Father’s Day before the pandemic: Visiting papa, arcade games, dining out

Published June 20, 2021, 3:29 AM

by Gabriela Baron

Our lives have been changed by the coronavirus pandemic. The dreaded disease have separated families and friends in ways they never experienced before.

It has changed the way people celebrate events and holidays — and that includes Father’s Day. 

Three Filipinos share what they miss the most about pre-pandemic Father’s Day and how they are adapting to changes brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Visiting parents together with children

Separated by distance, but most of the time by local lockdowns, Mace Bandong, a textbook editor, said she misses visiting her parents during special occasions. On Father’s Day, she will miss the family ritual of going to her papa’s  house before she and her children will celebrate with her husband. 

Bandong’s parents live in Caloocan, while her family resides in Marikina.

(Photo from Mace Bandong)

Namimiss ko pumunta sa bahay ng parents ko with my children. Dati kasi nung COVID-free pa usually pumupunta talaga kaming pamilya sa papa ko to celebrate first with him bago kami mag-celebrate ng mister ko (I miss going to my parents’ house with my children. Before COVID, we usually go to my dad’s house to celebrate first before celebrating with my husband),” Bandong told MB in an online exchange.

To keep in touch with loved ones during special occasions, video-calling has become part of Bandong’s family ritual.

“Now, because of pandemic, si papa ko mismo nagsabi na wag daw muna kami pumunta sa kanya with kids, tsaka na raw para safe both parties. Kaya ngayon videocall lang with papa and celebrate kay mister kaming apat lang sa bahay (my dad is the one telling us not to visit him with our kids until it’s safe to do so. So now we will just have a videocall and we just celebrate Father’s Day at home with my husband and two kids),” she added.

Game arcades and dining out 

As gaming arcades remain closed and many restaurants still operate on limited capacity, Mika Dela Cruz, a scholar from Rizal National Science High School, said she looks forward to playing basketball with her dad in gaming arcades again once the pandemic eases up.

(Photo from Baby DC)

Namimiss ko yung paglalaro namin ni daddy ng basketball sa arcade, ngayon kasi sarado pa rin arcades pati rin panonood ng movies sa sinehan. Pero ang pinakanamimiss ko noong pre-COVID Father’s Day is yung pag-dine out namin (I miss how I play basketball with my dad in the arcade, especially now that arcades and cinemas are still closed. But what I miss the most during pre-COVID Father’s Day is when we dine out,” Dela Cruz told MB in an online exchange.

With the emergence of new variants, Dela Cruz said that her family is still hesitant to eat out.

“Limited na lang yung mga nakakainan namin and iniiwasan talaga namin na kumain sa labas kasi delikado na kapag nagbaba ng mask sa public (Our options on where to dine out are now limited and we really avoid eating out because it’s dangerous when you take off your mask in public),” she added.

However, the pandemic will not stop her family from celebrating Father’s Day.

Ngayon, mas simple ang celebration namin. Takeout or pa-deliver lang ng food tapos [iinit] namin sa oven para sure na patay ang viruses. Tapos maglalaro rin kami ng games and nagkakaraoke sa bahay. Ngayong parating na Father’s Day, balak namin is mag-stay in pa rin and baka magluto na lang ng masarap si mommy (Today, our celebration will be simpler. We’ll just order takeout or have our food delivered and then heat it in the oven to make sure there is now virus. We’ll also play games and karaoke at home. This Father’s Day, we plan to just stay at home and our mommy will just cook something delicious),” Dela Cruz said.

Small talk with strangers

Sherylyn Reyes, a law student, will miss celebrating Father’s Day at a restaurant buffet where the family usually dines to celebrate the occasion. 

“What I miss about celebrating Father’s Day before COVID is when all of us — as a family, dress up, go out and celebrate father’s day at buffets where there was no need for masks, and having small talk with strangers on the way to your table,” Reyes told the Manila Bulletin in an online exchange.

(Photo from Sherylyn Reyes)

Before the pandemic, Reyes and her family used to go to the park early dawn to start the celebration with a jog and a picnic.

“We had a simple way of celebrating Father’s Day back then. Unfortunately  the pandemic has greatly affected our way of celebration, and now gone are those days,” Reyes said. 

The pandemic has also forced her family to forego celebrating special occasions. “Since there’s a pandemic right now, we [are no longer] compelled to celebrate [not just] Father’s Day but also other occasions in our home, which makes me sad because it’s not what we’re used to. I’m still hopeful that we can do better to revive how we celebrate every occasion.”