Life in a slightly, lenient lockdown

Jenara Regis Newman
·4 min read

FOR senior citizens like me, it has been a claustrophobic seven months or so, no thanks to Covid-19 and the quarantine restrictions particularly for seniors. I could only go out twice weekly, on the sly, for drive-thru orders at the Jollibee outlet (when it reopened) a quarter of a kilometer away from my house.

It has only been about a month since that I could do my own banking, grocery and pharmacy errands. And yes, occasional visits to a favorite sikwate place, The Chocolate Chamber (TCC) at Robinsons Galleria Cebu, now that it has reopened. I was there for its reopening and was back there for a chat over traditional sikwate with Jojo Labella who’s worried about how Sinulog 2021 will be with the quarantine restrictions and the prospect of no Sinulog contingents from out of Cebu province.... and, of course, very much fewer visitors—if any—from out of town and out of the country.

He said the Sto. Niño won’t even have His usual procession but instead He will have a motorcade. Jojo was not only concerned about the Sinulog but also about the completion of the San Pedro Calungsod parish church in Pulangbato (which still has to be roofed over, among other unfinished details) as he is the parish’s pastoral council president.

And at TCC again last week, I was able to catch Jonathan Choa, the Chocolate Queen’s (Raquel Choa) 23-year-old son, in his role as TCC’s Chamber Keeper, doing his demonstration for the program billed “Raising the Tsokolate Bar,” a program of The Chocolate Academy. In this program, Jonathan demonstrates how to melt, temper and mold chocolates into various shapes using the Tsokolate bar. It was a very interesting demonstration for his audience that afternoon, a delegation from the Cebu City Urbanized Fisheries and Agriculture Council who not only learned how to make those delicious chocolates but also got to taste them.

Luckily for me, available at TCC that afternoon was its tablea ensaymada—a soft, almost melt in the mouth concoction made more interesting to the taste buds with its touch of tablea goodness.

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Cebu City is slowly getting out of its quarantine doldrums. More stores have reopened, more people are out to work or doing their errands and finally getting into restaurants for their sorely missed favorite food... but of course, with all due quarantine precautions.

A facility to be reopened Nov. 5 is Cebu Ocean Park... which will give Cebuanos a go-to place for recreation, for getting acquainted or reacquainted with underwater creatures. Closed since April, it will be open again, but with all due precautions of the new normal: Safe distancing, contact tracing listing, temperature screenings, sanitizing stations, mandatory face masks, and, for the staff, stricter cleaning, sanitizing routines. Among the park’s newest residents are baby bearded dragon fish and moray eels, born during the lockdown.

Cebu Ocean Park will be open Thursday to Sunday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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The pandemic quarantine has kept most of the people at home and more and more people have resorted to online banking and credit card transactions for purchases as well as to pay bills. This is quite a convenience but the downside to this are reports of credit card fraud and unauthorized bank transactions. To keep its members safe from online transactions, Zonta Club of Cebu II, through its president Elena C. Young invited Romeo Comabig, president of the Cebu Bankers Club and vice president of the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC), to talk about safety and security in online banking and credit card transactions.

Comabig has been lecturing about bank fraud and oriented the Zontians on the need to have strong passwords and to avoid replying to unsolicited emails that ask for bank account numbers and other details.

After his lecture and the club’s second general membership meeting, honorary member Dr. Rhodora Bucoy was the club’s guest speaker to discuss the gendered impacts of the Covid-19 Pandemic.

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My prayers and condolences to Julius and Nelia Neri on the death of their son Jed, to Isabel on the loss of her father, and to Jayjay, Justin and Jovi (and their families) on the loss of their brother. May Jed rest in peace.