More than a year ago, through the lens of the kaleidoscope, we have
seen a world living in normalcy. No precautions on who to shake hands
with. No protections while standing in the middle of health and sickly-looking people. No safety measures when going out and going inside our

The world stopped, everything stood still while the outside world
pushed humanity to be nestled in the safety of their homes. From a hundred infected of the Covid19, it turned into thousands then into millions. Majority of the adults, plunged into the uncertainties of the lockdown brought by the pandemic panicked in the middle of uncertainties – their hearts lost courage and minds were swayed into thinking of the fearful effects of the sudden arrival of the invisible virus instead of calming down and being optimistic.

After the total lockdown, work has changed due to social distancing.
So many of us shifted to working from home to minimize travelling on public transport and gathering in groups at the office. Zoom meetings even became our New Normal. With restrictions easing, we cautiously rotate back into working at the office in shifts. The adults embrace working from home on a more regular basis.

The impact of the new normal has put the heaviest weight in the
change of phase in Education. Schools and universities have moved online, some blending face-to-face with online lectures, majority is on modular learning. The stress is real for the teachers, learners and parents. But like the pliant bamboo, our flexibility hurdled the hard times in all aspects of our life.

Who would have thought that the young people we tagged as dependent on the support of the adults transformed into irrepressible and
business-minded individuals? With brave hearts of true-blooded Ilocanos
and ingenious minds of Bataqueǹos, the leaners within the boundaries of
the Schools Division of the City of Batac did not falter. In spite of the
invincible walls of containment during the lockdown, they were able to
develop their adoptability, applying the skills learned from their respective Alma Maters. The persistent cruelty of the unseen virus wanted its way through the young people’s lives, attempting to wreak havoc into their emotions, but they were warriors equipped with the learning which they were able to deduce from experience and schooling.

Humanity believed that we are safe inside our houses. But, eventually
we realized how unsafe it is to be staying inside your home if your stomach is empty. In a country where marginal people’s means of living is dependent on their presence as a workforce outside their household, staying home is still the last result in order to live.

And as we see humanity struggling to fight back with this unseen threat, the young learners found their own road-a road of survival while they are thriving in the safety of their homes. We have seen flourishing young people, being ingenious to persist the pandemic. In the midst of the contagion, it is so heart-warming to see our learners applying the skills and knowledge they learned from their Technology and Livelihood Education subject, particularly showcasing the needed 21st century skills and the four livelihood skills for survival – the 4As which stand for: Agtagibalay, Agtaraken, Agmula, Agliwliwa, which are considered very vital in surviving any crisis.

Baking, cooking, online selling, handicrafts, agriculture, vlogging and
online gaming are a few of the many income-generating activities that our
learners have ventured in when the world stopped buzzing for a while. The unseen pandemic didn’t stop these budding entrepreneurs to help their family with their finances. Their creativity, positive mindset and diligence sustained a portion of their life. These characteristics made them good examples of 21st century learners as they use the social media as their platform to survive the uncertainties of the pandemic.

Despite the continuation of our learners’ education in the new normal
they still manage to continue with their engagements to make a living. The
challenges of the modular learning did not hinder them to continue with
what they have established during the lockdown. Through the social media, their teachers and adult acquaintances witnessed their sharing of their awesome products like pastries, mouth-watering cuisines, fresh produce, and handicrafts products like baskets, ornaments and home décor from their cross-stitching activities. Some were able to grow agricultural animals and sold them to consumers. Other learners ventured in online selling, video-editing for their vlogs and online gaming competitions to earn money. All of these that our learners have engaged to were made possible in the comfort and safety of their home. No violations of health and social distancing protocol, all were done following the rules of the new normal.

The adults wonder how it feels for the youngsters to see the world
somehow fall apart through their very own eyes, seeing most of humanity
struggling to fight back with this unseen threat. At such a young and crucial point in their lives, they see that we are experiencing a global crisis not just on health, but also on many aspects of our society that the extent of its damaging repercussions might be too complex and complicated for them to digest. In the middle of all these precariousness, we discovered that the learners we considered vulnerable are in-fact head-strong. This is one of the silver linings that shine until this very moment. The learners developed creative solutions through their braver hearts and wiser minds as they deal with this pervasive virus.

By: Allan B. Garcia, Head Teacher III of Batac National High School