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What to Do During Holy Week-When You're Stuck Indoors

And the following weeks thereafter, since we’re stuck. Indefinitely. 
IMAGE PIKREPO/PIXABAY/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
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Holy Week is usually the time when everybody else who migrated to Manila goes back home to their provinces. People from Manila themselves would even sometimes leave the city to go abroad. The result? Streets clear up. EDSA becomes an avenue again and not an endless parking lot. Malls are a bit quieter. Shops close.

This year, however, COVID-19 is forcing everyone to stay indoors and avoid travel. We’re sure that everyone is starting to get the hang of quarantine but what else can you do during this time?

Watch a religious-themed movie or series.

Thank God for the Internet and streaming services. Do you remember the days when TV stations don’t broadcast anything for Holy Week? Now, even if the major networks are now broadcasting, you can still control your own watching with just your Internet and preferred streaming service. 

And if you want to get into the Holy Week mood, there are tons of religious-themed shows you can watch too. For example, Netflix has the docudramas AD The Bible Continues and Story of God with Morgan Freeman. The Oscar-nominated The Two Popes is also showing on this popular streaming platform. 

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If you want to watch Netflix with friends (while still in your respective houses, of course), you can also host a Netflix Party. This enables you to stream Netflix together, synchronized pauses and all!

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Also read: The 3 Worst Movies You Can Watch This Holy Week

Watch Filipino classics and indie movies. 

Filipino filmmakers are posting their films online to encourage people to stay at home and bond with the fam. Just visit the following YouTube or Vimeo pages: 

  • Cinema One Originals - UPCAT, Rome and JulietThat Thing Called Tadhana, Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay, etc. 
  • TBA Studios - Bliss, Iisa, Gayuma, Patintero, Dormitoryo, to name a few
  • Kip Oebanda - Bar Boys 
  • LockDown Cinema Club - Short films for a cause (Watch short films and donate) 
  • Mike De Leon - Filipino film classics such as Maynila Sa Kuko ng Liwanag, The Portrait of the Artist as Filipino, Bayaning 3rd World, Dahlia, and more  

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Do Visita Iglesia (digitally) and admire the architecture of churches. 

If you have never done Visita Iglesia, now is the time. Instead of actually going to these churches, what you can do instead is learn more about them. For example, did you know that there are churches in Metro Manila that were designed by National Artists for Architecture? This list includes the Parish of the Holy Sacrifice in UP Diliman, Saint Andrew the Apostle Church in Bel-Air Village, and Santo Domingo Church along Quezon Avenue. 

Some of the older, historic churches also have very interesting features. San Sebastian has an inner courtyard and a museum, where you can see religious relics. Binondo Church also has a Chinese tombstone by the main entrance. 

You can also do a virtual tour of these hallowed grounds by using Google Maps. This way, you can also visit the oldest churches in the country, some of which are located outside the metro. 

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Do a virtual tour of museums. 

If you really want to avoid public places but still want to enrich yourself culturally, you can virtually tour some of the museums around the country.

Here are some of the museums in the Philippines that offers a free virtual tour on their website:

Museums abroad also offer this service:

Tour famous places in the Philippines and the rest of the world using 360 photos. 

Interactive 360 photos allow people to have a walkthrough experience of a place even when they’re miles away from the actual location. Real estate agents have been doing this to sell units but nature photographers and travelers are also capturing and sharing their experience using this technology. 

The Facebook 360 page features photos from people all around the world. One minute you can be exploring Antarctica, the next, a Shaolin Temple. You can also do a virtual tour of famous heritage sites around the world, thanks to Google Arts & Culture

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For local sceneries, you can also check out Fung Yu’s website. This computer engineer who’s active in the heritage circles is famous for his 360 photos. Just some of the photos uploaded on his page include the Dumaguete Sand Bar, Butuan Agusan River, Vigan, Taal Crater Lake, and more. 

Time to read that book or listen to a story session.

An activity that doesn’t involve consuming Internet bandwidth is reading a book. If you have a stack of unread books at home, now’s the time to crack ‘em open. Alternatively, you can check out online bookstores from the comfort of your own home. Several authors like Neil Gaiman have also made their stories free for reading. 

If you’d rather hear a story, then there are YouTubers and authors also doing Live read-aloud sessions. This is great especially if you have kids or pamangkins at home. Marissa Rivera’s channel features Adarna books and pre-school teacher Erika Sagum also does storytelling sessions and arts and crafts projects, inspired by the stories. 

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Time travel back to Old Manila.

No, not really. But looking at John Tewell’s collection in Flickr does feel like being transported to another time. If you want to read the social history of certain districts or famous places in Metro Manila, Lou Gopal’s Manila Nostalgia blog is always a good place to start. 

And if you’re already feeling nostalgic, you can discuss your sentiments with fellow Pinoys in these Facebook groups: 

In these groups, people would often post clippings of old ads, magazine covers, and celebrity photos from the past decades, and more.

Watch a concert by your favorite artist or listen to a recorded opera performance.  

Filipino musicians are banding together during this pandemic, not just by donating to the cause, but also by having live gig sessions. You can see the full schedule at the Bayanihan Musikahan Facebook page. Artists involved in this cause include Ryan Cayabyab, Chito Miranda, Juris, Jett & Rafi Pangan, Johnoy Danao, Martin Nievera, Morissette Amon,  Gloc 9, Ice Seguerra, and more. 

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Of course, by doing this, they’re also hoping to raise money to provide food and health protection packs to the urban poor. 

Artists abroad are also holding their own concerts and “tours” via streaming. Billboard compiled a list of artists entertaining the quarantined public. Harry Styles, Miley Cyrus, Dia Lipa, and Diplo are just some of the artists delivering songs straight from their living rooms. 

And if that’s not your cup of tea, maybe some French opera can entertain you? The Paris Opera will be putting the shows from its archives online, free of charge. Some of these are Don Giovanni, Swan Lake, and The Tales of Hoffmann. The Metropolitan Opera is doing the same with its “Nightly Met Opera Streams.”

Do arts & crafts with the kiddos and kids-at-heart. 

If you have art supplies at home, it’s time to get creative! Robert from Art-Is-Kool is hosting stay at home live drawing classes and mindfulness drawing using his Facebook account. Just go to his page to check out the schedule. 

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Aside from that, there are tons of YouTube pages like 5-Minute Crafts and Craft Factory that will keep you occupied for days. 

Ride Disney theme park rides via 360 videos.

Sadly, theme parks around the world are closed because it’s physically impossible to practice social distancing in these places of fun. The good news is that theme parks are bringing the experience to people stuck at home. When you want to take a break from watching Disney+, then maybe you can try Virtual Disney Rides instead.  

This is also a chance for everyone who's too afraid to ride The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Splash Mountain, or Expedition Everest. These videos are also interactive so you can see the views in 360 degrees. The best part? No lining up and they’re all for free! 

Relax and meditate.

With everything going on, it’s very important to pause, take a deep breath, meditate, and maybe sweat it out. There are a lot of YouTube channels that offer free yoga classes and exercise tutorials such as YogaPlusPH and Plana FORMA.

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And after a long day of work or taking care of the kids, meditation can help clear the mind. It’s good that meditation apps are removing paywalls so you can access a lot of their content for free. Notable ones are Calm, HeadSpace (which has a free section specifically about coping with crises!), and Smiling Mind (perfect for kids and young adults).

Play online with friends.

Playing online games with friends has always been there but extroverts who are forced to stay at home are now discovering the joy of these online but highly social apps and web-based games.  

Mobile app Houseparty, which allows friends to play Pictionary and Trivia Games, has surged in popularity. Do you want to create a quiz to test your friendship? Bestiefy is your bet. 

Educate yourself, help, or donate.

Maybe now is the time to reflect on what’s happening in the country and around the world. Influencers have been called out for romanticizing their isolation and for being completely unaware of the situation of Filipinos whose lives are completely different from theirs. 

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Some politicians are missing in action, while others are showing a complete disregard for human life. Netizens have been using the hashtag #Halalan2022 on posts about politicians to remind everyone come election day what your mayor or senator did during these times. 

There are also efforts to consolidate information about the virus (and important hotlines per region) and translate them into different regional languages. 

And yes, calling out our public servants and helping out however you can are not mutually exclusive. If you can and you are able, there are many private groups and individuals who are organizing their own drives to deliver PPEs to health workers or feed wage earners who got laid off. 

You can check out websites like Help From Home PH to discover the different efforts of private individuals and groups all around the country. It might be worth clicking on that while you go share that latest Immortal Enrile meme. 

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About The Author
Nicai de Guzman
Nicai de Guzman is the Head of Marketing of Rising Tide, one of the fastest-growing mobile and digital advertising technology companies in the Philippines. She also writes for SPOT.ph and Entrepreneur.com.ph.
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