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A monologue with Covid

By TWEETIE DE LEON-GONZALEZ Published Oct 05, 2020 5:00 pm

Oh, COVID. I don’t really know what to make of you. You are a nasty, pesky, ugly bug that has turned the whole world upside down. And continue to do so with no end in sight.

March was the month you exploded onto our shores, a much anticipated month that bears witness to many special highlights in our family’s lives. My birthday, for one. My doppelganger son’s, too (two!). And for this year, on your Philippine debut, our bright 25th silver wedding anniversary, which you astonishingly dulled in no time.

In less than a week, the whole country was on lockdown. All of us, whose lives were abruptly upended, lived our days in fear of the unknown — which mostly was about you and the future. Everyone was forced to make adjustments in their circumstances to protect themselves and their loved ones from your unwelcome presence. While others — medical and essential workers — had to expose themselves and thus put their lives on the line for severely ailing strangers.

As best we could, my family stood in solidarity with these dedicated souls from a distance, by staying out of the way, by keeping healthy, holed up in our space, in our little community, all while watching out for each other.

Simba, Tweetie’s Chow-Chow, fell ill during lockdown


As days went by and the feeling of panic everywhere was mounting, anxiety, to which I am quite prone, started to overwhelm me, resulting in either sleepless nights or nightly teeth grinding, leading subsequently to a dental emergency.

News of rising positive cases and deaths were hitting closer to home than we ever imagined and wanted, causing due paranoia. Never was I a hypochondriac, but I genuinely thought I was periodically partying with your posse of symptoms: general headache, dry throat, uneasy tummy — all of which, by the way, are clear manifestations of stress and anxiety. Add to those my deep concern over our beloved Simba, a canine family member, who fell quite ill with various complicated ailments and required immediate and extended medical attention. They were all wearing me down.

On the business front, I wondered daily how to move forward with TdLG, my passion brand of jewelry and fun accessories. Clearly there was no need for non-essential pieces at this time when everyone was evidently focused on basic health needs over frivolous finds. Its continued existence seemed grim. I was morose.


On the other hand, while you may have successfully kept friends away from each other, COVID, you likewise unwittingly glued families together. More than ever, my children, husband and I prayed fervently and appreciated deeply what it meant to be a family. We became each other’s anchors with everyone doing their best to keep the home spirited and alive. It was pure joy to have complete family meals garnished with serious, enlightening and mostly comical chatter ALL.THE.TIME.

Slow days generally defined what quarantine life was all about, but we meant to disprove the general belief somehow. My boys found their hustle in learning how to cook paella and selling to eager and appreciative friends and neighbors. My daughter discovered an interest in cooking and worked on perfecting (and eventually selling) our favorite family fare: homemade pizza! She, too, accidentally developed an entrepreneurial spirit. The parents, aka the financiers, couldn’t be prouder.


In the meantime, to avert disquietude, I revisited my existing little hobbies — and some — to improve on. I dusted off my overly rested camera, dreaming about getting better with my grind, and practiced on our plants and dogs, who were my only willing participants.

When they grew tired and finally surrendered, I brought out my pointed pens and ink to exercise calligraphy strokes, even taking online classes to learn new styles of writing. I was pretty happy with the results, so I was motivated to explore new creative outlets while on this artsy streak.

Resin art has been a point of curiosity for me for a while now. It was a good time to learn and experiment, so I did. Slowly, I gathered lacking tools and solutions, as there was more than enough grit to complete the equation and fire up the adventure.

Dabbling in resin art, calligraphy and photography while on this artsy streak

Speaking to my contractor husband, I asked for wood scraps from job sites to use with my newfound medium and (kindly) enticed him with a collaborative partnership on the side. It was a pretty cut-and-dried kind of proposal, I think. We shook hands and the TdLG Home x Conmech Construction collab of repurposed wood and resin trays was born.


The fashion industry, having taken a severe beating from the economic slowdown, proved its undeniable mettle and resilience with quick calls to action among designers, artists, professionals and creatives for comradeship and unanimity.

The movement gained traction and continued to spread far and wide across the nation, giving awareness and a much-deserved spotlight to artisans and craftsmen working to sustain our heritage and culture. Loyalty to locally designed and made products was the championed — and, I daresay successful ­— battle cry. The Fashion Accessories Makers of the Philippines (FAMph), of which I am a part, was formed and is under the umbrella organization of the Philippine Fashion Coalition (PFC). Both continue to pursue the goals by which they have been founded: to help lift one another through these troubled times and beyond.

Other partners such as Katutubo x Bench and MaArte x Zalora are proving instrumental to the rebuilding and restructuring of local commerce by providing new platforms with unique and responsible trade practices that highlight and showcase Philippine designs. These new norms may remain the industry standards, but we can all agree this is a generous and welcome start.


COVID, in your wrath, you cursed all peoples with your dreaded brand of disease, but ultimately healed humanity. United are all the people, though separated by distance, each from their own homes, in relearning new ways to cope with life… but now with much more compassion, concern, empathy and kindness. We fully understand that all our thoughts and actions affect those around us, and that we remain well only when others are.

We pray fervently daily and keep devoted to our faith, not only for our own family’s deliverance but also for everyone. Your malevolence has most certainly turned each one of us into little heroes for one another.