Written by Samantha Nicole Alarilla
It is without a doubt that this pandemic has changed our lives, our lifestyles taking a complete 180 from what they used to be; in this “new normal,” we now live most aspects of our lives online. Back then, we would’ve deemed this worldwide phenomenon to be impossible – nobody would’ve ever predicted that we would be able to rely on the Internet and technology for almost everything. But this pandemic has proven to us that it is possible, and that even amidst sickness and collective grief, modern technology has given us ways to cope and continue on as best as we can.
From work to faith – to even our social lives – here are nine aspects of our lives that this pandemic has changed and shifted from real-life to virtual reality:
1. Work. Since the country has been placed under varying degrees of community quarantine – with the current one being MECQ or Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine – most of us have been working from home. Back then we used to hold face-to-face meetings for our team collaborations and conferences, but now we have to hold such meetings over Zoom, Skype, or Microsoft Teams.
2. School. It’s not just employees working from home – but students of all ages too! From the littlest of kindergartners to the most worldly of college students, they have all been taking their classes through remote learning, both synchronous and asynchronous. Schools have also been making extensive use of Learning Management System or LMS softwares such as Google Classroom, Canvas, and Blackboard – and even local LMS softwares like Genyo. Students and teachers alike have also taken to relying on online resources such as YouTube, Khan Academy, and educational TV shows and programs for supplementary material.
3. Social Life. Now that IRL hangouts, brunches, and inumans have been temporarily banned for our safety, barkadas all over the country have had to get creative with their virtual meet-ups. Friends have turned to Zoom, Messenger Video Call, Discord, and Skype for their “E-numans,” binge-watching parties, and multiplayer gaming sessions – screen-sharing applications like Netflix Party have even been developed for this very reason!
4. Health. Because the risk of contracting COVID-19 during non-COVID-19 related hospital visits is very high, most hospitals and clinics have found a way to move their services to online platforms. We now have access to telemedicine that lets us see our doctors and general practitioners without having to leave our homes and have online consultations through video call. And of course, because our mental health is also incredibly important – especially during these harrowing times – some clinics have also been offering online therapy sessions for those in need.
5. Exercise. Just because the gyms, yoga studios, and crossfit centers are closed doesn’t mean we can’t still work out from home! Nowadays more and more personal trainers, gym instructors, and various fitness teachers have taken to Zoom, Skype, and even Facebook Live to conduct their online classes. But if online classes aren’t quite your style, there are also tons of free tutorials and workout classes available on YouTube – I’m sure you’ve heard about the trendy Chloe Ting Ab Challenges too!
6. Food and Shopping. While essential trips to restaurants and grocery or drug stores are allowed, most people would still prefer to play it safe by purchasing these items and having them delivered to their homes with the help of online services. Apps such as Lazmart and Metro Mart are perfect for situations such as those, as they safely shop for and deliver groceries, food items, and medicine straight to your door. Shopee, Carousell and the like, on the other hand, are perfect for literally all your non-essential shopping needs – from clothes to school supplies to even furniture, they really do have it all! And lastly – but definitely not the least – reliable and familiar apps like Grab, Foodpanda, and Lalafood are there for all your food and craving-related needs.
7. Finance and Banking. To avoid physically going to banks and bayad centers, most payments and transactions can now be done online through banking apps such as BPI Mobile, BDO Personal Banking, Citibank PH, and so on. Cash transfers and bills payment can also be conducted online as well through apps such as Bayad Center Mobile, GCash, and Paypal.
8. Faith. For a lot of Filipinos, faith is such a huge aspect of our lives and so it truly is saddening that we aren’t able to visit our places of worship during this pandemic. Luckily, online masses, religious services, and worships are available to us through – most notably – Facebook and YouTube Live. Even certain practices and traditions are being conducted online – such as the Urbi Et Orbi: Extraordinary Blessing of Pope Francis that took place last May.
9. Entertainment. If there’s one industry that truly had to get creative with still being able to produce and deliver their services it’s the entertainment industry. Since we can’t go to the cinemas, new movies are now being released straight to online streaming services such as Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, and so on. Live music entertainment now takes place online through Facebook, YouTube, and even IG Live. Even full concerts have gone virtual, such as the first ever online KCON – the biggest Kpop music festival and convention typically held in different locations around the world – that happened last June.