Cheers to a prosperous 2023!

What we all hoped to be a pivotal year that was 2022, it’s proven to be even more problematic as we continue to navigate through the pandemic. We can go outdoors without face masks now but most of us got too used to it that we can’t go out without protective gear and a bottle of alcohol spray. Businesses that survived the lockdowns and restrictions of the past two years may have gone almost back to normal but with the skyrocketing inflation rates and recession scare, mass layoffs still happened here and there. The prospects of a better new year seem to be pretty farfetched. The pandemic and all these economic woes affecting the world may have discouraged us adding to the uncertainties but the same taught us to be resilient and hopeful. I mean we all thought we can’t make it past 2020, we struggled but still, here we are excited about 2023! It may sound like we’ll need to overcome the impossible, but there are of course opportunities to be financially prepared and thrive.

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The gym versus the books

It’s the first week of 2022 and aside from the spike in COVID-19 infections, thus the expected return of quarantine restrictions, there’s a soaring demand for or lack of vegetables in the market, at least in our area. It’s as if we all got tired of reheating leftover food and suddenly have this weird craving for healthier meals. Anything that’s not grilled, or sauced, or sweet. The veggies, perhaps a prelude to our seemingly unending journey to lose the weight we gained from the past holiday binging. Or the gym that we’re not really fond of signing up to but go to anyway to prep up for summer. And why can’t we get our old waistline back just by lounging and reading books?

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Running versus jogging

Running versus jogging? What fits your fitness journey.

I miss running at night after work. Back then pre-pandemic, no matter how busy my day was, I’d make it a point to run at least 30 minutes at the park near my office as soon as my schedule’s clear. When friends or colleagues ask at which gym I go to, I’d joke that mine was big but free and round and have lots of greeneries. Now two years into the pandemic, I invested in a watch for health though I have not done any running outdoors. Instead, I’ve been casually doing quick jogs at home with a treadmill. Now given the circumstances, how can we best improve our cardiovascular fitness?

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Getting by

It’s getting tougher each passing day. As in the photo, it’s like praying for the heavy rainfall to stop and urging the sun to come out because the rusty, leaking roof can’t take it anymore and will break your house anytime. The irony that is life. We’ve been dealing with the pandemic for over a year now. How many times have you heard somebody say “COVID is real!” Perhaps they got sick and hospitalized and lost a loved one, or among those who believed the virus and the vaccines to be a hoax or scam. You’d think you’re lucky you haven’t caught it yet and still alive. Unfortunate that the new variants of the COVID-19 virus are now widespread, causing the health statistics to get broken again and lockdowns becoming the usual, vicious remedy. And our social feeds becoming an online obituary is not exactly helping.

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Respite and repeat

The Nintendo Switch Neon

Every Friday when work’s done, I look forward to a weekend of rest and spending more time with my family. A respite from my somewhat strict daily routine that I stick to since I started working for my new company. On repeat for the past several months now, while I have yet to get used to wearing a face mask the whole day and the occasional face shield when going to public places. I’m not complaining though, I’m thankful that I have work and enjoy what I do. And whenever I’m home and my wife’s busy tending to her plants, that’s my cue to grab my Nintendo Switch and play for an hour or two of my favorite games.

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The daily huddle versus the pandemic

MRT ride during the pandemic by CC Lozano

Grateful to have landed a job last year after months of search in the midst of the global pandemic and I have since been working full time. By that, I mean physically going to and fro my office on weekdays as the work-from-home arrangement is not a viable and practicable option in the new company I’m working with. With prior experience working remotely, albeit a short stint, I thought remote work wasn’t for me having spent most of my career on business operations or “where the action is” and well, I was actually missing the usual face-to-face work routine or what I call the daily huddle.

So yes, while everyone seems to want to work at home, I went versus the new normal and have been braving the daily drive or commute to work while still under the pandemic. All’s well so far but that’s not to say there weren’t any hiccups. And especially now that we’ve been struggling for over a year now and have yet to recover from the recurring quarantines, with the new COVID-19 variants crossing borders, delays in vaccine availability and inoculation, and the soaring numbers in new cases. You’re crazy to want to go outside!

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Being the “alay” or tribute of the family

Queueing during the pandemic lockdown by CC Lozano

It was mid-March of 2020 when the first lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic was announced in Metro Manila. Days prior to the announcement I was nervously busy going out and about to prep up for the stay-at-home restrictions. Aside from ensuring we have enough supply of alcohol, disinfectant, and face masks, which by then were hard to find and with unbelievably high prices, I went out to stock up on food and a mix of things I thought we’ll need while locked down. I bought a new laptop, a printer, paper supplies, four walkie-talkies, a digital blood pressure monitor, extension cords, and sacks of dog food.

Much like in the movie The Hunger Games, being the head of the family, I was the “alay” or tribute. At the time, most barangays were closed or barricaded from outsiders to prevent the alarming spread of the virus. Entry and exit points were guarded and strictly monitored. And there’s only one in each household to be issued an all-day quarantine pass, which will allow you to go out either for work if you’re a frontliner or to get essentials. In my case I was the latter going out to buy my family’s day-to-day needs.

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My job search during the pandemic

Walking in solitude at the mall during the pandemic by CC Lozano

I was on an auto walkway minding my own business when out of the blue my mind sort of went on a throwback of how my job search journey was at the height of the pandemic. It wasn’t exactly a walk in the park but it sure was an unforgettable misadventure. February 2020 would have been the usual love month celebration but turned out to be a prelude to the scariest months of quarantine and lockdown. I recall people already wearing face masks that at the time were already becoming scarce and expensive coming from January that saw the Taal Volcano eruption lasting several days, with the ashfall even reaching cities in Metro Manila including Caloocan where we live. I was already rendering my final weeks at my former job of almost 15 years, both excited and apprehensive. Back then I thought I was ready, thankful for the many years of professional experience, curious and hopeful that I was seasoned enough to move to a new and relevant role. Like me and so many others praying for better days, nothing could have prepared us for COVID-19 finally being declared a global pandemic and changing our career prospects forever.

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