The following interview is part of my series, FILIPINO COPING WITH COVID.
Teresa Concepcion from Toronto, Ontario, Canada is featured. She was educated at Maryknoll College, Philippines, AB BA 1968, and University of the Philippines, MBA 1972. She’s has over 30 years in investment management and corporate finance in the Philippines and in Canada. Teresa has been a small business entrepreneur for the last 15 years in property management and real estate development. – Cecilia Brainard
Cecilia Brainard Interviews Teresa Concepcion
Interview conducted via email on May 25, 2020,
Copyright 2020 by Cecilia Brainard
Cecilia Brainard: Are you still in lockdown? Are you alone or with others? Do you see other people, and you do you practices social distancing if so?
Teresa Concepcion: Canada has different lockdown periods depending on the province. In Ontario our lockdown will be until the first week of June. There are essential services that were always open, and some of the business establishments and public places have started to be opened last week. Example, parks, beaches, are now open in Ontario. There is still physical distancing that are required, masks are recommended, and no more than 5 people can congregate at any point in time, unless that is the size of the family unit.
Our lockdown started in mid-March. We are only two in our household, I and my husband. However we still see our 3 children, son-in-law, and my granddaughter. While this is more than 5 people, since I know that our family has been isolating from other people, I feel we are safe within our cluster.
CB: Are you working? If yes, are you working from your home or do you have to go to your place of work? Were you affected financially by the pandemic? Did you lose your job? Did you get assistance?
TC: My husband and I ran a few inns. We, however, closed our operations even prior to the lockdown period. We decided it is too risky for our staff, because while we do an excellent job housekeeping, disinfecting our premises requires other protocol which we were not proficient at this time.
Yes, the accommodation industry was practically shut down because worldwide travel was restricted. The Canadian government has been very responsive during this pandemic. Our principal concern was that we would not afford to pay wages to our employees when our reserves ran out because no income was coming in. However, our federal government stepped in quickly and decisively, and all furloughed workers got generous assistance for the period of the lockdown (4 months equivalent). As a small business corporation, we also received an interest free line of credit payable only after 2 years. There is also a move to assist in mortgage payments, the details have to be ironed out.
I am actually very impressed with the response of our government to this crises. I would describe our political ideology as that of a socialist democracy. During this pandemic, there was tremendous cooperation and coordination in all levels of government (municipal, provincial, and federal), and political party affiliations were for the most part a non-issue. In an age where there is skepticism of government leaders, our government has exhibited a deep sense of social responsibility and a genuine care for Canadians.
CB: Do you go out? To take walks? To see relatives or friends? For exercise?
TC: We are very lucky to have a park at the back of our house. We take daily walks for exercise. With the weather turning better, I had also been gardening and that is a lot of exercise!
CB: Do you wear a face mask? Do you practice social distancing?
TC: If outside I always wear face mask, more to be considerate of others so in case I get infected, I am able to protect others. Yes we had been quite diligent about physical distancing especially because of our age, and some health issues.
CB: Please describe in a few sentences your daily routine.
TC: Even with our operations closed, work continues. Taxes to prepare, utility bills still ongoing, and some repairs to the houses have to be done, among others. However, there is more time to sleep which is not the case during our normal operating periods.
My daughter also had a baby last April 17, and so I helped quite a bit with her household chores (she had CS), and babysitting.
CB: Do you buy your own groceries? What precautions do you take?
TC: We still go to the groceries, but try to do so the first hour (seniors hour).
CB: Do you order food to go? What precautions do you take?
TC: We do most of our cooking. We seldom order prepared food.
CB: Do you shop online or do you go out to stores that are open?
TC: We have very little needs, and have not really shopped online.
CB: Do you worry about the future? Do you have nightmares or bad dreams? Do you feel some anxiety? Or do you sleep well and feel normal as usual?
TC: Aside from the fact that I worried about one son who was in the Philippines and was almost caught at the lockdowns (he was vacationing in Siargao), and the birth of my first grandchild in the midst of the pandemic, I was not really concerned about myself, but am not being careless either.
Because it was a busy time for us, we are doing okay. Time has gone quite fast actually, and we have not really much downtime.
CB: Do you have tips on how to survive this pandemic?
TC: Listen to science. Keep busy. Pray (meditate).
Covid actually gave us an opportunity to pause and evaluate our lives, some kind of a reset button, that we would not normally take the time to do because of our busy schedules. Primarily, it forced us to reflect on how we use (and abuse) our environment, nature, our relationship with nature, how we do as caretaker of the earth. If it is return to the way things were, we will be facing more variations of the current pandemic, plus other natural disasters — flooding, typhoons, drought, extreme cold and heat. I believe we can individually make a difference on the outcome, of having a healthier earth.
Coronavirus: The Beginning, by Cecilia Brainard
How Filipinos Are Coping With Covid-19, Part One (Cecilia Brainard, Positively Filipino)
How Filipinos Are Coping With Covid, Part Two (C. Brainard, PF)
Lia Feraren, Germany
Teresa Concepcion, Canada
Ofelia Gelvezon Tequi, France
Reine Marie Bonnie Melvin, France
New Zealand: Jay Montilla & Monika Tawngdee
Linda Ty-Casper, Massachusetts, USA
Barbara Ann Jacala, San Diego, CA, USA
Brian Ascalon Roley, Ohio, USA
tags: #coronavirus #covid #covid19 #pandemic #Filipinos #Philippines #Canada #Toronto #FilipinoCanadian #FilipinoAmerican