How celebs are coping with the COVID-19 quarantine | Inquirer Entertainment

How celebs are coping with the COVID-19 quarantine

By: - Reporter
/ 12:03 AM March 23, 2020

Romnick Sarmenta

First of two parts

Coinciding with the Duterte government’s order for Metro Manila—and later, the entire Luzon region—to be put on a monthlong community quarantine, broadcast network ABS-CBN also issued a memorandum declaring a temporary stoppage on the airing of live entertainment shows and production of its teleseryes.


The quarantine prohibits mass gatherings in order to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

This meant that the well-loved Kapamilya programs currently airing on primetime, such as “FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano,” “Make It With You,” “A Soldier’s Heart” and “Pamilya Ko,” will have to take a temporary break.


While the network’s decision has put many artists and production crew temporarily out of work, we don’t hear anyone complaining.

For actor Romnick Sarmenta, who plays the drug trader Juan/Lemuel in “Ang Probinsyano,” this was ABS-CBN’s way of “looking after the welfare of everyone working for it. The company placed our well-being above any other concern. I feel that is very noble of them.”

“Probinsyano” has been replaced by 2009’s “May Bukas Pa,” starring Zaijian Jaranilla.

For Malou Crisologo, who plays Yolly in the series, the network “expressed the true meaning of being a kapamilya” when it said that “each worker involved in production, artists and staff members shall be compensated during this period. It’s half pay, but it’s a gesture of caring for its people. The cast members still talk online, making sure everybody is OK.”

Only recently, Malou said she tried to check on costar Bianca Manalo, who recently went on a self-imposed quarantine after her boyfriend, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, had announced that he was exposed to a COVID-19 patient and needed to go on self-quarantine, as well. “She has tested negative for the virus,” declared Malou.

“The best way to cope with the COVID-19 situation at this time would be to remain vigilant,” Romnick stressed.

“To keep and observe the necessary steps in self hygiene and sanitation, as well as avoidance of unnecessary contact with others,” he advised. “[Another way] is by keeping yourself productive even in the confines of your home. I encourage others to do research or study, be it a form of self-improvement or school-related.”


Only a few people know that Romnick is also a professor. He teaches Dramatic Writing for Broadcasting and Behavioral and Social Change for Communication at the Trinity University of Asia in Quezon City.

Malou Crisologo

“Since I also teach a couple of courses, I’m trying to keep up with that while I am quarantined at home,” he said, adding that he would often check on his students and give them assignments related to current events. “My class is working on material that may help with information dissemination.”

While on quarantine, Romnick said, “Families should take this moment to rebuild bonds and relationships among themselves. For individuals, use this time for reflection and introspection.”The actor also hoped that “everyone I know is doing well and keeping safe. I encourage those who follow me (on social media) to become a beacon of light; to always encourage and show positive support toward those who are trying to help out and make a difference, like the frontliners.”

Romnick also expressed his gratitude to the “people who have placed others before themselves, tirelessly working in hospitals and on the streets, to provide the necessary services.”Meanwhile, Malou said she was grateful for the chance to simply stay at home and spend time with her only son, Julian. “I now have more time to bond with him. Together we clean the house, cook, do the laundry and enjoy our nightcap over wine and cheese. We talk about everything and anything. Now I see a different perspective from my boy since he is already 21 years old.”She said days would pass by without her noticing it because “I am inspired to finish my sequence-treatment assignment for (screenwriter) Sir Ricky Lee. I’m part of his Batch 23 workshop.”Malou admitted that “this situation we are in worries me also. While I get dismayed by our President’s demeanor, I also get inspired by our fellowmen who put their lives at risk for the service of others, like the medical staff and policemen. I pray fervently to God to have mercy on us.” INQ

(Conclusion tomorrow)

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