Diskarte is how Pinoys cope with the pandemic

Published July 19, 2020, 12:14 PM

by Sol Vanzi

Diskarte is a Filipino word that does not quite translate accurately. It is what Filipinos resort to in times of crisis. The best way to explain what it means is by citing examples of how various kinds of diskarte have been used ingeniously to survive, or even flourish, in these difficult times.

The worldwide Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in industry closures, with millions of jobs lost in almost every sector. Economic uncertainty has changed the way people live, work, eat, and spend money. At the same time, many found the time and opportunity to discover and utilize hidden talents that eventually lead them out of the pandemic-caused chaos.

Diskarte is what my friends keep themselves busy with. Ginny planted herb seeds, transplanted the seedlings to pots, and found them all sold out in one weekend. Cha, who loves to gift friends with organic sugarless cakes, now bakes dozens weekly for online customers.


Sue, a 40-something single mother, was successfully handling PR for several hotels and high-end diners. With her clients temporarily shut down, she had to find another way to pay the bills and feed her family. Friends urged her to sell her well-loved dishes on the internet.

Raised by a food writer aunt and a father famed in his town for “Bat-en-Bols” (soup number 5), Sue grew up on an eclectic diet of Caviteño peasant fare, Seventh Day Adventist organics, and American and French haute cuisine. On her own she developed a recipe for herb-roasted whole chicken that she pairs with lasagna, roast baby potatoes, and pasta in pesto sauce. The combination was an instant success with her friends, encouraging her to go ahead and post her offering on Facebook.

Purple Palayok’s roasted chicken (above) and pasta in pesto (below)

Her son Justice and daughter Jasmine designed paper bags, a logo, and the Facebook layout. Their first month was an overwhelming success. They have expanded the menu and acquired an imported smoker, which they plan to use for beef briskets. Her Purple Palayok is growing faster than she ever imagined.


Lockdowns have restricted movement, pushing consumers to become less dependent on traditional physical stores and shift to online shops and delivery services.

This is acknowledged by RJ Cabaluna, country marketing head of Grab Philippines, who explains that “the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of online services but has challenged the brick-and-mortar store concept. With more people avoiding crowded places like malls and supermarkets, they rely on online services to get their essential needs.”

RJ Cabaluna


Cabaluna adds that speed and safety are also considered when making purchases, because “with lesser disposable income, consumers are getting more discerning in their purchasing decisions. In this pandemic-stricken world, better value does not only mean discounts but also getting products and services in a safe, convenient, and quick manner.”

He points out that “hygiene plays an important role in marketing goods and services. For consumers to build trust, brands and businesses must prioritize safety and security above all. Food brands, for example, many have adopted contactless delivery and cashless payments.”


As more transactions happen online, we are seeing the need to fulfill orders in a quick and efficient manner. The rise of on-demand delivery players and same day delivery options prove that consumers are coming to online services for quick fulfillment of orders.

Cabaluna advises businessmen to adapt to online and e-commerce systems to keep afloat. “With the movement control and limitations brought by the pandemic, convenience is key,” he says. “Gone are the days we would go to shopping malls and supermarkets. Everything can now be purchased online. For businesses to thrive, they must focus on e-commerce and online solutions to address the needs of consumers.”


With almost everyone staying at home, food becomes a major part of interaction or bonding among the household. This has become the concern of Mondelez Philippines, one of the leading producers of snack food.

Toff Rada

“These days the right snacks are those which provide consumers’ daily needs for nutrition and refreshment, while also giving a sense of joy and comfort,” says Toff Rada, Mondelez Philippines CGA country manager. “Our goal during these trying times is to be a form of support and nourishment to our consumers. We’ll continue to give products that can offer value to our consumers, brighten up their day, and provide moments of togetherness for the family.”