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#SeatizenSunday Stay-in Series: Deign, Cza, and Jeck

The global COVID-19 pandemic has had major impacts on education, waste management, and tourism. This Sunday, we catch up with biology instructor Deign Soriano, NGO worker Cza Constantino, and tourism officer Jeck Lacson to see how they're coping and adapting. Fun fact: all three seatizens are SEA Camp alumni!

Deign Soriano, Biology Instructor, UP Baguio

How has COVID-19 affected your work?

School has been suspended for most of the semester. We have been on break since March second week. Faculty meetings and student consultations migrated online. There's also been a moratorium for fieldwork.

What's been keeping you busy?

Although classes have ended already, faculty members are still working from the comforts of their home, including myself. I have a research project deadline by the end of May and I have been writing several articles for publication. I am also working for a task force initiated by my university in tracking and assisting stranded students in our city because of the pandemic.

What are you looking forward to the most?

Teaching in person (which is very unlikely given our situation). Fieldworks.

What new skill did you learn or old skill did you pick up again (if any)?

Lately, I started writing portions of a novel that I started writing way back in high school. I also started learning how to use Adobe InDesign and Photoshop. I am also mastering my skills in video editing.

How have you been taking care of yourself?

I make sure that I get short breaks from work. What I do is that whenever my laptop is down to its 20% charge, I take 20 minute-breaks and then I resume working once may laptop is charged. I watch cooking videos and TEDEd videos online and recently been listening to Science podcasts. I also deactivate my social media accounts once in a week so that I can reset.

Czarina Constantino, National Lead, No Plastics in Nature, WWF Philippines

How has COVID-19 affected your work?

It clicked the pause button for everyone’s work and increased budget allotment for internet connection. Fieldwork has been suspended and we had to work from home.

The situation pushed us to innovate ways to adapt to the “new normal” which has been challenging especially when your work requires you to travel to remote communities without internet connection. We have shifted our project work plan twice, and now focusing on implementing things virtually.

What's been keeping you busy (work/non-work)?

For work, I have been busy with projects I can implement virtually for the No Plastics in Nature initiative including the WWF’s Study on Extended Producer Responsibility scheme assessment for Plastic Packaging Waste in the Philippines and Plastic Smart Cities’ innovation program. This also gave us an opportunity to take a step back and review the Philippine targets for achieving the vision of no plastic in nature by 2030.

Personally, I have been busy educating myself through online courses, taking care of my two lovely dogs, being a virtually supportive partner, and increasing my family’s appreciation of bokashi composting. It has been rewarding to see my mom and brother transition from just observing me to actually practicing bokashi with me. 

What are you looking forward to the most?

I look forward to seeing people personally, being outdoors, and spending time in communities. Staying at home for the past months has taught me to making the most out of moments with family, friends, and communities. I look forward to all handshakes, hugs, and personal connections with people I cherish.

What new skill did you learn or old skill did you pick up again (if any)?

I guess I learned the skill of taking care of myself by sleeping more, reading non-work related books, exercising, and even putting on moisturizer. Haha 

How have you been taking care of yourself? Any self-care tips?

I deactivated my Facebook account this lockdown to reduce negativity from people’s posts. Transitioning to working virtually, this gave me the opportunity to live more in the real world.

My tip is to watch something that will make you happy from time to time. The goal is for us to smile or even laugh which will definitely make this situation lighter. Wag lang masobrahan.

Jeck Lacson, Sipalay Tourism Officer, City of Sipalay

How has COVID-19 affected your work?

The pandemic completely changed our work. We were supposed to have our city charter fiesta last March and the 1st Philippines National Kite Festival. From festival organizers, we became frontline workers where our job now is to assist distressed and stranded foreign nationals in Sipalay.

What’s been keeping you busy (work/non-work)?

Aside from assisting stranded foreigners for their repatriation trips, medications, and other special needs, we are working on the recovery and rehabilitation of our local tourism industry specifically reviewing strategies and plans to assist affected tourism stakeholders through alternative livelihood program and preparing for the ‘new normal’ and the post-pandemic tourism.

What are you looking forward to the most?

Of course other than the release of a CoViD19 vaccine, I’m looking forward for the ‘new normal’ in the tourism industry. As one of the hardest-hit sectors and since tourism is the major foundation of our city’s economy, we need to work hard to help our stakeholders slowly get up and creatively and safely revive the local tourism industry.


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