Safer Alternatives to Malling During the Modified ECQ

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Metro Manila, Cebu City, and Laguna were placed under a modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) last Saturday, May 16, 2020, while everywhere else has been placed on general community quarantine (GCQ) in a bid to gradually reopen the Philippine economy. After two months of being cooped up at home, social distancing and other “new normal” practices seemed to have been forgotten as people flocked to the malls to get groceries and a few necessities. Many went outside to relive the time when malls used to be open without limits.

While the reopening of malls and other establishments is essential for the comeback of the economy, it is still important to observe quarantine protocols when going out to avoid the further spread of the novel coronavirus. It will be better for everyone to stay at home unless you have essential errands to run or you need to go to work. 

Does this mean being bored at home? No. Here are some alternatives to malling that will be fun to do at home: 

Do Retail Therapy and Essential Shopping Online

Malls opened groceries, pharmacies, and a handful of restaurants and fast-food chains in order to continue doing business, but the influx of people going to these establishments may seem risky considering the country has been in a two-month lockdown without proper testing. And while most have learned to boost their immune systems and observe wearing PPEs and social distancing while outside, lining up for hours in stalls and shops may not be the best way to have fun outdoors.

For now, it’s better to shop online for your groceries, medicine, beauty products, clothing, and pretty much anything. Sites such as and are examples of online grocery stores where you can buy canned goods, instant noodles, toiletries, and your favorite snacks in a breeze. You can get medicine, maintenance drugs, and food supplements from pharmacies that offer online shopping and delivery as well. For the latest trendy gadgets and fashion finds, Shopee, Zalora, and Lazada are some of your options. 

Support Your Favorite Performers from Home

Everyone has a celebrity they look up to or enjoy watching in movies, musicals, and performances. Before the ECQ, it was pretty normal to go to cinemas to watch movies, or to concert venues for a show. With cinemas and theaters remaining closed until further notice, you may be missing your favorite performers more than usual. Thankfully, there are online platforms that allow you to enjoy movies and other performances without leaving home.

Instead of feeling like you’re missing out, turn to your favorite streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime where various movies, musicals, and series are available on demand. There are also musicals and theatre performances that you can watch for free, such as The Grinning Man, The Encounter, and A Doll House. has a schedule of all the performances that you can stream for free. will also continue to show operas for free until the Metropolitan Opera in New York City reopens.

The online streaming of “Ang Huling El Bimbo, The Musical” last May 8 and 9 has ushered in the interest of many for Philippine theatre and musicals. If you weren’t able to watch “Ang Huling El Bimbo” during its streaming period or if you are looking for other Philippine theater performances to watch, there are 23 local theaters that offer free streaming on YouTube and Zoom. Some of the most popular plays included in this list are Adarna and The Kundiman Party, both by Dulaang UP.

Be Creative with Dates and Hangouts 

For the extroverts out there, you probably miss the dates and hangout sessions with family, friends, and your significant other that were regular parts of your schedule pre-ECQ. With restaurants and coffee shops only offering take out and delivery services, dates will have to wait until the quarantine is lifted and you can safely take a leisurely stroll outside again.

Applications such as Zoom, Skype, and other video messaging platforms allow you to still have dates with your friends, your significant other, and your family members despite being physically away from each other. Host a Netflix party with your loved ones and watch the same movies, series, or documentaries while enjoying your home-cooked steak or delivered chicken wings.

If you want something more interactive, host game nights using multiplayer games that you can buy on Steam or play for free. Some of the multiplayer games that you can play while being comfortable at home are Catan Universe, Cards Against Humanity, Monopoly World, and Skribbl. Check out Board Game Arena and Parsec for more unique games.

Sing Your Heart Out Through Virtual Karaoke

Fiesta gatherings and holiday celebrations won’t be complete without the karaoke session. Even when you’re out shopping, you’ve probably visited karaoke or videoke hubs that let you sing your heart out to your favorite tunes. Since malls have yet to open their entertainment hubs, the next best thing is to use karaoke apps and sing at home without compromising social distancing.

KaraFunSingSnap, Smule, and Everysing are some of the most popular karaoke applications for a virtual KTV party alone or with friends. Choose from a wide array of songs and genres, from the 80s to R&B, movie soundtracks, and even K-pop hits. These applications are free and you can sing for as long as you want without having to wait in line for your turn.

It’s normal to miss going out and mall hopping. But while the world is battling a pandemic, it’s important to get used to physical distancing without feeling socially isolated from your loved ones. Maintain the bond you have with friends and keep the family entertained at home for now. 


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