Looking for love? This blind date via Zoom might be the answer

Published August 21, 2020, 9:48 AM

by John Legaspi

Let The Sobrang Late Show help you when you have the late night love blues.

For some, looking for love on the internet spells a relationship bound for disaster. It is quite hard to truly know someone online. At the same time, it is challenging to express yourself virtually. Sure, dating apps like Bumble, Grindr, and Tinder may help you search for someone new, but do they have your best interests in mind, especially if you’re looking for something more than just a fling?

Sadly, not only did the coronavirus threaten everyone’s safety, it also hit the pause button for people hoping to find “the one.” While it may seem a little petty to compare a struggling dating life to the serious effects of the pandemic, we cannot deny that meeting someone new is among the simple luxuries taken away from all of us. 

As the Hal David song goes, “What the world needs now is love, sweet love.” To help you find that in today’s world is The Sobrang Late Show (TSLS).

On a mission to help with the dating dilemma, TSLS shifts its gears from just producing podcasts to being digital matchmakers. Established last July, TSLS presents weekly shows via Zoom, which can be streamed on the TSLS Facebook page. Hosts Kate Ortigas Tamondong, Pocholo Lozano, Inah Gunio, and Hansel Togonon use the platform to talk about love, lifestyle, politics, and more, earning them a following they call “Zoombaes.”

Fine, we need to look decent! If you're new to our page, we won't be having a stream today as it's our season-break and…

The Sobrang Late Show 发布于 2020年7月31日周五

“Our lives have been impacted tragically because of the quarantine and the pandemic. Our goal is to create a safe space community for those using this platform,” says Tamondong. “It’s nice that a lot are participating. This gives us more brains to think, and helps us provide proper advice to anyone who is in need. Our tagline indeed says a lot about us, ‘Corporate by Day, Matchmakers by night!’”

To find out more about their matchmaking duties, Manila Bulletin Lifestyle chats with TSLS hosts about taking dating to the digital realm, and how they aim to solve the people’s loneliness during this pandemic.

What brought about the idea of doing the Zoom Blind Date?

Kate: It’s a funny story that started out as a joke. When we kicked off our first season, which was about “Filipino Ghost Stories” (stories about the mysteries of ghosting and online dating), we dared our viewers that if we reached 1,000 likes we would launch a Zoom Blind Date. It took off! We thought later that this was a really good idea. It’s like we’re making an avenue for people to still get to know other people while in quarantine. It totally makes sense because we’re in a pandemic, and as much as we’re craving for conversations, we’re pretty sure that other people are craving for it as well.

We saw that some of the dates could be streamed online. For those who are uncomfortable being watched, how can we assure privacy for them?

Hansel: We give total assurance of privacy for our selected dates as they are paired in separate “rooms” during the Zoom session. Subscribed users of the Zoom application are given access to create “Breakout Rooms” for participants inside the session. It is where the session host can create hidden and separate Zoom meetings for the couples to chat. 

The participants’ identities are also given privacy. We provide anonymous name handles if a participant requests for one. They are also briefed about the terms and conditions of the Zoom Blind Date before they start. Anyone who violates the terms and conditions given will be dealt accordingly and swiftly. Participants can also report violators through our message inbox, or through any of the hosts.

How do you think has the pandemic affected the way Filipinos find love these days?

Inah: I think that due to our lives being confined to our homes, many Filipinos are indeed longing for human connection. The announcement of the lockdown was abrupt, and we did not have much time to prepare for it, which exacerbated that longing feeling and desire to meet someone at a time like this. TSLS is one of those avenues where our viewers and listeners can meet new people and have different perspectives about life and romance in general.

With the crisis going on around the world, and the growing concerns about our own psychological wellbeing, we are in need of joy in our lives. One way we can find happiness now is by meeting new people, new acquaintances, and gaining new perspectives about life.

How important is it to build new connections these days?

Pocholo: During these times, many of us are working at home and continuing studies, hobbies, and the pursuits of aspirations indoors. These days, the line between work and personal life is getting blurred, which can worsen the state of our mental health. With the crisis going on around the world, and the growing disparity of our own psychological wellbeing, we are in need of joy in our lives. One way we can find happiness now is by meeting new people, new acquaintances, and gaining new perspectives about life. 

Normally we post a zoom group photo after our stream, but last night we captured a much better zoom group photo!…

The Sobrang Late Show 发布于 2020年8月9日周日

Can people still sign up for a blind date?

We started opening our online sign up in the last week of July, and it is still ongoing! Interested applicants can still sign up for a Zoom Blind Date, and we will carefully and thoroughly find their respective matches. There is also a portion in our live broadcast where our audience can be selected for a surprise Zoom Blind Date, if they are willing to participate. For our viewers, stay tuned! We are like a live dating app! So, get ready with your pick-up lines because we might pick you up for a date, Zoombaes!

For TSLS’s current content and Zoom Blind Date registration, visit its Facebook (facebook.com/thesobranglateshow/) and Instagram (@thesobranglateshow) accounts.