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Creating fun and 'home travel' amidst the quarantine

With two months grounded in our own houses, we realized we are actually strangers in our own place we call home. President Duterte was correct in saying we may still have parts of our house unvisited and the lockdown maybe the best time to discover them. He said this at the announcement of home quarantine mid March to abate the spread of Covid-19 virus among Filipinos.

Was I bored during the nearly two months enhanced community quarantine? Not at all. And I was never upset that I couldn't leave the house knowing that the frontliners want to go home and enjoy the peace and love of their families as well.

There were so much projects within the house left unattended due to lack of time and our busyness outside of home: wooden parts and furnitures need revarnishing, old but usable and unused, unwanted clothes have to be dispatched or given away, media tokens and events giveaways need to be stashed as well, re-arranging the house to give way for work-from-home set up, rooftop garden needing spruce up, etc., etc. New tasks were added each day as the lockdown period went by.

So while editing and checking a page layout for the newspaper each day, I decided to attend to these unfinished businesses. First, we did DIY termite treatment and re-varnishing of all furnitures from the ground  up to the third floor followed by inventory of things within the house. Thanks to the skillful hands of my hubby with his experience as house painter during his younger years! Old furnitures have become new again.
Old, unnecessary things have to go. Other things which might be useful for others were given away. We were able to discard a roomful of clothes, bags, papers, and what have yous that has remained cluttered or kept throughout the years.
Second step was re-assigning rooms of the house according to uses. And here are our new discoveries:

Views at the 3rd floor, from top:
sampayan by day, mini boxing gym,
& clear skies beyond the mango tree

Tree-top. The third and rooftop of the house serves as sampayan, afternoon hangout, sun bathing area, health and boxing gym spot for the longest time while a room that has become a semi bodega cum party/karaoke singing station was unused for the longest time. With the newly varnished papag, we realized its a place to be for summer! The result is a new room for all of us on summer nights where fresh air courtesy of a huge indian mango tree, planted right on our space beside the house, and some house and veggie plants provide. So now we have the tree-top, our airy, cool bedroom for summer nights. A room with wide windows and door open, that's why.

The 'magic mat'
which enlivens our
sala/receiving room 

Entertainment/newsroom. The ground floor has always been the place were everyone converged. With only one television set in the house, this is where the family of six watch teleseryes, sports events, movies, and catch up on news especially on Covid-19 update during the ECQ. To add good vibes to the newsroom, we decided to lay down again our colorful animal-themed puzzle mat which has been boxed and kept in the storage room for almost two years. The kiddie play mat  also serves as napping station at noon.

At the kitchen, from top:
Angeline poses by the newly
varnished cabinet, Melissa's DIY
choco caramel cake for her
quarantine b-day, no-bake carrot cake,
& no-bake lasagna
No graduation ceremony
for Michelle, here eating GG
before doing her concoctions/snack
for the day

Laboratory/invention room. Adjacent to the sala is the kitchen. During the duration of the ECQ, it has practically turned into a laboratory where food tests and gourmet inventions were done. My family's chef Michelle, who graduated from her HRM course this year san the marching ceremony, would be trying her learned recipes such as garlic buttered chicken and chicken fillet ala king -- along with other concoctions. She was somewhat disappointed when her dip made of grated carrots, all purpose cream and evap milk has turned to be a creamy carrot soup instead! The consolation was I used it as carbonara sauce the following day.
Have you tried a no-bake lasagna? We have two electric oven but we dont wan't to use it as much as possible to save on electric bill. So instead of baking my lasagna, I decided to boil it 2 minutes short as instructed. I linedup the boiled lasagna, dipped them on my tuna mixture sauce (for filling) and simmer over low heat for 45 minutes. And the result? Yummy,  soft, creamy tuna lasagna which made everybody's tummy happy!

The hiding place. Our master bedroom is big enough to acommodate two beds. We decided to divide it using a huge, customized wooden dresser to make way for our girls double decker. And the pleasant surprise? Mine and hubby's room has become the family's hiding place. Anyone  who's tired due to lack of sleep or problems come to this room to find peace and solace -- and sleep tight. The bed and the darkness of the room (when the light is turned off) are so inviting for a much needed rest and recharge. So this is the quitest part of the house. As for myself, this is my prayer room and writing room as well were I composed most of my literary pieces including this article.

Angeline joins her Ate at her
computer table

The new work-from-home
station for Mark. The spiral
staircase leads to the Tree Top. 

The working station. The newest addition to the house is our work-from-home headquarter. We used to have the computer set stationed on the first floor. But with a wide screen TV set on, it has become hard to concentrate to write or study on the ground floor. This new work-from-home  station has always been the study area of the children, especially Melissa who is  fun of reading and journal-writing. With the lockdown, my BPO worker son, Mark, has to set her internet and other gadgets for his work here. And thus we have a new working headquarter.

So we got the opportunity to stay at home and become one real family -- we only had each other and there were no distractions such as office meetings, latenight deadlines, etc. For two months, we see each other eye to eye, we listened to our stories, helped cleaned the house and do other chores together, watch TV eat, laugh, sing, dance, exercise and pray together. Indeed, we were in the best place we could be -- at home.

The ECQ has given us time to transform our house into a wonderful place to stay, a place of peace and of embrace no matter how different our personalities were.

By the way, our house isn't perfect, way beyond the ideal, because we are not well off in the first place. But we truly enjoy our 'travel' and the new-found places within.
Also, we are not a perfect family. We have our shortcomings, we had arguments, disagreements and even fights as well just like other families.

But whether on quarantine or not, virus or no virus, we intend to make our home, our family, a place of love.

Here with our Nanay & Tita Virgie

We are family...


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