At a time when big social gatherings among family and friends living separately have been discouraged, branch manager Jayvee Badile and his 12 friends just chose to literally stay together.
Badile's "quaranteam" has been living under one roof since March — from his roomy condo unit in Mandaluyong to his multistorey home in Bulacan. On their way from Manda to outside the metro that time, he and his barkada of 12 even donated relief goods to the people manning the checkpoints.
Badile's friends have since joined his family of eight and two helpers in Bulacan, filling the house with the most noise and laughter it's had. Imagine Pinoy Big Brother, but among really, really close friends accompanying each other and keeping their overall mental health in check, Badile tells PhilSTAR L!fe.
“Your family’s the most important people in your life but definitely, your friends, they have something else to offer."
A la PBB Housemates, Badile and friends enjoy various activities every evening (from food and pool parties to board games and inuman sessions). They then cap their days off in different beds in his spacious master’s bedroom.
“Every night, we have an activity kasi we’re all professionals and we need to de-stress,” he details. “I want to take care of my own mental health. I’m a branch manager of over 700 advisors and I cannot feel any insanity by any chance.”
His friends being there everyday has become his personal reminder that there's always life after work, especially with the WFH being imposed hard across many industries.
He says, “Kung mag-isa ka, hindi mo mapapansin ‘yun eh,” he adds. “Extremely we are working, but also extremely we are enjoying.”
What's his favorite moment with his new constants so far?
“There was a time na dahil kami puro party, sumasakit yung joints nung isa, yung isa nag-ha-highblood. Kaya ayun, nagdecide kami mag-juice cleanse for many days and yung iba naman, nag-no pork din,” he recalls with a laugh.
Badile's bills and other expenses may have tripled during this time, but he doesn’t mind. He says his friends, after all, have served as his support system in various facets of his life — and that in itself has no price tag.
“I have friends who are good in social media marketing, which I need at work. Kapag may mga photoshoots ako, sila ang nagse-setup. I have a writer who is a professor in FEU and an interior designer na since bago pa yung bahay ko, tinutulungan niya ako sa anong puwedeng bilhin and alagaan yung mga plants ko,” he shares. “Karamihan, mga managers ko rin sa SunLife so easy access.”
“Nung na-ospital mom ko for her appendectomy, they helped me,” he continues. “None of them has ever made me feel na ginagamit or ina-abuse yung kindness ko kasi lahat sila, they have important roles talaga. They are always there to support me.”
Badile and friends make sure to get tested for COVID-19 on a regular basis while enjoying each day as a quaranteam.
If at all, Badile likes to think he's blessed enough he's able to connect with his loved ones amid these times in more ways than one.
"Friends and family are really your strongest allies to your mental fortitude."
Photographs courtesy of Jayvee Badile