Anak ng Pandemic: Creative Projects Born Out of The Quarantine

The pandemic has put a tentative hold on our plans and it forced us to adjust our life to it. We spend our time cooped up at home, doing our best to stay alive and safe despite the grave situation.

During the first few months of quarantine, we are hopeful that our condition is temporary. We thought we could book a flight abroad or resume our weekly yoga sessions. Two years had passed but circumstances did not change much. We are certain that we wouldn’t go back to our pre-pandemic lives.

I am breathing a new life now, but I am not used to the changes the situation inflicted. I would still think of everything wasted – time, youth, and opportunities among others. Being bound by unfortunate circumstances deteriorated my motivation. I only want to survive. I only want to live.

While I waited for the situation to settle into something more stable and safer, I delved into a series of creative projects to take my mind off these depressing times. The limited movement resulted in a hodgepodge of writing and artistic projects.

Introducing to you, the Anak ng Pandemic – the lovechild of my limitations and creativity during the COVID-19 era.

Longing For Someone I Haven’t Met (Yet) (article)

I’ve always dreamed of getting my article featured in a well-known publication. When I encountered an open submission opportunity at InqPop! (managed by Philippine Daily Inquirer), I dug into this project right away. The article is a longer version of one of my entries in the 30-day writing challenge I was doing at the time.

Longing is inspired by the yearning for the one. A hole in my chest doesn’t seem to be filled in even with a sea of tears. There is a curiosity that somewhere out there is the person I am destined to be with. I threw my hopes and frustrations into it like an angsty teen, a style I never grew out of. Seeing my name on the site is an honor. I’ve always wanted it and I thought it would never happen. But look! My name is here.

For those who are interested in submitting their artistic work, here are the guidelines for getting published. Good luck!

Time Traveling in a Shoebox (article)

I have been a fan of the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Young Blood since high school. I always read the column every time I get my hands on a copy of the said newspaper. I would read in awe the vivid descriptions and the intricate prose that the young writers weave. And I’d sworn that I will be published there someday.

For many budding writers, getting their names printed on the broadsheet is not only a prestige. It is also the right of passage – a validation that one is a full-fledged writer. Poet Juan Miguel Severo and blockbuster filmmaker Antoinette Jadaone wrote for Young Blood.

Being in Young Blood has been in the back of my mind for a long time – never forgetting but not making the move either. I don’t have a story worthy of space there. But I can’t let this dream take a rest. I was 26 at the time. That leaves me 3 years before I bid goodbye to the dream. Upon realizing that time is running out, I took the leap and dedicated a piece to the breakout column.

I sent my first article but it was a fruitless attempt. I was lonely – thinking I am not good enough for this endeavor. I left my draft and went on with my life. 

What if I give up too early?

What if I try one more time?

I don’t want to leave any room for regret and pick up my pace again. Drafting, revising, writing. I was slacking but my August quarantine forced me to work on my article. I set lower expectations this time to avoid disappointment. 

It took me two weeks before my submission was posted. The day I saw my name in the section was a moment of heavenly elation. I didn’t know that I would experience a fangirl’s giddiness again. 

For those who are interested in submitting their stories to Young Blood, here are the editors’ parameters. Earl Carlo Guevarra and Asymptotes shared comprehensive guides too! 

May the odds be in your favor! 

Happy birthday! (Scrapbook)

It was in 2020 when I volunteered to create a scrapbook for the office manager on his birthday. The activity is a challenge because 1. He is a male. Will he appreciate a handmade gift? 2. He is the department head – a corporate god. He might find the idea childish and trivial. Yet his secretary assured me  I should do it. And off I went despite my hesitations and my hard work paid off. My boss is in love!  My smile turned wider. I stood taller in pride as he held my work and showed it to his colleagues. Another proud moment for me as my creation took center stage.

In 2021, I decided to do it again given the success of my first attempt. This album is for my supervisor, a mother figure at work. This is the least I can do for someone who made my career journey a breeze. I filled pages with photos and messages from work colleagues. My heart swelled when she said, “Pinagreretiro mo na ba ko.” A sign that she appreciated what I did for her.

I also created a scrapbook for my best friend Thea’s birthday. This is my token of appreciation for the things she did for me. The album also celebrates our decade-old friendship. Her cutesy thanks warmed my heart so much and I am grateful to be gifted with such a loyal friend.

With the appreciation I received from these important people in my life, I am inspired to make more of these celebration books in the future.

30-Day Writing Challenge

I always procrastinate with writing by making up reasons not to do it. I want to find my groove again and put words to paper. That is why I took on the 30-day challenge. I made no prompts, themes, or rules. I only have to make something in 30 days. The goal is to loosen the ligaments.

I write entries on love, quarantines, writing, and life in general. You can read my 30-day write-ups on this Twitter thread.

Who would have thought I would be featured in a newspaper during this pandemic? Or create many volumes of books and art journals? Despite the limitations of the current situation, I created opportunities beyond what I’d known. I may have deviated from the straight path but the important thing now is that I have arrived. Someday, I would look back and see how far I’d come. 

I may not have gone on that trip abroad. I may not have switched to another career (yet). I may not have explored the world outside my own. Being in the safe haven of my hometown would do for now. Someday when the situation turns gentle, I will go to more places to explore possibilities. For now, it will do.

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