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May 13, 2020

Keeping The Spark Alive

Keeping The Spark Alive

When the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) broke out in the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte placed Luzon under an Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) and the rest of the country under a state of calamity to control the spread of infections. Under the quarantine order, classes were suspended, most businesses were shuttered, all forms of transportation were halted, while millions of Filipinos were forced indoors.

At home, millions are adjusting to a new way of life. Consumers are turning to online shopping portals for their purchases and groceries, food delivery apps for meals and cravings, and online streaming services like YouTube and Netflix for their daily entertainment fix. But in the midst of all these changes, arguably the aspect of life most affected and most inconvenienced was our relationships: our familial bonds, romantic links and treasured friendships.

Since the lockdowns have started, parents and children have been forced apart, either by choice or circumstance, as young adults working in Metro Manila have been locked in the capital while their parents and siblings are struck in the provinces. For people in romance, the ECQ and the transportation shutdown that followed have forced couples into long-distance relationships. Meanwhile, friendships were also strained as social gatherings like hangouts and get-togethers were indefinitely banned. As the physical divides widen, our most fundamental relationships are at risk of falling apart.

Fortunately, more Filipinos are turning to technology solutions as a reliable bridge to make sure that bonds remain strong even during this pandemic. The prevalence of smartphones, the internet and modern technology has made it easier for people to make voice calls to loved ones, text and chat messages to instantly connect with friends, and video calling apps to see and hear your significant other real-time, even halfway across the globe! And beyond the constant stream of updates and memes from our Facebook timelines, daily Instagram stories, and the quick, snappy routines videos via TikTok, there are myriad other ways that tech tools are making life under quarantine more bearable.

Even when our beloved family is not physically present, internet connection and consumer electronics allow us to simultaneously enjoy our favorite shows: via Netflix, of course. Binge-watching has never been this good or this easy. Should you prefer to text or chat while watching a show, just install Netflix Party in your Google Chrome browser. If you want to see mom and dad’s faces, hop on to Skype or FaceTime and make sure to countdown to when you should each press “play.”

Who says lockdowns must be spent alone? Take your partner in virtual-themed dates via Zoom, or pick up something new as you exchange pointers, listening and learning a skill or two like chess, sewing, drawing, or cooking, from each other during hour-long conversations.

Gather the gang and battle each other in mobile games like Mobile Legends or Call of Duty: Mobile. A more immersive barkada gaming experience awaits when you pick one from the thousands of games playable via PC, PlayStation 4, X-Box One, Nintendo Switch or via Oculus Rift consoles. You can talk on the phone or through Discord while playing, or even convince each other to finally hop on the Animal Crossing bandwagon.

 In times where physical barriers and enormous distances are keeping us apart, home is where everything happens. So it’s good to know that at home, technology solutions — made possible with Smart’s strong connections — will make sure that our loved ones will always be within easy reach, all the time.

 Visit for more information. You may also check out the hashtag #StaySmart on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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