We’re (almost) back to normal

Published April 24, 2022, 6:30 PM

by AA Patawaran

Still, proceed with caution. The virus has not gone away. Here’s a piece of advice from experts in travel, retail, dining, drinking, and clubbing, fashion, finance, arts and cultural activities, and other fields to help us surely and safely reclaim life as we used to know it.


Love Marie Ongpauco Escudero, artist, influencer

The only constant thing in this world is change and adapting to change. And I’m glad that, as time goes by, people are seeing the benefits of vaccination everywhere and how it can really help us adapt to the new normal. It gives us security and we feel more safe. I think it’s about time we all moved forward and stepped out of our comfort zone and our fears and faced the new world. Just be grateful that modern science is there to help us through this situation. It’s still a very anxious time, but it’s very hopeful and I feel everybody is just very much motivated to just get out there and live their lives again. The energy is just wonderful finally after two years.


Rosanna Ocampo-Rodriguez, fashion designer

COVID is here to stay and, like in strains past, only bound to mutate. I’m for facing the music and learning how to live with it rather than letting it completely take over our lives. Fear, paranoia, and negativity can cloud our brains and pollute our judgement. These are effects far worse for me than the actual virus itself.  It’s been too long. It’s taken enough. Let’s move forward responsibly and optimistic about this new world we live in.


Steven Tan, president, Shopping Center Management Corporation

My one piece of advice is to always be mindful. With freedom comes responsibility. As we restart interacting with the greater world, it is best to recognize not just your own comfort zone and personal limits, but also of those around you. Socializing is more enjoyable when we are considerate of one another. I’ve been out and about and really happy to see and reconnect with friends. I’ve traveled to the US and Asia. It’s great to visit old favorites and new places. You can open up and get on with life. Just live mindfully.


Berna Romulo-Puyat, secretary, Department of Tourism

I’m thrilled that people are starting to feel confident about traveling. It’s high time we started exploring again. There’s so much of our country to see. My one piece of advice is to keep following the health and safety guidelines put in place. We’re still living with the virus and its potential variants, so we must keep on wearing our face masks. Let’s not get complacent and waste our hard-earned conveniences.


Kalel Chan, corporate chef, the Raintree restaurant group

In my experience in the restaurant industry, now is the right time to restart or to start opening businesses. Our sales at our restaurants have been better than ever. Our provincial outlets have been busy since the government announced that people are allowed to travel. Historically I know that every after a pandemic there’s no other way to go but up. I feel people are tired of hiding and are now trying to make up for lost time with their friends and family.


Francis Tolentino, managing partner and executive chef at bars, clubs, and restaurants Unit27, The Loft, Studio 28, and Almacen

After two years of restricted night life, people are now more excited to go out and be social again. My advice is to be responsible, self test before going out by using antigen kits that are widely available now. As I always say, eat and party responsibly and with an additional test before going out.


Lani Misalucha, artist, performer

It is a great feeling to know that most countries are now beginning to go back to usual. While most health mandates have been lifted, I will take it upon myself to still adhere to what I know will keep me and my family safe. I may be paranoid but with my current medical issues I would still be wearing my mask in public places such as cinemas, markets, medical clinics and hospitals, most especially inside airplanes.


Martin Nievera, artist, performer

Embrace the lessons learned from every lockdown this pandemic put us through. And look before you leap. If not for yourself, do it for the people around you. Care before you dare.


Nick Lizaso, chairman, National Commission on Culture and the Arts

Now that the pandemic has subsided and health protocols have been eased, the CCP has raised the curtain on live events and presentations. I encourage the public to attend cultural and artistic events and activities once more. There’s nothing like seeing a performance or watching cinema in an actual physical venue together with an audience. At the same time, by patronizing plays, concerts, movies, we help support our local talents and cultural workers who have been financially hit by the pandemic.


Willie Marcial, commissioner, Philippine Basketball Association

We didn’t lose hope in bringing our fans back but we also didn’t expect for them to return in huge numbers in a short period of time. We thank our fans for their never-ending support to the PBA!


Ogie Alcasid, artist, performer

The best thing to do for now is to still be on guard. Know who you will be with when you go out and if they are out of your circle, mask up. It’s extremely important for us singers also because we are singers. So hard to sing when we have a cold, cough, or sore throat.


Rachel Arenas, former chairperson, Movie and Television Review and Classification Board

We have vaccinated over 63 million Filipinos but we should not put our guards down. Though the signs are promising and our government has taken great strides in every aspect of our pandemic response, we must always be vigilant. We understand that people have become restless and naturally, we want to live our normal lives again, although we all realize that we must now live with the new normal, armed with the lessons learned from this pandemic.