Distant But Close: Keeping the Closeness in the middle of Social Distancing

by Matthew Escosia
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By Juan Carlos Sevilla


“Technology is best when it brings people together”

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 (Corona Virus Disease 2019) as Pandemic. COVID-19 continues to spread across the world, and the Philippines and the rest of Southeast Asia were not spared of its onslaught. The Philippines saw the rise on its confirmed cases which prompted the National Government to declare an Enhanced Community Quarantine in Luzon on March 17, 2020 until April 13, 2020. As a result, most establishments suspended their operations as physical interactions and mass gatherings were prohibited.

During the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), people are strongly advised to stay home. But staying home for a long time could also have a negative impact to our mental health and overall wellness. We should not isolate ourselves completely, according to the book UnDo It! by Dean Ornish, M.D, “Study after study have shown that people who are lonely and isolated are 3-10 times more likely to get sick and die prematurely of virtually all causes when compared to those who have a strong sense of love and community.” And a study from Julianne Holt-Lunstad, PhD, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Young University in Utah, USA said, “Lack of social connection heightens health risks as much as smoking 15 cigarettes a day or having alcohol use disorder.” So, it is advisable to utilize the technology to connect with other people. Thanks to the new technology, Millennials, and everyone else, just can’t be stopped in reaching out to their friends and loved ones. Here are High Five ways to do it:


‘e-numan’ (Online Drinking)


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As we all know, Filipinos love to share stories over a drink but given the Enhanced Community Quarantine, people are limited to stay at their home but for some they have found a way to do their own ‘Kampay’ with their friends through “E-numan” (Online Drinking). E-numan is being done via video call applications. Some people who have done “E-numan” said it is better than the usual. “Good thing about E-numan is that friends are always present in a simple click unlike the physical inuman where people always come late or don’t show up at all.” said Drei Lovina, a Real Estate agent.




Photo from Pexels

Yes, we have finally come to this – a virtual date that comes close to a long-distance relationship. Instead of going out for a romantic date, couples decided to spend time with their special someone virtually. “Our activities maybe limited given the situation, but it doesn’t restrict us to show our affection to our partners. A big thanks to the new technology for giving us the opportunity to connect with our loved ones in times like this” said Mary Anne Lu, who celebrated first anniversary with her partner (that’s me, the author of this article!) through the help of video call and online streaming applications.




Photo from Pexels

In this digital age, meeting new people is possible. Millennials got creative in meeting new people via ‘Soire-E’. The idea is you create a group chat and start calling people within your connections and those people get to invite their friends until you come up with a group of random people. There must be a lead to create a meaningful discussion. According to Nico Limpo, a legal assistant, this virtual meet-ups create an online community of thinkers. “This is like an Open Mic where everyone gets to share their thoughts and have a healthy discussion on certain topics” he said.

‘GroupFlix and Chill’

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Have you ever imagined watching a movie with your friends at the same time without having to meet them physically would be possible? Netflix Party is an added function in Netflix where people can watch movies at the same time virtually. It’s just as simple as choosing a movie in your Netflix App, clicking “Create a Netflix Party”, and copy the URL then share it with your friends. This function has taken “UBE” (Ultimate Bonding Experience) with your friends to a new level.


‘Online Gym’


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As health experts would say we should double our efforts to stay healthy in these times and shredding the WAHA fats (Work-At-Home-Arrangement) is part of this effort. There are several gym establishments with online workouts – Anytime Fitness offers free Virtual Workouts while Gold’s Gym offers Full Length Popdance Class in their Facebook group. Celebrity Fitness livestreams Sweat Sessions on their page for free. Also, there are a group of independent fitness junkies offering a group workout online. This is perfect for people who don’t have an equipment for exercise at home as they offer Yoga, Zumba and other workouts that don’t require equipment. You can also do this with your peers as there are tons of workout tutorials available online.

It is still advisable to remain at home during this Enhanced Community Quarantine, but this situation should not limit one to connect with other people given the technology that we have in this digital age. At the end of the day, we need each other to uplift our spirits through these trials. As Michael Jackson would say, “You are not alone”.


How do you keep up with your folks during the quarantine? Share it with us!

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