I see so many people on the streets in the light of a modified enhanced community quarantine. This is an opportune time to be proactive.  You can’t rely on the government to protect you. Aside from the current recommendations that emphasize regular hand washing, social distancing, stopping non-essential travel, and getting tested if you develop symptoms are integrative strategies to augment public health measures to prevent COVID-19 infection and associated pneumonia.  Let me share this  “Integrative Considerations during the COVID-19 pandemic” by Lise Alschuler ND, Professor of Clinical Medicine, University of Arizona College of Medicine.

The paper stressed that there is no clinically evidence-based integrative prevention or treatment strategies for COVID-19 infection. Among some of the strategies for risk reduction are adequate sleep, Zinc, vegetables and fruits, Vitamin C, Vitamin D.

Integrative Considerations … by Noemi Lardizabal-Dado on Scribd

Aside from the integrative considerations, I also gargle with salt solution. See the ELVIS study on how to prepare hypertonic saline. ELVIS is short for Edinburgh & Lothians Viral Intervention Study. The title of their study is “Edinburgh & Lothians Viral Intervention Study (ELVIS): A pilot randomised control trial of hypertonic saline nasal irrigation and gargling on individuals with the common cold to assess recruitment, retention, side effects and effectiveness.”

Dr Srinath Reddy, president of the Public Health Foundation of India, noted that there is no scientifically proven evidence yet that such measures work against the virus. “However, this is a respiratory virus that works through the nose to the sinuses and into the throat and into airways and lungs. So basically, apart from handwashing and not carrying the virus to the face, there is nothing wrong in drinking warm water or trying steam inhalation. There is no immediate proof, but potentially there may be some benefit and, anyway, there is no harm in trying it,” Dr Reddy said.

Gargling is a common hygiene measures in several countries and is routinely encouraged with other practices like handwashing and social distancing during the regular flu season.

Exercise is also important. Have enough sunshine every day.


 Do you have tips you want to share?

Virtual reality (VR) reports surfaced in my newsfeed after lockdowns took place around the world. Bloomberg’s April 21 article, “Zoom parties are so five weeks ago: Hello virtual reality,” grabbed my attention. Oh yes, whatever happened to my Oculus Go? This standalone VR headset, which I purchased in 2018, gathered dust already because reality kept me away. As community quarantine is now the new normal, I explored video conferencing apps, including social virtual reality, to cope with this work from home situation. After inviting my sisters over to my Oculus Room, I found out Facebook removed this interactive space for friends to hangout. I missed the Oculus Rooms, because it was my home in virtual reality. In this space, I invited Facebook friends, customized my room with photos, watched movies, played games like riding the rollercoaster together, or listening to music and so much more. Horizon would replace Oculus Rooms, but there is no set date for its release.

My sisters and I in virtual reality using vTime and our Oculus Go Headsets

In my quest for social VR alternatives, I explored AltSpace VR and vTime XR. The vTime XR provided amazing destinations and better-looking avatars. My sisters and I unpacked our dusty Oculus Go headsets and traveled to many locations. In virtual space, the avatar representation with the audio gave the impression of having my sisters right beside and in front of me. Each destination could only seat four and since we are four sisters, we could chat virtually at unique places together — sunset at the beach, zen garden, under the sea, space station, TV studio or the edge of a mountain — not for agoraphobes, believe me!
At the terrace of a Parisian apartment overlooking the Eiffel Tower, we chuckled at each other’s fashion statement. We promised each other that every time we meet, we would diversify our fashion choices. The vTime likes to think of itself as a “sociable” network, rather than a social network. Users without a VR headset could join sessions via “Magic Window” mode on Android and iOS phones. As a cross platform, all user avatars support audio lip syncing and avatar eye tracking. One could use the network’s library of virtual emojis “vMotes” allowing users to express themselves. Not enough time to get addicted with Oculus Go because the headset defaults into shutting down after two hours. A friend who only used her headset after getting it as a present a year ago, squealed with delight as she discovered emotional escape not only in social VR, but in a VR immersive fishing game. “It’s nice for after work and I just want to chill out,” she explained. Nature trips and travel to countries around the world in VR is compelling in a time when this unprecedented period of community quarantine deprives us of the outside world. VR cannot replace the outdoors, but it could ferry us away briefly from the boredom of a lockdown. Frontiers in Psychology published a paper on Jan. 15, 2020 and posed the question: “Could simulated nature support mental health?” The study concluded that “nature exposure in virtual reality could provide emotional well-being benefits for people who cannot access the outdoors. Six minutes of nature exposure in mobile VR headsets produced similar effects as six minutes of outdoor nature exposure.” Both conditions were superior to sitting indoors with no exposure to nature. It is interesting to note that “short and isolated exposure to a 360-degree video of nature may provide an emotionally beneficial alternative to visits to outdoor nature in healthy student populations who might not otherwise access restorative outdoor environments.” No wonder I felt great after a session. Even if you don’t have a VR headset, that shouldn’t stop you from a virtual experience. Though my VR experience is only with the Oculus Go and the Oculus Rift, the former is affordable and easier to use. VR headsets fit under one of three categories: mobile, tethered or standalone. Standalone headsets other than my Oculus Go are the Oculus Quest, Lenovo Mirage Solo with Daydream, HTC Vive Focus and Vive Focus Plus. Google Daydream, Nintendo Labo VR Kit and the Qualcomm-compatible XR viewers are some of the mobile headsets. Tethered headsets like Oculus Rift S, HTC Vive and Vive Cosmos, Sony PlayStation VR, Windows Mixed Reality and Valve Index present the most immersive experience but could be pricey and clunky. The easiest way to watch VR is with a smartphone like I mentioned with the vTime social VR. One could still enjoy a VR Light experience by checking out selections of 360 and VR180 videos on YouTube or even Facebook 360 videos. Entry level Google Cardboard puts virtual reality on your Android and iPhone. Download the app and get a Google Cardboard viewer on Lazada or Shopee. VR as the platform of tomorrow is still a niche market, but this global pandemic might just push its widespread use. First published in Hello, Virtual Reality at Sunday Business & IT, May 17, 2020

Going out of our homes is challenging these days, especially for those without transportation. Other places observe enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) that limits movement outside their homes. But with the crisis lie opportunities for enterprising Filipinos, who filled in the needs of people while making money at the same time. Shopping for necessities is very convenient for those with access to a community group on Facebook or Viber. It’s a win-win situation for all of us as we struggle to cope with our “new normal.”

My husband and I celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary a few days ago and I wanted it to be extra special. How do I now order a cake?  Booking from GrabFood or Lalamove often failed me at the start of the Luzon lockdown, so I ditched that alternative. Viber and Facebook Marketplaces sold goods or offered services, but delivery costs were not worth it if the items cost less than one thousand pesos.  I turned to my village community group on Facebook.  Settings set to private and a threaded conversation allows ease of use. Over 4,000 members comprise our village marketplace. Vendors or personal shoppers from adjacent villages joined to add to the diversity of products and services. One of them could deliver cakes from a well-known bakery. I realized that the enterprising neighbor adds on a service fee, but that’s fine with me.  Helping a neighbor is helping my community. And it helped that the cake made my husband smile.


For the past six weeks, I purchased two electric fans, a prepaid Wi-Fi for backup, pork, fish, vegetables, chicken, neoprene face masks, face shields, kimchi and many more. The value-added benefit of our village marketplace is that they bring most items to the house without additional costs.  I am impressed at the items sold such as prepared meals, home-baked bread, kakanin, lumpia, fruits and snacks. Someone sells shrimp, Korean food, pet food and even rubbing alcohol. Another provides cleaning services for air conditioning units and even plumbing services.  “Pabili” services (errand services such as “Buy/get this for me and deliver to me, please!”) are thriving in my community marketplace. Examples are pa-grocery, pabayad bills and pabili (errands such as grocery shopping, bill payments and buying something.) How helpful to our senior citizens or those who don’t have a ride. I ordered from a neighbor who collects pizza orders and delivers them on cash on a delivery basis. An advantage of a Facebook community group is that the honor system works. If a buyer or seller doesn’t fulfill his promise, the entire group would know about it (without mentioning names). Everyone strives to be a good neighbor.

Buy or sell new and used items are on the Facebook Marketplace. A friend got a few products from there and the sellers she encountered are reliable. “You could check their profiles to see if they’re legit. You could also report erring sellers/buyers to Facebook. It’s also location specific, which is a useful way to narrow your search,” she said. I limited my search to a 5-kilometer radius when I canvassed for an LED TV. Getting quotations from five sellers helped me narrow down my choice. The problem was that our security guards refused entry because it is not an essential item or service. I had to drive outside the guard house to pick up my order.

Over 7,500 members are at the Pasig Residents’ Viber Marketplace, where I browse for things I might need. Scrolling through so many posts is tiring. One tip to backread posts is to look for the media library and check out the posted infographics.  The admin created an excel sheet that categorized food, drinks, donation, grocery, health, hotlines, LPG, market and others. The only time I used this marketplace was when I bought vitamin C with zinc capsules from an online pharmacy in Manila. Most of the drugstores ran out of stock, and this one could send through a courier where I had to shoulder the P240 delivery cost. The question is, how reliable are these sellers? The best recourse is to communicate with the vendor and canvass other sources. Know your product and weigh opportunity costs.

Friends have used Lazada and Carousell for their shopping essentials, but I have yet to purchase from these platforms. I still prefer the village marketplace because this is my community sharing resources. The community is not just a group of people living in one place. Neighbors help each other. I want to help the mothers who comprise a bulk of the sellers. Entrepreneurship may not be for everyone but, perhaps some mothers could harness the power of technology to seek innovative ways to augment household income. Many are out there searching for great deals and a variety of products. Imagine the possibilities of the market.

Happy Mother’s Day.

First published in Sunday Business & IT, May 10, 2020

Today, we are 35 years married We’ve been technically together for 42 years (including the seven years as steadies) . Wow, we have gone a long, long way. My hubby and I are just by ourselves,  the past six years ever since our children lived independently from us. It is just the two of us.  Most of the time it is nice and dandy, but there are times we get into each other’s nerves. He does not like it when I end up going home late from my events. I also tend to snap when I am tired.  These are the moments to just back off, and stay cool.   I’ve learned to detach  with love after 35  years of marriage. So when it is my husband’s issue, I follow recovery principles. I have practiced these over the past ten years or so. I wished I had learned these sooner.

I remember the FOUR C’s. I know I am not the CAUSE of his problems. I have no CONTROL over his problems. I cannot CURE it. Knowing that I have no CONTROL over people, places and things, the only remedy to the situation is a CHANGE of my attitude. It took a lot of practice. My strategy is always to be gentle with myself. It’s useless beating myself over it. If I have to, I will beat myself with a feather. It was only in 2005 that I learned about self-care. I take care of myself by going to facial salons, exercising at the gym, meditation, laughing and pampering myself. Facials are important to me because I don’t like to have worry lines on my face. It’s also quite relaxing and calms my mind. Exercise gives me the endorphins to stay high with happy hormones. It’s working well and when friends see me, they think I have a “nice aura” around me. Little do they know, that hubby and I just had a time-out. Hehe.

my husband and I

During one of those “cool” moments a few years ago, I received an email from my dear hubby. (See, he now communicates via email)

Dear Noyt,

An interesting article about Chat Silayan. I love you.

Your husband,


Chat Silayan is his high school batch mate and as you all know, she died of Colon cancer in 2006.

Anyway, I digress. The email was an article, “Whole Again” written on April 16, 2003, wherein Chat Silayan-Bailon shares the lessons she’s learned after 10 years of marriage. Part of the article is about….


This December 30th, my husband and I will celebrate our 10th anniversary.Looking back, I sometimes say, ““Wow, how did we get this far?” Especially when I remember our fights, which so escalated that we had to see a marriage counselor.

But we survived those turbulent times––through God, through our friendship, through our continuous effort to tackle our problems instead of running out the door. And with every experience, every fight, I’d learn things about what marriage really meant.

Deal with your emotions. I had to work through a lot of feelings from my childhood: the fear, the anger, the destructive coping mechanisms that kept me safe but also created barriers between my husband and I. I needed to identify where they were coming from and find ways to channel them positively.

Take command responsibility. Mike and I tried to go for counseling, which really helped, but at the end of the day, the task still fell on our shoulders. We had to make the necessary changes. We had to stop blaming each other and look for solutions together.

Be patient. We expect so many things from our partners, but we have to let them grow at their own pace. I wanted Mike to be good at fatherhood right away; I now realize that he needed time.

Accept each other. Nobody is perfect. We have our own faults and shortcomings. We need to accept each other and learn to give unconditional love.

Pray. Problems cannot be fixed miraculously overnight. God wants you to go through the process, because He is working on your character and teaching you wisdom. If you get the answer right away then you don’t learn the lesson

Remember what brought you together. When I reach the point of ““ayoko na,” it helps to look back to the time that we liked each other and ask myself, what did I fall in love with? With the many concerns of married life, it’s easy to take the good things for granted.

Don’t lose your own identity. Marriage only works if you have space to be yourself and develop your own dreams and personality. Don’ t lose yourself. I was lucky to have gone through so many experiences before I finally settled down. Yes, I was lost for several years, and a lot of those memories are painful, but I am a stronger person because of what I went through. Now that I’m married, I want to make sure that I don’t lose the identity that I tried so hard to find.

Mission/Vision. Have a family mission and vision that will serve as compass when things are going off-course.

Marriage is definitely hard work. We can get into each other’s nerves. Hmm, perhaps my husband sent this email so we continue to work on finding solutions and making necessary changes.