Life at New Normal : Women of Substance

Life At New ‘Normal’ : Women of Substance

Life at New ‘Normal’ the running series of quarantine stories, looking at how human beings are adapting as their lives continue to confront the Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic continues. Our previous interviews have featured bachelors and well respected men of the society who were willing to share their thoughts and provide insights on some of the most pressing topics in the Philippines today.

This batch of interviewees, we are about to read inspirational confessions from women who have strong personalities. Tackle the importance of innovation and secrets of staying in line with your goal despite the uncertainty brought by the pandemic.  These women are bound to go beyond the usual in order to survive, protect their loved ones and keep things together no matter what.

In order to share a wider range of understanding, This feature focuses on 2 essential firms and professions lead by women, to discuss timely issues in no particular order:

  • Entrepreneurs Conquering New ‘Normal’
  • Travel Blogger  Under Quarantine

As the country continues to redevelop under the various changing quarantine protocols and restrictions, I believe now is the perfect time to consider the evolving practices of how we function as human beings, needless to say reflect on our purpose.

Allow this batch of honest interview to enlighten us with what’s really going on beyond the press from the stories told by real people. Below are questions I have personally prepared and purely raw answers by some of the Esteemed Women in the Philippines.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the interviewees and do not necessarily reflect the policies or position of Hugging Horizons ™ .  Any content provided by our interviewees are of their opinion and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual , anyone or anything at all.

 

Entrepreneurs Conquering New ‘Normal’

Marie Gutierrez | Entrepreneur

Life at New Normal : Women of Substance

Marie Gutierrez. A sheltered seed planted in a sheltered container in a town in Central Luzon Philippines, Marie grew into a little plant — a hippy, hoppy, happy one. As a young girl, she was considered bright, creative, and confident. Not ironically, she emerged a timid crafter, graphic designer, proprietress of underground restaurant Burrow Café at Antipolo Beehouse. Flourishing (despite a worldwide pandemic) alongside her husband and their four kids (why so many), Marie is found sometimes picnicking (in the middle of a hike), sometimes crafting, and always thinking up ways of making her little home slash café a funner place.
She is currently at home (like we all are) making calligraphy art on paper with with ink and nib and dreams to sell her prints everywhere.

 

  1. What is the current situation of Business industries in the Philippines today?

If I could use a metaphor… Have you seen Princess Mononoke (Studio Ghibli)? I would liken businesses in the Philippines to the Forest God in that movie, unable to stand up because its too tall, limbs are too long yet it is too weak — its arms and legs keep getting cut off, as it tries to stand. All kinds of business are going through a LOT – mainly in Food, Tourism, and Education sectors. In these areas, business owners are simply forced to cut down, go smaller, to simply survive. When I hear news that Big Businesses like Jollibee is closing a lot of shops, it may mean they are shifting gears, but not necessarily ending. It means they are reinventing their ways of doing business, focusing on smaller clusters of people rather than encouraging huge crowd. It could even mean changing your line of work all together.

 

  1. Effects of the Pandemic in your business today?

Again using a comparison — If the Pandemic were a theme park, our business has been through a rollercoaster ride and I hope we never have to enter the Night Train. Burrow Café is a only a small business with one branch, and has been around for only 2 years, and being a destination restaurant we really have odds stacked against us. From ECQ we needed to stop dine-in service and needed to quickly be able to accommodate take-aways with a smaller team. Then under GCQ, we resumed operating on 50% capacity, and small weddings, and maintained our takeaways. All through it we were able to maintain leaner and more efficient team. We’ve all had to lean on each other with each wave of closure we’ve experienced, and are stronger and more resilient for it.

 

  1. What New ‘Normal’ Practices do you think will stay even after the Pandemic?

I hope New Normal practices of making from home, learning from home, keeping a healthy mind/body from home stay. I miss being with others, but I really grew to appreciate, even relish, the slower pace. Growing food from cans, pots and bottles, wherever. Sharing with others. Leaning on your neighbors, while enjoying the company of a few, and reaching out to each other from afar. Thank God for internet, zoom, and meaningful ways of online interaction. I gotta say, Washing of Hands MUST survive as a New Normal too.

 

4. Secrets you wish to share in surviving the business in the new ‘normal’?

At Burrow Café our secret is simple: Enjoy the Work and Sincerely Provide the Service. It’s cliché but TBH (to be honest), we are like monkeys swinging from emotion to emotion these days and sincerity and hard work are values we can all universally relate to which really ground us as a team. Yes, it is stressful. Yes, it is confusing, even challenging. BUT it is also a lot of fun learning new ways of thriving and not merely surviving. Hell, even fighting with each other can be a fun and healthy activity. Stay fluid, creative, and keep tantrums under a leash. Remember you are human and can die anyday — so live, love, dance and laugh your head off when things get too serious. We could hopefully create a new breed of a cheerful, kinder and more flexible human there ever was by simply lifting each other up — but in order to do so we must we lift ourselves out of funks ourselves, first.

Personally, breathing while London Bridge is Falling Down is a New Normal practice for me. Learning to take the hard moments and place them in a container (figuratively), then proceeding to move forward constructively while wrangling a smile is a good trick I’m perfecting at the moment.

Entrepreneurs Conquering New ‘Normal’

Anja Rivera | Entrepreneur

Anja Rivera is the Chief Executive Officer of The Millennial Marketing and The Gift Shop. Marketing Manager of Mrs. Wharton and Spa Riviera Prime.

Anja Rivera. A young entrepreneur based in the City of love –Iloilo. She is the Chief Executive Officer of The Millennial Marketing and The Gift Shop. Marketing Manager of Mrs. Wharton and Spa Riviera Prime. 

1. What is the current situation of Business industries in the Philippines today? 

 Businesses big and small are suffering. Fast fashion brands like Forever 21 and Victoria’s secret are now bankrupt. Titans like Jollibee and Zara have decided to close down stores and layoff some of their work force. However, e-commerce giants like Amazon and Alibaba continue to endure and increase their fortunes. This “new normal” situation today has not been favorable to most markets but some businesses managed to find a way to survive. Although several businesses are going down, other companies decided to innovate causing a boom in their industry.

 

2. Effects of the Pandemic in your business today? 

Mrs. Wharton utilized social media as our platform for marketing to continue serving our products to our patrons. As for Spa Riviera Prime, we had to comply with local ordinances that concerned curfew, operating hours, social distancing, disinfection and use of protective equipment which led to a decrease in our usual number of clients per day. Most people were afraid of covid through contact or contamination but after going into GCQ, the situation improved and people are adapting to the new normal. My company, The Millennial Marketing, a digital marketing company, was born during the height of the pandemic. Today, everything is digital and i foresaw how the world will be especially with 5G being introduced and the increasing number of online users. The millennial Marketing is picking up momentum and has a bright future ahead of it.

 

3. What New ‘Normal’ Practices do you think will stay even after the Pandemic?

People will continue to be more health conscious and will continue to practice proper hygiene and sanitation.

 

4. Secrets you wish to share in surviving the business in the new ‘normal’? 

Innovation.

Travel Blogging Under Quarantine

Elal Lasola | Travel Blogger and Photographer

Elal Lasola is a travel writer and photographer who embarked on traveling; a year after graduating college, in the hope to experience and capture what is raved and not raved about. At 28, she has won awards from contests such as the 2017 Batanes Photo Contest (Winner), 2016 Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie’s ‘Windows of the City’ Photo Competition (Jury Prize Winner), 2015 Philippine Blogging Awards - Best PhotoBlog (Finalist), DPP's KLM On Assignment Barcelona Photo Contest (Second Place), 2013 Zooperb Shots On-the-spot Photo Contest (First Place), and 2013 Asian Traveler Magazine Photo Contest (First Place).She is currently a travel insider for Choose Philippines, blogs her travels at www.elaljanelasola.com, and portfolio at portfolio.elaljanelasola.com.

Elal Lasola is a travel writer and photographer who embarked on traveling; a year after graduating college, in the hope to experience and capture what is raved and not raved about. At 28, she has won awards from contests such as the 2017 Batanes Photo Contest (Winner), 2016 Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie’s ‘Windows of the City’ Photo Competition (Jury Prize Winner), 2015 Philippine Blogging Awards – Best PhotoBlog (Finalist), DPP’s KLM On Assignment Barcelona Photo Contest (Second Place), 2013 Zooperb Shots On-the-spot Photo Contest (First Place), and 2013 Asian Traveler Magazine Photo Contest (First Place).She is currently a travel insider for Choose Philippines, blogs her travels at www.elaljanelasola.com, and portfolio at portfolio.elaljanelasola.com.

 

1 .What is the current situation of the Travel Blogging industry today?

Everything is on pause right now. But I continue to hope that one day it will get better and appreciate the ample time spent with my family which does not happen that often on normal circumstances.

 

2. Effects of the anti-terrorism law in your profession?

I believe that a plan is only as good as its execution. That is why I am seriously taking this topic with a grain of salt. I value the principle behind it but fear for the abuse of its implementation. For now, we wait and see but remain critical especially with the vast information fed by social media nowadays.

 

3. The role of an online personality/ content creator in the Philippines today?

The community quarantine has taken me to another level of introspection which led me to discover a lot of learning that I have continued apply. I slowly let go of things that are out of my control, I cultivate genuine relationships and only follow social media accounts that serves authentic news and add value to the over-all well being. And that is the aura I want to be influenced and the same aura I want to spread — positivisty but not toxic enough that we neglect to remain critical thinkers.

 

4. Secrets you wish to share in surviving the business of media in the new ‘normal’?

I think that by continually doing what I love has helped me surpass these trying times. I still take time to do photography even at the comforts of home or the nearby places in my home province. I drag myself to read and enrich what I already know so that if I maybe given a chance to speak, I would impart something worthwhile that hopefully would benefit others.

This batch of quarantine stories end here.

Are you interested to read more stories like this? Check other recently published articles about “Life at New ‘Normal’ ” below:

Life at New ‘Normal’ : A Wise Man’s Master Plan

Life at New ‘Normal’ : Bachelor Gets Real

We are bound to read more of confessions on how human beings adapt to these challenging era in the coming months. An official Facebook page was created to gather relevant stories on Life at New ‘Normal’ . Expect more honest interviews to enlighten us with what’s really going on beyond the press from the stories told by real people.

To these well respected women of the society, in behalf of our readers, I would like to extend my warm gratitude for giving this platform the chance to see and grasp various views of Life at The New ‘Normal’, through your personal experiences. May we all one day look back and see this era as something that has inspired us to be in the service of the greater good.

Thank you so much everyone for your valuable time. If you find this article useful, feel free to share this to your friends and family. Stay home as much as possible. Don’t forget to whisper a little prayer before you go to bed tonight. Stay safe and sane. See you all on the road soon.

 

Sincerely yours,

Levy Amosin

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