How many days has it been since Metro Manila went on lockdown? It’s been two months and counting. We’re set to have a longer lockdown than what was initially imposed on Wuhan, China where it all started. We’ve been moved to a modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) – to re-open our economy. Not because the virus’ spread has been contained. This means some businesses, non-essential ones, will be allowed to operate again. 

I’m lucky that my work was never forced to stop during Enhanced Community Quarantine since we can work from home. But while I am safe sheltering in place, I sometimes think of the days when there was no pandemic and all the things I miss doing. 

1. Dressing up to go out

I used to dress up for work 5 days a week. I put on my makeup and I rock the high heels especially when there’s a client. On weekends, I dress a little more casually for the mall or for the gym but with that “Gotta look cute. Gotta look pretty” mindset still. My friends and more importantly, my crush will see me. 

Obviously not dressing up these days because I am just home. Nope, not putting on make up as well. Though there are days now where I toy with the idea of at least casually dressing up on work days. Bit of make up. Hair brushed and blow dried. Maybe take #OOTD photo.   

2. Going to the mall 

I used to spend a lot of days at the mall. My friends and I would go to Timezone to play a few arcade games and do videoke. Sometimes, I would catch a movie in cinemas. The last movie I saw before we were all put in quarantine was Bad Boys for Life at Robinson’s Place, Manila. I watched it alone but I had fun. 

Also miss shopping at the mall. Raise your hand if you’ve ever experienced #budol at Watson’s! I miss spotting an outfit on display and buying it on a whim. I even miss window shopping! These days, the shopping I do are mostly online to avoid possible crowds. Since most shopping I do is online, I also try to get some cash backs from that by using Shopback which has a lot of partner merchants! Sign up here with my referral code so we can both get cashback!    

Now that we’ve moved to Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ), the malls have started operating again. But I’m not going to the mall just yet. Like I said, the threat of COVID-19 isn’t contained yet.  Don’t want to catch it and pass it on to my family. The mall will just have to wait.

3. Hang outs with my friends

We’re all socially distancing so all the interaction I have with friends are done online. We chat or we video call. Thank God for technology! Still it’s a different feeling seeing and talking to them face to face. 

Miss going out with them. The night the President announced that we were going to be put under community quarantine, I was at the gym working out with friends. I remember having a feeling of sadness and dread as we went out for a drink afterwards.  

4. Earning what I used to earn

No I wasn’t earning a six figure salary. I wish! But I was earning a good enough amount to afford spending for needs and whims alike. Because a lot of our clients’ businesses were affected by the quarantine, we too were affected as a result. A 30% pay cut was imposed to keep the business afloat. I need to further tighten my belt and not spend for frivolous things. Goodbye expensive hair and skincare products. 

More than anything, the big cut makes me worry and scared that I may not be able to contribute to our household expenses. It’s a big cut. Don’t want to burden her with all the expenses. I hope that in due time, like a couple of months down the road, our business can recover so my salary will! 

5. Working out at the gym

Working out at the gym has become a key part of my lifestyle. Used to go as often as I could.  I miss attending group classes such as FGT and Body Jam. Oh Body Jam. Who would have thought I would miss it the way I do now? I  didn’t attend the class as religiously as I do now a couple of years back since I’m not very good at dancing. Made a lot of friends from attending Jam. I miss it sooooo much! 

Another workout I miss? The intense personal training sessions I used to do. I recall a favorite line my trainer and friend, Rej used to say to me  “Iyak ka na, Liz?” (Ready to cry now, Liz?). He said it every time he had me doing a really challenging exercise. It was exhausting but fun. I actually still have plenty of one on one sessions left. Don’t know if I could ever consume those remaining sessions though. 

The gyms are closed right now under MECQ. Even if they open, I honestly am not sure I would readily go again while the virus rages on. 

6. Traveling 

Since I got my passport, I travelled often. I travelled with my mom, my family or with my friends. In fact, I made travel plans every year. Looking back at last year and I can’t help but say it’s a good thing I made a few more travel memories before the pandemic hit. Last year, I was lucky enough to scratch off something from my travel bucket list, lucky to have had another travel with my mom and lucky to have had such a blissful travel with my friends

When can we travel again? I hope we can do it again safely soon. There are still a lot of places I want to see and take my mom to! 

7. Dining out

Most food establishments have stayed open or have re-opened this MECQ. Sure I can have food delivered at home but  I honestly feel some food experiences are better when we dine in. To name a couple of restaurants, there’s Cafe Mary Grace, the go-to-resto of the Titas of Manila. Also Yabu with their unli cabbage, fruits, rice and miso soup refill for every order of their Katsu set. Can’t exactly do that with take out or delivery, can I?

8. Staying at coffee shops

Whenever I had a meeting that ended early, I’d stay at a nearby coffee shop instead of going back to the office to work. I did this often when I knew I would be hitting the gym after work hours. Loved writing at coffee shops too! Nothing got me going than a good cup of coffee, soft music on the background and no one to disturb me. 

I also miss hanging out at coffee shops whether with friends or alone. It’s a great way to unwind. Chatting over coffee or reading a book while sitting outside. 

9. Going to the salon or spa

I wish I was able to get a hair cut before quarantine. I prefer short hair because it’s easier to manage. And while I don’t often do this anymore, I miss going to nail salons to get a mani-pedi. Thank goodness for nail home service these days! 

Oh how I miss going to the spa for a massage! Loved going to The Spa Wellness. The ambience will instantly relax you as you enter. I miss sipping their hot ginger tea too while I wait for my massage to begin. Such great service there.

Like the gym, even if they do re-open anytime soon, I probably won’t go just yet. 
10.  Catching the next blockbuster movie in cinemas 

While I didn’t really watch a lot of movies in cinemas before COVID-19, I still miss the experience. The smell of popcorn emanating from the snack stand and the loud sounds brought to you by the Dolby Atmos Surround Sound experience to welcome you to the cinema.  


I hope that there will be a vaccine against COVID-19 to protect us from the virus. While we wait for that news to come, I also hope that our government will work double time with doing mass testing. Not personal gains nor vendettas. And most certainly not politics. As we’ve seen in other countries that have been successful in curbing the spread of the virus early, mass testing is the key to a safer re-opening of the economy. Until those days arrive, I’ll be home to help slow down the spread. I’ll also continue joining my fellow Filipinos in calling for action from the government.