Written by philippines

Words by Keanu Plantilla
Photography by Jim Dasal
and Laura Limsenkhe

Welcome to the new normal!

Four months ago, it was announced that the country will be put on lockdown. Since then, we were never the same again. Empty roads, lonely streets, dying buildings, and a whole lot of space in between. The colorful world that we used to know is becoming an empty page full of black and white. This is the reality that we are all facing now. Welcome to the new normal!

What is Normal?

The 4 a.m. drunk moments we share with our friends after leaving a club. The sweet cafe spot that we always go to when we need some time for ourselves. The daily commuting grind we face every day to get to work on time. We’ve been there. And sure enough, many of us miss the hustle and bustle of the good old city life. 

Who would’ve thought that in just one snap, the normal life that we’ve been used to would simply be gone? Our careers, our usual activities, and our social interactions have all been affected and the changes were drastic. Nobody expected that it would happen overnight. Nobody saw it coming.

A Whole New World

Physical distancing is the new norm. Masks are everywhere and alcohol sells like crazy. (And no, it’s not that kind of alcohol). Curfews have been set to restrict people from going out late at night. The dazzling lights that gleamed from every window, the street sounds that keep the city rhythm, and the busy scenes that bring the magic of nightlife are all dead. Every night feels like a ghost town.

Skyline view of the quiet city before night falls.

Construction workers practice physical distancing in the work area.     

Cars pile up on the side of an empty road.

A dog rests under a car to cover itself from the heat. 

Two men practice physical distancing as they get home from the store.

Washing of hands has been a routine to prevent the spread of the virus.

Online business is the new business. Many companies have closed down their physical stores and have moved to the digital world to keep a living. The rise of online selling, e-commerce, and app food deliveries is upon us. All you need is a smartphone and you can get whatever you need without even standing up. Tap.Tap.Tap.

A consumer checking products on an online store.

Different plants growing in pots as urban gardening is becoming an alternative source of gathering food.

Home is now the best place to study and work. Since schools and businesses are moving online, so are students and employees. We have come to a point where owning a laptop or smart phone is the most essential thing to do. Trainings, meetings, classes, and social interactions are now done virtually. It’s becoming a Zoom vs. Google Meet world, where all we can do is sit and watch everything evolve in front of our own screens. 

A girl focused on her laptop as she works from home.

A girl lifting weights as part of her indoor workout routine.

Looking Ahead

The pandemic looks like it’s not going away anytime soon. With all the changes that’s happened, you would think it could only get worse from here. But let’s not fret. There’s always good in every bad situation. We are all dealing with the same problem and it’s up to each one of us on how we respond to the challenge. As long as we show compassion for other people’s welfare and wellbeing, understand the different situations surrounding us, and take accountability for our own actions, we can definitely accomplish a lot. If we continue to work together and help one another, we can make it a better normal for all of us.

Bird’s eye view of a biker braving the outside world.

How has your life changed recently?


Keanu is from Metro Manila, Philippines and is a Sensereporter for Makesense Asia. He creates content to promote positive mental health. Keanu supports building mental health awareness. He believes that the more we share, the more we care.

Laura is currently a junior at the Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines. She’s a photographer, graphic designer, and, when she feels like it—a painter. She enjoys growing plants from vegetable scraps and watching them die a few days later.

Jim is a student residing in Metro Manila, Philippines and is Sensereporter in Makesense Asia. His role delves into documenting social impact through media such as photography. As a photographer, Jim is excited to continue capture moments of positive change that he can share with a wider audience to inspire them to do the same.