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At Large

Transcending the ECQ

Amazing the things you discover while on lockdown!

For one, I just found out that there’s a thriving online community in our village that’s filled with enterprising householders who now offer a wide variety of products for sale. The most popular items are of course foodstuff, from artisanal breads to vegetables and fruits. There’s also a variety of dishes from different parts of the globe, from Korean staples to Persian kebabs and shawarma, Chinese dim sum to roasted chicken and beef. One homeowner even offers wagyu beef cubes, though a bit pricey. And of course, since it’s summer, there are a number of purveyors of

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halo-halo along with refreshers like saba con hielo and mais con hielo.

Lately, I’ve been noticing posts about beauty parlor home services, plumbing jobs, and sales of items like alcohol, face masks, and shields, even help with computer repairs.

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I didn’t know I lived in such an entrepreneurial environment, and were it not for the COVID-19 restrictions, I might never have known what so many of my neighbors were up to. It’s like getting to know them anew—and appreciating their great products and services. Lately, there have even been posted calls for a fund drive to help our security personnel as well as our “padyak” boys who transport homeowners to and from their homes.

Of course, my friends also have their own stories about food delivery apps that allow them to add variety to their otherwise humdrum home-cooked meals. But a burgeoning neighborhood exchange adds so much more conviviality and neighborliness in our lives at a time when we are constrained to keep to our homes and avoid mixing with the great hoi polloi. Somehow, the Pinoy finds a way to get around restrictions imposed by the need for “social distancing.” And always it involves heart, home, and family.

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Another pleasant and pleasurable online activity in these days of cloistering is accessing the performances of musical artists featured in “Bayanihan Musikahan,” a fund-raising effort that combines artistry with philanthropy.

Under the leadership of National Artist for Music Ryan Cayabyab and composer Trina Belamide, with the participation of groups like the Philippine Business for Social Progress and Caritas Manila and individuals like former social welfare secretary Dinky Soliman (who channels the funds through a group of former 4Ps beneficiaries) and cultural warrior Marian Pastor Roces, “Bayanihan Musikahan” gathers musical artists of various genres to perform for one-hour stints which are accessed through Facebook. Viewers are then enjoined to donate to urban poor communities by posting their pledges and contributions online.

Already, a record of sorts was set last week with the performance of Lea Salonga, which saw a total of P1.5 million raised in one hour alone. “Bayanihan Musikahan” has as of April 2 already raised P22.3 million, which has gone to provide food packs for some 15,000 urban poor families. Among those who have already performed are Martin Nievera, Ebe Dancel, Acapellago, Karylle Tatlonghari and Spongecola, Bullet Dumas, Rachelle Gerodias and Byeong-in Park, Celeste Legaspi, and Morissette Amon.

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Lea’s hour was certainly a most pleasurable, memorable interlude. Her set consisted of Broadway songs, popular movie themes featured in her two movies with love team partner Aga Muhlach, and book-ended by two songs by Cayabyab. Her rendition of “Bring Him Home” from “Les Misérables,” requested she said by her personal doctor to pay homage to medical frontliners, was most moving. Martin Nievera, on the other hand, was almost manic, lightening up the rather grim atmosphere that occasioned the musical series.

One of the greatest features of “Bayanihan Musikahan” is that the artists perform from their own homes, since they, too, are under quarantine. Celeste Legaspi sang with an early painting of her father, National Artist for Visual Arts Cesar Legaspi, in the background, with a most interesting story behind it.

The couple Rachelle Gerodias and Byeong-in Park brought viewers into their home and put on a performance that, while centered on “light” operatic pieces and kundiman, was also quite revealing of the intimacy and humor that spark their marriage.

With the extension of the ECQ just announced, we may be groaning at the extended isolation we still must endure. But projects like “Bayanihan Musikahan” make the tedium bearable, if not transcendent.

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TAGS: At Larger, Coronavirus Pandemic, COVID-19, enhanced community quarantine, Luzon quarantine, Rina Jimenez-David
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