Health and Wellness


Hopefully cabin fever won't hit as hard anymore with these fun activities we can finally do with the loosened quarantine protocols.

/ 26 February 2021

There’s been a lot of changes in what we can and cannot do while Metro Manila is under General Community Quarantine (GCQ), and we’d be the first to admit that it gets a bit muddled up in our head sometimes. Who else has been blocking out certain parts of the news—especially relating to COVID-19 and quarantine—for the sake of his or her own sanity?

Perhaps it’s the fact that we’ve been on this track for almost a year now. On top of that, at the very beginning, it was even harder to accept that every piece of news is just yet another reminder of all the things we can’t do, especially when it comes to fun activities outside the four walls of our homes.

However, we’ve been granted a lot of freedom lately. Of course, freedom within the bounds of social distancing protocols, and other safety guidelines—but freedom, nonetheless. And for those of us who have been feeling restless cooped up inside, here’s a quick run-down of everything we’re finally allowed to do and enjoy again under the sun’s shining glory.


Going to enclosed malls and dining in restaurants and cafés may not be the most ideal as it’s always better to be in the open to avoid the virus, but it’s an option we definitely appreciate having. We can now have a quick snack outside while running some errands, or get a much-needed haircut after months of letting it grow. Just remember to take note of each mall’s requirements and guidelines, as some establishments in different municipalities require unique QR codes and passes.


Now that more parks are given the official permission to reopen, we can go back to the days of playing badminton or volleyball with our friends in wide, open spaces. If you want to just relax while gazing at the clouds, lay out a blanket on the grass and enjoy the morning sun with a picnic or a nice book. It’s always a different feeling to enjoy these seemingly mundane activities in the midst of nature. Check out Quezon City Circle, UP Oval, Capitol Commons, BGC Parks, Rizal Park, and more for open and green spaces.


Now that Intramuros has officially reopened, tourists—or anyone just looking for a change of pace, really—can travel to a different time amid the historic sights of the walled city. As of writing, Fort Santiago, Baluarte San Diego, and Casa Manila Museum have been reopened for the public, with added safety guidelines to keep everyone safe and healthy. You just have to register and get your own QR code from StaySafe.PH to fully enjoy the facilities and sites.


What better way to get our bodies and minds away from the city than a good ol’ hike? Fully immerse yourself in nature with a hiking trip with friends to nearby mountains and treks, and just feel your body and mind get lighter with every step away from the city’s noise and responsibilities. Take it a step further and go camping under the night sky with the stars smiling back at you. You’re bound to feel more relaxed and centered after a day or overnight trip, and being one with the environment.


Traditional cinemas in some cities are now allowed to reopen, and although that still seems like a low priority on our New Normal to-do list, it’s still an option nonetheless. However, if you really want to watch a movie with a friend or a special someone, you can check out the Grand Venice Canal’s float-in cinema for an intimate movie night on a boat, with inclusive snacks, drinks, and personal hygiene kits. Several SM Supermalls establishments have also opened dine-in cinemas to accommodate the social-distancing needs of New Normal movie-going.


Cycling has been a growing recreational activity and mode of transportation since the whole pandemic began, with old cyclists taking out their bicycles after public transportation was temporarily shut down. Just for fun, you can invite your friends to ride a bike around the village or city to stay active, while enjoying the buzz and calm chaos of the “outside world.”


I’m sure you’ve been seeing some friends or celebrities enjoying a trip to the beach here and there, and wondering if it’s worth all the hassle of getting tested for COVID-19, along with all the other requirements. But, despite all these extra steps, a trip to the beach always sounds like a good idea. Especially as we all deserve a solid vacation right now after the year we had in 2020, and the year we’re having in 2021. Just make sure you get all your requirements sorted, and that you’ve been officially given the green light by the authorities before taking that trip. Serious consequences await those who fake tests.


Hopefully this list will only continue to grow as we get farther into the year, with the Coronavirus pandemic finally coming to a global stop. In the meantime, we have these activities to keep us safe, sane, and happy—and we can finally have some real, New Normal fun.