Wednesday , December 2 2020
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Top 10 things that have kept me sane

Seeing plants helps calm me down.


This month was one of the closest to “normal” days I’ve spent without stepping out of the house.

The country is trying to crawl back on its feet as Filipinos struggle to survive the ravages of the pandemic almost a year since its outbreak. Pinoys may not be used to following stringent rules, but they’re observing the three health protocols of hand washing, wearing a mask and physical distance to avoid catching COVID-19.

Luckily, I’ve been able to dodge the COVID bullet.

Despite life’s trials, there were things, moments and stuff that have kept me sane amid the health crisis.

I listed 10 of them:

Freshly ground coffee. I love the smell of coffee in the morning. Yes, of course, the 3-in-1 instant variety will do, but brewed coffee is one of life’s little luxuries. Buying locally sourced ground coffee helps our farmers. I get mine from Bukidnon.

“My Next Guest Needs No Introduction” with David Letterman on Netflix. The popular talk show host’s conversations with celebrities, which span two years before the pandemic, are really interesting. Letterman is a master interviewer who knows how to probe the minds of his subjects in a most casual way.

Books. I’ve lost count of how many times books saved my sanity, especially this year. I just finished The Bookseller of Kabul by Åsne Seierstad. Currently plowing through Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind by Yuval Harari. Rereading The Neverending Story by Michael Ende. It is one of my favorite fantasy books of all time.

Cooking shows. Who doesn’t love food?

Learning how to make the perfect ricotta cheese. It’s pretty easy: 1 liter of full cream milk and 5 tablespoons of some sort of acid. I usually use either lemon, calamansi, or vinegar.

Baking bread. Not the sourdough fancy stuff. Just plain old bread for sandwiches. If the process of baking bead is meditative or therapeutic to some, it’s cathartic to me.

BREWED coffee is one of life’s little luxuries.


An inabel blanket. Inabel is a woven fabric from Northern Luzon. There is something about an authentically made inabel blanket that keeps one cozy, and it is light enough to use during the hot season, and warm enough during cold nights. I don’t know the exact science behind it, maybe it’s the way it is woven, but inabel feels like being in a cocoon.

Music. I have recently discovered the K-Pop band BTS, thanks to friends. And there are new, wonderful Pinoy bands as well. One is the Mindanao group Sulo and its song “Kawalan.” Trigger warning though — “Kawalan” is about mental health. Awesome stuff.

My notebook. It helps to plot a daily or weekly to-do plan. I like the old-school practice of writing down stuff with a pen to help organize my thoughts. It has helped me solidify ideas, including the stuff I write in this column.

Plants and trees. Seeing green helps calm me down.

I end this with the hope that you, dear reader, are well and safe, as we look forward to celebrate Christmas in a better normal.

Send me a message on my Instragram aimeer.marcos. Give me an idea what you would like me to write about next. I would love to hear from you.


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Quirante’s expressions of the soul

‘Pneuma II’ (2020) mixed media on canvas. (Left) Multi-awarded comic artist, illustrator, gallery artist, art …