At Home With: Lessons From Our Homegirls
Cara Sumabat
At Home With: Lessons From Our Homegirls
THE UNGENTLEWOMAN - Gabbie Tatad (The Philippine Star) - June 5, 2020 - 12:00am

Three weeks ago, we launched an Instagram-exclusive series called “At Home With,” where we asked to be given a peek into how others have spent these last few months of isolation in their spaces. As such, we’ve seen brightly lit kitchens, comfy couches, sprawling living rooms, and every level of greenery imaginable. But much more than just a snapshot of their living quarters, our subjects have managed to tell their own stories by their words and illustrations; and in doing so, have shown us how they see themselves, through time spent in their home. We’ve learned some valuable lessons as we’ve gotten to know them in their intimate spaces, and here are some of our key takeaways:

Antoinette Jadaone

Acknowledge where you are and sit with it.

Photographer Colin Dancel echoes the anxiety of many, saying, “At one point, I think I was spiraling. The feeling of not doing enough for others, and at the same time, knowing that we’re all doing the best we can is something I have had problems accepting.”

Director Antoinette Jadaone also echoes a sentiment of many, saying that with everything that is going on in the world, she finds herself sitting with a lot of anger. “I am, at this moment, enraged,” she says. “Ano’ng nangyayari sa mundo?”

Shaira Luna

Meanwhile, photographer Shaira Luna tries to embrace her own nature in the midst of proverbially sitting still. “This period truly isn’t a productivity contest, so once during the early days of the ECQ, I told myself to just sit still and watch a series or a movie, or to lie down and read, but it’s nearly impossible. Even when I was young, I always seemed to have the opposite of a creative block,” says Luna. “That may not sound like a problem to some, but it’s something that starts the minute I wake and doesn’t turn off until I fall asleep. It’s like being in a speeding car with your head out the window.”

Pam Quiñones

Your space is what you make of it.

Style heavyweight Pam Quiñones talks about finding a touch of the outdoors even in a home on the 20th story of a building complex. “My husband built an herb garden in the kitchen and a vegetable patch in the patio which makes us so happy. We’ve always wanted to do that — live amongst greenery, but we were hardly ever home to tend to the plants,” she says. “Most days, I do a mental and aural vacation by playing some Latin jazz funk, and dance around the house in something tropical-inspired. It’s my way of manifesting the island life.”

The Nude Floor’s Shayna Cua talks about how, prior to quarantine, she only ever went home to eat or sleep, and never spent much time in her living room. It’s since become the nucleus of her artistic expression, where she does most of her dancing, training and learning.

Cara Sumabat of Halo Halo shares her version of movement, which is literally rearranging furniture. “I tend to change things up every moon phase. Every movement helps signal that time is moving, and that we aren’t stuck. Time isn’t fixed just because of the pandemic. We need to realize that the world hasn’t stopped. Life is still happening.”

Create a work-life balance that works for you, not the other way around.

CAN Creative Capital creative director and former editor Anna Canlas talks about the importance of boundaries, saying, “Rituals are important. Such as keeping my phone in a drawer at night, and making pour-over coffee or cold brew first thing in the morning. They signal the end and start times of my day.” She adds that she writes a checklist of two to five things she wants to accomplish within the day, in “day-tight compartments” as recommended by Dale Carnegie in the book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.

Luna is a fan of the list as well, saying, “I usually jot down ideas and tasks in a general checklist and go through them at my own pace, but with as much discipline as I can.” She also said she’s adjusted from her pre-pandemic waking hour of 3:30 a.m. to a slightly later 5:30 a.m., and has created a schedule for shooting that she says is patterned “around the times that the sunlight enters different parts of the house.”

Thea De Rivera of 12/10 has assigned her peak working hours to afternoons. She and her husband have experimented with the best way to take their brand of creative dining to others, apart from offering takeaway cuisine. “We stayed true to staying thirsty for growth, knowledge and creativity in our temporary COVID-19 operations,” she says, but also insists on good coffee breaks. She ends her day the best way, saying, “Dinner prep with good music and a glass of wine is therapeutic.”

Time spent on yourself is not time wasted.

Canlas says that the structure she creates for herself is to protect her free time, and invests in herself wisely. “There is nothing like taking a break outside in nature to give you back ownership of your thoughts,” she says.

Sumabat expresses her shift from pressuring herself into productivity and into one that gives herself more room. “At the start of the quarantine, I really challenged myself to keep the same schedule and routine. But now after learning and practicing the art of doing nothing, I am embracing the time that we’re given,” she says. “If there’s anything we have learned during this quarantine period, it is that things can wait.”

Examine your impact.

Jadaone says that the time spent in quarantine has left her questioning what makes a worthy story, after a career of telling mostly love stories. “Ang hirap magsulat ng love story sa panahon ngayon. Dapat may sasabihing iba bukod sa pag-ibig. Oo, dapat nagmamahal tayo palagi, pero sa ngayon, hindi lang tayo dapat nagmamahal lang. Nagmamatyag din. Nagagalit. Nagtatanong.” She adds, however, that she’s taken the time to read the work of other directors and writers and wants to support giving life to their narratives. “Hindi tayo dapat mapigil magkwento. Hindi man tayo frontliners, pero now more than ever, mahalaga rin ang mga kwentong mabubuo natin. Kwento natin ito sa panahong ito.”

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Follow us on Instagram at @itsonYSTYLE.

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