While it’s normal for me to work from home, being in quarantine poses a whole new level of difficulty. Here are some of the ways I’m spending my days and finding joy in myself and in my family during a lockdown.
what i’m watching
The King: Eternal Monarch.
As a K-Drama fangirl, I’ve had my mad crushes- characters that lit up the small screen and peppered my daily life with romantic one-liners and heart-melting gazes. Lee Min Ho’s portrayals have always been swoon-worthy and memorable that whenever he has a new drama, I can’t help but watch as soon it hits the streaming sites even without subtitles.
His newest one dubbed “The King: Eternal Monarch” is his comeback project since his return from army service in 2018. Celebrated screenwriter Kim Eun Sook who also penned the widely popular “Descendants of the Sun,” “The Heirs,” and “Secret Garden,” gives life to Lee Min Ho’s newest series, with Director Baek Sang-Hoon of the Descendants of the Sun fame at the creative helm.
I try to catch it as soon as it hits Netflix every Friday and Saturday night.
My verdict? Do you even have to ask? It’s Lee Min Ho! He doesn’t even have to say a thing in the series to make it a success.
Discovering 2Cellos and listening to the duo perform in the gorgeous Arena di Verona was both mesmerizing and sublime. I can’t help but utter a word of prayer for God’s wisdom and guidance in Italy’s fight against COVID-19.
I grew up loving Classical and Broadway music thanks in part to them being blared from my dad’s speakers which were connected in turn to his ever-trusted reel-to-reel tape recorder and phonograph.
Discovering Serbian guitarist Milos Karadaglic on YouTube brought back childhood memories of awe and calmness, but when he performed “Spanish Romance,” the chill was replaced with enthusiasm as I recalled that this particular piece was included in the soundtrack of “Autumn in my Heart,” a very popular romantic drama tagged to be one of the first productions that pioneered the “Korean Wave” in the Philippines, and later on in the world. It’s called “Endless Love 1” in the Philippines, and when it was dubbed in Tagalog, the characters portrayed by Song Seung-heon, Song Hye-kyo, and Won Bin were changed into Johnny, Jenny, and Andrew, respectively.
Don’t even get me started with Piazolla’s Libertango. I can’t fully express how much I adore that piece! In fact, Milos’s official video is most definitely a powerful advert to encourage just about anyone to take up the guitar as well as the tango.
what i’m craving for
Shakey’s Pepperoni Crunch.
I’ve always loved the double crisp nature of Shakey’s thin-crust pepperoni crunch which always satiated my innate pizza craving. Thanks to the dedicated Uber drivers, my family and I get to experience a degree of normalcy one box at a time. Yes. We’re firm believers that especially during this time, an additional tip should be given on top of the total amount.
Red Ribbon Black Forest.
I was hit by a sudden craving for Red Ribbon’s Black Forest Cake. The yummy cake cured my sweet tooth and helped take the edge off my niece’s challenging day as a frontliner, as well served as a much-needed reward for my son’s dedication in taking his school’s online lessons.
what i’m listening to
I was in awe when I first heard “My Strength” during Praise & Worship. And when the members of the Youth Fellowship rendered dance moves, some of them of K-pop nature, I was blown away, to say the least. Now, I listen and dance to it every day as a part of my devotional time.
Beethoven Lives Upstairs.
It was an adventure to listen to Beethoven Lives Upstairs, an award-winning recording combining a compelling narrative about a young boy named Christoph who met a “madman” who happened to live in the upstairs portion of their house. The man was no other than Ludwig van Beethoven. Through poignant letters between Cristoph and his uncle, I caught a glimpse of the beauty, the genius as well as the brokenness of the deaf composer.
I first had the privilege of listening to this recording sometime between 1994 and 1996 when I worked as a radio announcer of 98.7 DZFE-The Master’s Touch, the country’s only classical music station.
what WE’RE crafting
When my son and his schoolmates were tasked to create some sort of soap art, my niece Kathlynish reckoned that the easiest, least complicated model would be a fish. Out of dove soap, my niece taught my son how to craft this cutie by using a paring knife and a nail file.
In a lockdown, my son’s online classes continued and another task came about. This time, clay art was the required output. Once again, my niece thought of the least challenging option which my son was very grateful for. Thanks to three-year-old clay stocked in my son’s old art materials, a globe was created which symbolizes the world’s predicament today while a dove represents freedom from COVID-19.
what i’m proud of
“Mahal na mga Frontliner.”
Amid technological advancements, I sometimes fear that the only piece of literature that my son reads is the subtitle of his favorite Manga series.
Thanks to Vibal Publishing, a timely storybook was written in Filipino to honor the selfless efforts and dedication given by our frontliners in the fight against COVID-19.
Penned by Eugene Y. Evasco, a Carlos Palanca Award Hall of Famer, and illustrated by the equally talented Jan Rex B. Casiroman, “Mahal na mga Frontliner” should be required reading for our kids, especially during this time in history.
This publication has been made available for free online so that everyone can read, appreciate, and learn from it.
WHAT I’m thinking about
‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise.– Blessings by Laura Story
what I’m pushing for
After giving birth, I subsisted on salads for eight straight months and lost around 15 pounds in total. I’ve lost up to 30 pounds 5 times in each life period, but now that I’m into my late forties, I find it harder to stick to just greens. However, due to the lockdown and the persistent clout of COVID-19 over everyone’s health, my earlier health convictions were pushed to the fore and were waiting to be unleashed once again.
Aside from carabao mangoes, I also love sprinkling pomelo into my salads alongside grilled chicken breast strips and croutons. Clara Ole’s Asian Salad Dressing or Dizon’s Honey Mustard Dressing would normally seal the deal for me.
Frozen strawberries blended with ice, and topped with Chia Seeds is an effective morning mood enhancer as it helps me control my calorie intake for the day.
Thanks to these healthy snack boosters, I rarely go overboard during dinner. My trusted allies have never let me down. When I was 33 years old, I’ve undergone a month-long weight loss journey. It was my third in 10 years because normally if I didn’t watch what I eat and indulge in a regular exercise program, pounds crept in pretty fast. Sweet potatoes have helped shed off the last stubborn pounds to complete the 20-pound weight loss initially bolstered by The South Beach Diet.
what WE’RE making
This viral DIY coffee has created quite a frenzy in social media that even my niece Kathlynish who happens to be an OR Nurse, decided to make this during her day off.
Her first attempt wasn’t successful simply because she used 3-in-1 coffee. However, things looked promising when she shifted to plain coffee. She proceeded to put two tablespoons of Nescafe Classic into a bowl, then added 2 tablespoons of sugar, plus an equal amount of boiling water, and then whisked the mixture for about 3 minutes.
The result was a thick, gorgeous froth that maintained its form for hours even on top of a fresh milk layer.
Ever wondered how the Dalgona craze first started?
Here’s the video that catapulted the coffee to one of the most viral trends of the year.
DIY Jollibee Peach Mango & Choco Mallow Pies.
Still, on her day off, dearest Kathlynish whipped up her own yummy version of Jollibee’s Peach Mango and Choco Mallow Pies using Gardenia bread as the pie alternative.
Store-brought Original Jollibee Tapa & Chickenjoy.
One day, after her hospital duty, Kathlynish brought home, Jollibee’s infamous Chickenjoy sold frozen but already marinated with an extra sachet of breading to recreate the original Chickenjoy experience.
Another time, she ordered Original Jollibee Tapa through her friend.
The verdict? “Jollibee Tapa at Chickenjoy nga!”
Whenever my dearest hubby asks me which “pasalubong” I’d want to have, I’d always say “goto,” “lumpiang toge,” and of course “okoy.”
A few weeks ago, I created “okoy” (Filipino Shrimp Fritters) out of sweet potatoes instead of squash. I also used an egg and pancake mix instead of flour.
The problem was the okoy didn’t stick together as expected.
After watching this video, I figured that if only I added some cornstarch, my okoy would have been a success.
The good thing about having so much time at home is that I can improve on the dish until it looks something like in the video below.
Homemade Mac & Cheese.
If there’s one dish that my son can eat all day and all night long, it has to be Mac and Cheese.
Loosely based on Jamie Oliver’s Ultimate Mac & Cheese, my simplified version consisted of pasta, fresh milk, Cheese Whiz, Eden Melt Sarap, Star Margarine (butter would have melted by the time you reach the checkout counter) and flour. My creation turned out to be okay since my son liked it. Somehow I’m hoping to copy the real version sometime soon.
Homemade Lumpiang Shanghai & Cheese Sticks.
Kathlynish struck gold once again when she whipped up her own version of the classic Filipino dish, Lumpiang Shanghai. However, for the last batch of lumpia wrappers, she opted to put cheese instead of meat which my son appreciated very much.
Homemade Pancit Canton.
Kathlynish’s version of Pancit using egg noodles is another winner in my book. Savory, and satiating, it’s exactly what I’m craving for that day.
what i’m reading
David Brook’s “Second Mountain.”
One of our coaches (pastors) mentioned David Brook’s “The Second Mountain” in preaching. When I arrived home, I googled the book, started reading the publication, and can’t help but be inspired all over again.
Here are some excerpts from this bestseller.
“It’s gotten so I can recognize first- and second-mountain people. The first-mountain people are often cheerful, interesting, and fun to be around. They often have impressive jobs and can take you to an amazing variety of great restaurants. The second-mountain people aren’t averse to the pleasures of the world. They delight in a good glass of wine or a nice beach. (There’s nothing worse than people who are so spiritualized they don’t love the world.) But they have surpassed these pleasures in pursuit of moral joy, a feeling that they have aligned their life toward some ultimate good. If they have to choose, they choose joy.”
– The Second Mountain by David Brooks