Kumu, positivity amidst the #COVID19 pandemic in Manila

As I write this, we are currently on Day 12 of the enhanced community quarantine here in Metro Manila, Philippines. It is March 25, 2020, Wednesday, as I write this.

While everyone wants to remain hopeful that we will survive this pandemic, the anxiety and fear combined is very much palpable where I live. I reside in Quezon City, near Mindanao Avenue or C5.

I have not been going out for days in an effort to adhere to the social distancing measures enforced by our government. Except for when I really have to buy groceries and medication.

When I did, I was really surprised that outside, it looked like a ghost town. The otherwise bumper to bumper sight in our main roads is nowhere to be seen. Yet this is not a feeling of comfort or relief, it is fear. Fear of the unknown and the unseen. We do not know for how long this pandemic will last. We also do not see the enemy: #covid19.

I must admit, I am very fortunate to be able to work from home during these trying times. Some of my kababayans are not as lucky. Online, I have read numerous accounts of people who have lost their main source of income ever since the lock down. Some have been mercilessly laid off, some were not required to go to work anymore. In a snap, they were jobless.

Freelancers and independent contractors like me got worried too, when one by one, our gigs or rakets were cancelled. This really made a dent in our cash flow. The constant bills keep on piling up, but the active income has stopped.

Ever since I led the freelancer life, I felt that I had to maintain a multiple income stream. This is to provide a buffer during emergency situations. Never did I think it would be this soon though. In theory and in all fairness, that seemed fine and logical. But that seems hardly so at present. But I firmly believe we shall get pass this.

As someone who constantly worries about my cash flow, I accepted a project from #kumu months back. Let me put my worries into context. The economy is volatile. Though they say that the Philippines has a booming market and economy, I always thought of the worst. I always thought anything can happen. The good, the bad, the worst. And the first one who should be able to help yourself, any time, any where, should be yourself.

At that time, it was crystal clear that Kumu is about building a fun Pinoy community. What is Kumu? As posted in this online portal, it is a “Filipino-centric social app that lets users host and watch livestreams, do virtual hangouts, as well as join interactive quizzes and social games. The app, which takes its name from the Pinoy greeting ‘kumusta?” Sounds well and fun, right?

But as March came in and the tragic deaths related to the novel corona virus piled up, everything else in the world has changed. Travel bans, both local and international, were implemented. A collective panic was beginning to grow. And now we’re prohibited to go out of our house. Three weeks ago, this was unheard of. Unthinkable even.

But what can a social app contribute to the present circumstances? That’s why Kumu is presenting “Social DistanSing”.

While other people underestimate the arts and entertainment in providing ‘relief’ during this period, I would like to point out though that it is also through these very things that we find comfort and solace amidst the chaos and fear.

When you see a daily update of rising death tolls worldwide due to COVID19, the future looks grim. And it is in those times when we look for something that can get us through the day. At this point, sometimes we turn to entertainment. To music, movies, poetry. Otherwise, we’d go bonkers even before the virus hits us.

How does this Kumu Social DistanSing event work? Basically it is a live stream session featuring Filipino celebrities and influencers whose collective goal is to raise funds.

Host, endorser and actor, KC Montero, who is also the Vice President of Marketing at Kumu shares this onhis LinkedIn account:

Extremely thankful for friends with giving hearts.. Kumu is collaborating with artists to help raise funds! We pledge that virtual gifts given on the Kumu Cares livestream will be donated to alleviate the plight of Filipino families most in need during this time. Download Kumu and catch your fave artists Go Live from March 26-April 8, from 4 to 9PM. On Kumu, no need to logout for other payment platforms, donations go straight on the livestream via virtual gifts!

I am really glad that we, Filipinos, are doing everything that we can to help each other out, in the best ways we know how. Philippines has been heralded as the social media capital of the world, and now we can use that to our advantage. To exercise our compassion and actually help others, too!

So I encourage everyone to download #kumu and take part in this noble cause. It’s accessible, easy and fun. Most of all, it is life-changing.

Here is the first batch of live streamers:

Spread the love, everyone!

Florence