became popular during quarantine, and they will forever be part of a generation’s childhood memories.
5. Some of us discovered our voice.
Some people became nearly overnight celebrities thanks to the pandemic. Whether via podcasting or Tik Tok, it’s undeniable that there are more voices in the online marketplace of ideas than ever. People like Macoy Dubs, podcasts like The Kool Pals — all of these point towards a broadening of horizons that our extra time in has allowed us to embark on.
4. A lot of us are surprisingly healthier.
It turns out, wearing masks everywhere you go is one of the easiest ways to prevent catching the common cold. Who knew? Well, most medical experts did, and it turns out, some of us are never looking back from wearing masks not because we live in fear but because we actually like how much better we feel being protected by one.
3. We learned to embrace e-commerce.
Remember how resistant the Philippine market seemed to going digital? Why would they buy things online when there was always that fear of your credit card getting hacked, or a host of other horror stories involving e-commerce? Well, being forced to stay indoors meant we had to rely on making quite a few purchases online, and we discovered it wasn’t as difficult as we were led to believe. Lazada, Shopee, and even Grab deliveries made things so much easier for us while people began to appreciate the value of contactless payments as powered by G-Cash, PayMaya, and others.
2. We’re now ready for whatever comes next.
Are they reintroducing us to MECQ? Not that we’re happy about this, but bring it on! We’re prepared, we’re unflappable, and we’re resilient.
But we also know that despite all that, we deserve better, because…
1. We have learned to look at things more critically.
Anecdotal? Yes. But a lot of us have had to contend with our long-held beliefs being challenged by the pandemic and the lockdown. As we “celebrate” being in an entire year of this, we realize that some of our sacred cows were not-so-sacred after all. Cancel culture may have a bad reputation, but all it means is that we now understand that our actions have consequences — consequences those who are more powerful than us have always ignored, but now find it more difficult to.
A good chunk of us now do look a gift horse in the mouth, and it’s that level of critical thinking that will hopefully allow us to finally take down the idols we’ve created of celebrities and authorities and ourselves, all held aloft by denial and wishful thinking.
What are your silver linings from the quarantine?