Here’s How I’m Surviving The Quarantine

By: Gena Esperanza, Program Manager

Staying at home is a natural inclination and an appealing setup for introverts like me. What a joy!

Staying at home the whole day for two whole months make a big difference to this habit, though. Striking a balance between recharging and socializing is key to emotional and mental health, and each person has a unique approach with a certain phase that works for them in achieving these. How do you strike the balance and survive the struggle during a quarantine? What worked for me?

Being mindful

I fervently monitored news about the COVID-19 pandemic until it became overwhelming. While it is good to be in the know as news is steadily spewn across all forms of media, it is crucial to be mindful of what we consume because it strongly affects our overall outlook. Remembering  “observe, don’t absorb,” a technique by psychotherapist Ross Rosenberg, helped a lot when thoughts and worries about the health and safety of the world crept in. From then on, I limited the periods and the sources of my news intake: before and after work-from-home (WFH) hours, and only from CNN Philippines for trustworthy updates.

Filtering social media feed has also served me well, particularly on Facebook and Instagram where I’m active. Posting activity of people substantially swelled during the quarantine, and posts were a flurry of article sharings and personal opinions with varying moods and tones. I took time to review who I followed, guided by the thought of “does this person serve me the facts or the energy I need during this time?” I then unfollowed those who didn’t. Digital detox!

Looking sharp (with power earrings!) to feel the WFH vibe

Looking sharp (with power earrings!) to feel the WFH vibe

Being intentional
TeamAsia prepared well for business continuity and for a seamless transition to WFH setup. While our home had spaces conducive to working, productivity was a hit-or-miss challenge. Our physical office setup feeds the mindset and the discipline of my working momentum, and not being there required me to be more intentional in keeping the productivity alive. This entailed changes to my weekday routine: I started each day early at 7:00 AM (or earlier sometimes) to have breakfast and freshen up in time for our team check-in and company pop-up from 8:30 AM to 9:15 AM. I wore casual clothes fit for summer instead of pambahay to avoid the feel of lounging around and so that I’m presentable for those rare video calls! For output and time management, I paired a written checklist with our online timesheet.

My daily WFH essentials: Checklist, water, and motivation

My daily WFH essentials: Checklist, water, and motivation

Outside WFH hours, my personal time is divided among family, friends, fitness, and faith. With the quarantine setup, proactivity was crucial to maintain relationships and routines. I had to be intentional in spending quality moments with my family, scheduling catch-ups virtually with my friends, working out through guided fitness videos, and devoting time for prayer and reflection. Weekly video calls and regular yoga practice were activities that greatly helped curb anxiety and sustain sanity throughout the prolonged quarantine.

Being grateful
Coping with the COVID-19 crisis was certainly challenging in every imaginable aspect for everyone, but what struck me the most was the value of being grateful – always, all ways. Grateful for safety and provision. Grateful for the service of frontliners all over the world. Grateful for the outpouring of help and of hope from various sources. Grateful for the opportunities to reach out and to extend kindness, even from the confines of our homes.

Watching the sunset was a habit I immensely enjoyed over the course of quarantine since our daily hustle normally kept us in the office beyond the sunset hour. It became a regular reminder that despite what’s happening outside and no matter how your day went, there’s still beauty at the end.

One of our internal Zoom meetings, where we exchange bright and shiny energy virtually!

One of our internal Zoom meetings, where we exchange bright and shiny energy virtually!

An attitude of gratitude made a world of difference – I wouldn’t have survived the quarantine without it.

Five films to catch up on during the ECQ

By Elton James Gagni, Senior Editorial Associate

Since the enhanced community quarantine took effect, we’ve gotten creative with our ways of coping. While work from home keeps us busy most of the time, we also need to learn to set boundaries as we continue to tread uncharted waters.

As the saying goes, it takes 21 days to develop a habit. Well, it has certainly been more and for me, it’s watching at least one film after work just to cleanse and relax my mind from writing articles and handling a crisis. Here are some recommendations that I keep coming back to and hopefully, these titles would help you laugh a little, outstress you from work, tease your mind, or simply keep your feelings in check.

I’m Drunk, I Love You (2017)


As far as mainstream Filipino romantic comedies go, I’m Drunk, I Love You shies away from the usual grand gestures and dramatic lines, and ultimately keeps it fresh, real, and simple. It captivates you to be part of the fun and also aspire to have the kind of friendship that they have. It may be one of the most chill romcoms out there in terms of narrative and storytelling, but it still packs a punch with their hugot lines, tucked in nicely between moments and conversations.

Interstellar (2014)


Our natural curiosity towards the unknown is what keeps Interstellar relevant up to this day. While we’ve had numerous features on space exploration, no other film has done it as much justice as Interstellar. Set during a time when the Earth is slowly succumbing to death, it tackles the lengths that a parent would go to keep their children safe, and let them have a brighter future, even if it’s on another planet. 

Coco (2017)


While everyone loves Frozen, let’s not forget Coco and its take on family and traditions. Set during the Mexican celebration of the Day of the Dead, this film focuses on Miguel’s journey to become a musician, even if it’s against his family. Finding himself in the land of the dead, Miguel must now search for a way to come back and still pursue music or risk being one of the dead permanently. Also, prepare for waterworks, especially when Remember Me finally kicks in.

Your Name (Kimi No Na Wa) (2016)


Considered as one of Japan’s most successful animated films, Your Name perfectly combines the beauty of Japanese animation, an unconventional love story, and superb musical scoring. Your Name is about highschool students Mitsuha and Taki who have recurring incidents of switching bodies when they wake up. While they’ve grown fond of living each other’s lives, what happens when it suddenly stops after a meteor crash?

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)


I believe we can all agree that Thor: Ragnarok is one of the best, if not the best, non-Avengers film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Why is this part of the list? Well, here are five amazing reasons: (1) Chris Hemsworth as MCU’s resident funny man Thor; (2) Tom Hiddleston as the sly and shady Loki; (3) Tessa Thompson as the drunk kickass Valkyrie; (4) the one and only Cate Blanchett as the Goddess of Death Hela; (5) Taika Waititi. Enough said.

While five may be a short list, here are some honorable mentions that are also worth going back to:

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)


The struggle of adapting books to screen has always been the faithfulness to the source material. Luckily, the silver screen version of The Hunger Games did not disappoint, but the most praise-worthy is the second film, Catching Fire. If you’ve read the book, you’d be amazed at how each scene pans out. It’s as if you see the pages flipping right before your eyes. From the Victory Tour to Katniss’ wedding dress reveal, even the entire 75th Quarter Quell, everything was perfect to a tee.

The Devil Wears Prada (2006)


From one adaptation to another, The Devil Wears Prada gives you a glance of what happens in the fashion industry, on the surface at the very least. From Miranda Priestly’s (Meryl Streep) eloquence to the overall story and production, the film has earned praises from critics for improving on the book. While Anne Hathaway was one of the lead stars, it was Streep and Emily Blunt who took home praises for their effective and scene-stealing performances.

Parasite (2019)


Fresh from its winning streak, Parasite feels like a timely film to watch, given the social commentary it presents. For those unfamiliar, Parasite tells the story of how an impoverished family climbs the social ladder by latching on to a rich family, until the consequences of their actions come to haunt them. Fiction as it may be, many see the film as a reflection of society and the invisible lines we’ve created to divide ourselves in classes, dictating privileges, opportunities, even our respective futures.

Four Sisters and a Wedding (2013)


From a Korean family, let’s meet the Salazars who the Philippines is most proud of. Four Sisters and a Wedding continues to resonate with the people’s hearts because of its accurate portrayal of the complex relationships of a typical Filipino family. Mixed with different quirks and nuances, it balanced out comedic banters and big dramatic moments. It is an emotional and cheesy journey with a strong semblance of family at its core.

BuyBust (2018)


Finally, a film that I’m extremely proud of because it’s the first time that my dad didn’t fall asleep in the cinema. BuyBust is a social commentary on the administration’s war on drugs, showcased through a buy bust operation gone wrong. Similar to Parasite, BuyBust presents a fictional reality that holds water because of the short but powerful exchange between Nina Manigan (Anne Curtis) and Biggie Chen (Arjo Atayde). Why is it on the list? Because of its relevant message and also for the adrenaline junkies out there.

Watching films or reading books offer you an opportunity to be transported to different worlds, places, and narratives. Just like music, they can be a form of escape, a way to disconnect from reality even for just an hour or two, and relieve you of the stress or pressure that you feel from work.

We may have different ways of coping, especially in the midst of this pandemic, but the important thing is we keep ourselves and the people around us in check. And with the relentless heat of the summer season taking over, always remember to keep your water bottle close to stay hydrated while you add these films to your watchlist.

Looking Forward to the End

By: Justin Carlo Estor, Senior Digital Associate

When you watch a movie or your favorite TV show, you sometimes find yourself trying to guess how it will end: will good win over evil? Will the true villain reveal itself? Will there be a part two? In the case of this pandemic, however, what you really long for is a happy ending, and you want it  to come as soon as possible.

As a TeamAsian, you tend to overlook the daily musings of everyday work life: making sure the elevator reaches the 18th floor before 9:01 a.m., figuring out where to get your lunch, thinking if  you wanna walk to CENA (arguably the office’s top foodie destination) or if you just wanna order from FoodPanda, and even considering whether or not you need to go overtime for a deck or if you can pull it off tomorrow. These things are usually part of a possibly tiring cycle as a TeamAsian. However, this cycle isn’t something we get to experience today anymore – and it’s a cycle that, in my opinion, we’d surprisingly welcome to go back to soon.

The people you can call home inside the office

The people you can call home inside the office

We also want to go back to our office mates feeding us (Erika <3 Aire)

We also want to go back to our office mates feeding us (Erika ❤ Aire)

Apart from that, I think it’s a general feeling that people even in other organizations are experiencing right now:

“I miss the office.”

“I miss going out.”

“I miss eating at restaurants.”

“I miss talking to people… face-to-face.”

I miss hugging sad officemates, too (Don’t be sad, Darell)

I miss hugging sad officemates, too (Don’t be sad, Darell)

Some of these things you may have taken for granted when everything was still normal. Now, we’re stepping into what people call the “new normal” –  physical distancing, curfews, paranoid hand washing, and whatever you consider as a precaution in this pandemic.

Still, you can’t help but still wish for things to go back to the way they used to be, and a part of me is saying that it will.

Instead of hating being stuck at home, we’ll go back to ranting about long traffic lines.

Instead of hating on eating the same home-cooked meals, we’ll go back to getting mildly disappointed for wrong restaurant orders and gently asking for the correct dish, which is the one you ordered.

Instead of hating on becoming physically distant, we’ll instead chat about that one friend that forgot to pay their share on the bar tab.

Instead of hating on figuring out what to watch, we’ll go back to struggling to book a flight during a seat sale, but still being excited about the entire trip you’re planning.

Office Rant #43: “Why can’t this be an email?”

And once we’re back to ranting on all the things we seemingly dislike, we’ll realize that we actually loved these instances. Because, let’s face it, it really is easy to take most things for granted – especially when even the simplest forms of freedom are taken away from you. It’s safe to say that we now have a newfound appreciation for things we’re actually privileged to have – from being able to hang out with friends and officemates to simply being able to go outside.

I imagine myself, sitting back in my office chair, smiling after internally complaining about fully booked meeting rooms, water dispensers that go empty fast, and excruciatingly long meetings then thinking:

“We finally made it to the end. Things are back to normal. We can already start anew.”

So if you ask me, I’ll choose that cycle anytime over this pandemic, and I’ll be forever thankful once it’s over.

I’m really looking forward to it.

What binds us together

By Mayren Guico, Karen Mantukay, and Riely Monte, Content Interns

As the pandemic halted the world and changed the daily lives of people, we now experience the new world as the Enhanced Community Quarantine was announced and enacted. While others are sacrificing their lives to heal and protect the people from the virus, others are blessed to be working from home, away from the dangers of the pandemic. Working remotely has given not just employees but also interns a chance to continue their work life while ensuring that they are safe and with the comfort of their families.

Some are not as lucky to have the opportunity to work from home. But thanks to TeamAsia, we still get to learn and keep brands alive at the safety of our homes. Everything is exactly the same–the only difference is that we don’t get to see each other physically, and bond together like we do every now and then in the office.

Now that we’re on our 10th week of the work from home setup, we came to better understand what exactly binds TeamAsians together despite not being physically together. This very reason is also why we find motivation in waking up every morning, making coffee, and bracing ourselves for a fruitful day to connect with our colleagues and give our best shot as we usher to this new normal.

Every morning we look forward to our morning pop ups. It’s like a daily check in to see what we’ve been up to at home and how we’re coping with the current set up. It’s fifteen minutes of sharing and chatting with TeamAsians to ensure that even though we’re not physically together, we are never apart at heart. Aside from it being the perfect boost to our every morning, it also displays the kind of company TeamAsia is–that despite being not physically together, it’s not a hindrance to keep the company intact and motivated to face the day with vigor and gusto. Nobody is left out. Everyone is checked up by one another, because this is not a company that functions through individuality but rather in harmony achieved through inclusivity.

No one can deny the camaraderie every employee has in TeamAsia. It’s one thing to be in such a progressive and collaborative environment, but it’s also important to be in a headspace where you are cared for not only as an employee but also as a part of a family. This familial culture is reflected on the way TeamAsians work. This builds our identity–this is reflected on every piece of work we have done. This is why we value what we do, and this is why we are here.

For a company to function, employees should feel and want to be a part of it. This very familial culture of TeamAsia is exactly what binds us together. We live by it. This is how we keep our passion and brands alive.


Quick photo opp before Content and the interns proceed with the weekly Edboard

Quick photo opp before Content and the interns proceed with the weekly Edboard

TeamAsia family celebrating Next Level Experiences

TeamAsia family celebrating Next Level Experiences

TeamAsia celebrating Women’s Month by showing a sign of solidarity for equality

TeamAsia celebrating Women’s Month by showing a sign of solidarity for equality

TeamAsia’s 2019 Havana Nights Christmas Party

TeamAsia’s 2019 Havana Nights Christmas Party

TeamAsia’s Be Bright Family Photo

TeamAsia’s Be Bright Family Photo

keeping the fun

Keeping the fun through virtual lunchtime!

By: Jay Quilanita, Graphic Artist

The clock strikes 12. We know it’s lunch time again. Everyone is scramming! One by one, people are stepping away from their computers and getting ready to open their lunchboxes. Some of them will start running towards the pantry to secure the perfect seat to eat their perfect baon. The smell of savory dishes takes over on one side of the room while the aroma of creamy sauces lingers on the other. You hear laughs, loud voices from another room, and different dishes being passed around.The noise and commotion may be unpleasant to some people, but you don’t care because that’s how lunch time is supposed to be.

In TeamAsia, lunch time will always be a happy hour for everyone. It’s a time where we are able to take a break from work, a time to breath. It’s also the perfect time to enjoy the food you prepared or the meal you bought from a nearby store.

Ever since ECQ was implemented more than a month ago, a lot of TeamAsians have expressed how they missed eating together with their teams and being able to share what they have for their baon. But of course, TeamAsians love to eat and always get things done, so there’s no way this ECQ is going to stop us from doing what we love to do.

Every day, we have a pantry bantry, wherein various members of the team send out photos of their lunch via chat, some even send out their work in progress. We get to see different dishes, all equally appetizing. And by doing so, everyone feels like we’re all having lunch together, just like what we usually do inside the office. We get to see and taste (we let our imaginations go wild) what each TeamAsian is having for lunch. It’s like having a virtual pantry! Not only do we see scrumptious dishes, we also get to discover that a lot of TeamAsians have a passion for cooking.

Fried Tilapia

Fried Tilapia mixed with an experimental steak sauce by Jay Quilanita

Beef Caldereta

A savory lunch with Beef Caldereta x Fried Tanigue from Pam Jocson-Osasona

Lechong Paksiw

Truly Filipino lunch with Lechong Paksiw and Fried Dilis by J Darell Sapin

This habit of ours eases the feeling of missing everyone in the team. Our virtual lunchtime brings back that wonderful (almost nostalgic) feeling when the clock strikes 12 at the office and everyone heads towards the pantry. And even though we don’t have the opportunity to eat out together with our team right now, simply sending a photo of what we have for lunch makes us feel we aren’t miles apart and are still close with each other.

Healthy Dish

Healthy combination of fish, egg, and eggplant, with fried banana on the side from MIH.

Fried Fish

A classic combination of Fried Fish and Rice plus garlicky vinegar dip and even dessert by Hans Amancio

Pancit Canton ala MIH

Pancit Canton ala MIH

We still miss eating in the office pantry. We still miss having to share our baon with one another. We still miss having to talk about anything under the sun with each other while enjoying the comfort of our food. But as long as there’s a need to stay at home, when the clock says 12, virtual lunchtime will continue and the online fun won’t stop.

Making a productive remote internship work

Making a comprehensive remote internship work

by Mayren Guico, Karen Mantukay, and Riely Monte, Content Interns

An internship is a great opportunity to obtain work familiarity and knowledge. There may be times or changes that are new to us, but we use those moments to develop our character and ethics. It is more than learning how to make a good cup of coffee. It is a phase where an intern should learn how to discipline themselves, discover patience, utilize their strengths and reinforce their weaknesses.

The greatest challenge to our internship is probably the COVID-19 outbreak. As a precautionary measure, TeamAsia adopted a work-from-home scheme to guarantee the health and safety of its employees and that includes us interns. While we understand the situation and why the decision was made, working from home as interns is not easy as it seems. But thanks to technology, we have the tools we need to guide us to a productive and efficient remote internship experience.

Based on our collective experience, here are some tips that we would like to share with our fellow interns who are also experiencing remote internships at the comfort of your own home:

1. Set a schedule. It is important for your employers and colleagues to know when you will be working. This allows them to map out certain projects they can assign you to do based on your schedule. Set the best time where you can be productive and also remember to take a break. Create a schedule for your internship and make sure that everyone who needs to know it is well informed about it.

2. Avoid distractions. Working from home, you may have a tendency to procrastinate which will definitely affect your productivity level. Just like how it is necessary to create a schedule, it is also essential to have a workspace where you can avoid distractions. Turn off the television, skip the social media, and create a version of your own office where you can concentrate.

3. Be professional. You won’t be getting a lot of supervision at home unlike in the office. However, this doesn’t mean that you should no longer dress up. Act as if you are having an on-site internship. Remote internship is just the same as any regular internship which is why it should be approached the same way. Stay focused, organized, and always be professional.

4. Always communicate. Checking in with your supervisor and colleagues regularly is a good way to stay on track. It is a good way for you to stay motivated because you are able to report how much work you’ve finished. Constant communication also allows your supervisor to assign you tasks, keeping you focused for the entirety of your internship. Cement your relationship with your colleagues by staying connected with them even while working from home.

5. Be proactive. Working remotely offers you a lot of time and freedom but this doesn’t mean that you take them for granted. Just like in the office, never hesitate to ask questions, raise ideas, and ask for feedback. Doing so will give you chances to work on a variety of tasks which will improve your skills professionally. This may also make you stand out to your supervisors which will lead to exciting and interesting opportunities.

6. Put your best foot forward. Remote internships offer you an opportunity to show your commitment, dedication, and passion for work. Never lose sight of your goal even if these are extraordinary times. Do your best to gain skills and knowledge, and leave the best lasting impression.

Treat your remote internship like any other onsite internships. With technology, determination, and discipline, these tips will surely help you maximize your learning experience just as it has been for us. This also lets you build connections and enhance relationships, while creating an impact at your internship even if you are just at home.

The key to securing a comprehensive remote internship is to see it as an opportunity to earn great experiences that will help you succeed in the real world. Get creative, absorb the learnings, stay focused, and take the extra mile.


Mano Po: the Pop Up

Keeping in theme with August as the CSR month (and not as Ghost Month!), TeamAsia’s Pop Up of the month had us spending a rainy afternoon with the lolas of Mary Mother of Mercy Home for the Elderly and Abandoned last August 9. The weather may have been wet and gloomy, but, being Bright TeamAsians, we brought warmth and sunshine with us to the delight of the lolas at the Home.

Mano po 1

Mano po 2

Mano po 3

The Content Team together with our Pop Up team took the lead for the program and we made sure that there was plenty of fun, games, laughter, and music for everyone. Raiza and Steph decorated the multipurpose area with balloons and crepe paper to set the festive mood. Ingrid and Tony, and through the kind sponsorship of Reserve Car Rentals who sponsored our van, made sure everybody had a ride from the office to and from the venue. Althea and Nina prepared the giveaways. Hans and Vbernie kept the energy up and the program fun as the hosts and entertainment. Vince and Thea prepared party games the lolas had fun with. They also enjoyed making their own rosary bracelets as one of their souvenirs from the day. Chef Jesse sponsored our snacks and early dinner for the lolas (they sleep early) and I, with the help of Bea, Pam, Lien, served up the yummy biko and pancit.


Mano po 4

Mano po 5

It was a memorable but bittersweet afternoon spent with the lolas. We all have (or had) grandparents. Whether we acknowledge it or not, they played a significant part in making us who we are today. “Home for the elderly and abandoned” pricks at my heart everytime I come across it. After all that they have been through, it’s sad that some grandparents could be left in the mercy and care of people they don’t know. But at the same time I’m grateful that there are people who have dedicated their lives in taking care of the elderly.

Mano po 6

Mano po 7

I’m glad we got to spend time with them for our Pop Up and got to hear their stories (even if I couldn’t follow the logic of some of them). They are always in my thoughts. I’m sure we all have a story to share from our afternoon with them.

The Pop Up was particularly memorable for me because I had to hastily rescue a couple of kittens and was tasked by Sister Venus to find homes for the other cats in the compound. I made friends with a lola who was looking for a home for her Bengal cat (Tiger has since been adopted by a friend of a friend). She and I got to talk about our shared love for animals and the people that she knew from my hometown. I still have to settle on the names of the kittens (either Teamy and Asia or Pop and Up), and they are now learning the ways of being a cat from one of my other rescues.

I also asked our team to share some of their thoughts and takeaways from the afternoon:


As cheesy and cliche as it sounds, I learned that you have to live in every moment the best you can. Life’s too short to be overthinking about both the past and the future. What you have is now and what you can control is right in front of you. So, you have to make the most of it.


I learned from pop up experience how important it is to spend time with the lolas. You can see in their eyes that they’re very happy whenever people visit them. They keep asking when are we going back and that makes my heart sad. I hope we can have another pop-up with them.


Seeing as I’m a newcomer TeamAsian, I thought it was really cool that my second pop-up was an outreach activity, and co-organized by my own Content team, no less!

It’s nice to see my colleagues outside of an office setting, where the usual designations and rules were stripped away. It didn’t matter what age or department you were in, the Mano Po pop-up just gave off a warm, welcoming sense of family for all of us who participated. We all came together to give the lovely ladies of the Mary Mother of Mercy Home for the Elderly – excuse the pun – a grand old time. Everyone turned into each lola’s very own sweet and doting grandchild for the afternoon.

It was a heartwarming experience that I appreciate being a part of, especially as it is with my new professional home and family.


My best memory from that afternoon was the stop dance! My lola was so happy swaying her arms even though she couldn’t stand.


The afternoon with the lolas reminded me so much of my grandparents. Back in college, I lived with my grandparents who were living in Quezon City. During the time I was there, my lola took great care of me — always preparing my food, waking me up so I won’t be late, and making sure that I’m ready for the day. Back then I never really got to appreciate all of their efforts for me. My lola would always scold me whenever I go home late. She would always be waiting for me to be home, staying up until the wee hours of the morning just to make sure that I get home safely.

I realized that I took all of those for granted. I never got the chance to thank her for all the things she has done for me. Seeing the lolas there made me realize how lonely it must be for them growing old. I realized that the time I was living with my grandparents must have been meaningful for them — all the meals we shared together, and all the stories we’ve shared with each other — all of which made them happy.

I’m lucky because I still can tell her those things. I can still go back to her and care for her, the same way she did. This experience made me realize that we should always be thankful to our parents and grandparents, to never fail to appreciate all the things they do for us. I wouldn’t be where I am now if not for them.

Mano po 8

What are your memories from that day? We plan to visit the lolas again soon, let me know if you’d like to come with us!