COVID-19 Crisis: DTI says restaurants in MECQ areas are allowed to have outdoor dining

In what is clearly a move with economic recovery in mind, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez declared that restaurants (located in places under MECQ or modified enhanced community quarantine status) with outdoor dining services and set-ups are allowed to resume but with certain limitations.

To make things clear, below is an excerpt from the Philippine News Agency (PNA) article which was published just yesterday. For greater emphasis, some parts are in bold.

In a text message to reporters Sunday night, Lopez said food establishments with alfresco dining services are only allowed up to 50 percent capacity, with diagonal seating arrangement and acrylic dividers on tables.

He added that indoor dine-in services are still not allowed in areas under MECQ, but food establishments can continue to operate with their take-out and delivery services.

From April 12 to 30, the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal or the NCR Plus as well as Santiago City in Isabela, and the provinces of Quirino and Abra were also placed under MECQ.

Earlier, the DTI chief said that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) might be sensitive in allowing indoor dine-in due to the highly contagious new variants of Covid-19.

“The IATF recommended to the President to shift to MECQ after two weeks of ECQ to restore more jobs and livelihood for the people,” Lopez said.

Clearly the local authorities are trying hard to balance themselves between economics and public health as new cases of COVID-19 (China Virus) continue to be counted in very high numbers on a daily basis in recent times. On April 2, the count of infections reached over 15,000.

Going back to the issue of allowing restaurants with outdoor dining (AKA alfresco) within the MECQ areas, it is good news that they are allowed to resume operations. It will still be a challenge for food establishments to attract enough paying customers and make their business’ financial ends meet.

On a personal experience, I love eating ramen and Tsukemen at Sigekiya Ramen in Alabang. I prefer that such meals would be cooked by the restaurant and be served to me at a table at their place. The alternative of taking the cooked ramen out and consume it at home is just not a convincing option for me because ramen is meant to be consumed quickly while it is hot. The alternative of taking home ingredients and noodles, and have them cooked at home does not appeal to me as I prefer Sigekiya’s cooks make the meal I paid for.

A delicious meal like this one is best to be eaten at the restaurant, even outdoors.

Also located in Alabang is the local branch of Akrotiri, a really fine restaurant that serves authentic Greek meals that my family and friends enjoyed. They also have meals that, in my opinion, are best consumed at their place and their Alabang branch (Commercenter to be precise) has space for outdoor dining. It was at Akrotiri Alabang where I treated 2019 SEA Games gold medalist Kim Mangrobang to a meal and organized an exclusive interview with her. They really have a fine-looking place. Visit their website at

It is important to keep in mind that restaurants around the nation have struggled a lot since the pandemic started last year. These business establishments are also struggling with retaining their respective employees, notably their cooks, the baristas, waiters and waitresses. Remember that the meals and drinks you enjoy would not be the same when the people who prepared them get laid off.

With the DTI’s declaration of allowing food establishments with outdoor dining setups and services to resume, I encourage you my readers to consider supporting these businesses for your food and beverage needs. If you can’t have a meal with the family outdoors, perhaps you can push through with a business meeting with a corporate associate or reunite with your friend or relative with the outdoor setting of a restaurant while adhering to health protocols (wearing face masks, face shields, sanitizing yourselves, etc.). 

Now, let’s observe how the mayors, the barangay captains and other local authorities in MECQ areas will react to DTI’s declaration. You also might want to check with the local restaurants and coffee shops if they allow outdoor dining. Consider taking time out to call them or verify on their respective social media channels/accounts to see if outdoor dining is allowed.


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Triathlon’s inclusion in the 2021 Southeast Asian Games confirmed!

Hey triathlon fans and sports enthusiasts! If you are looking for some important triathlon news right now, here’s the big one – triathlon has officially been added to the 2021 Southeast Asian Games (2021 SEA Games) which will be hosted by Vietnam!

According to a report published by written by Dang Khoa, the Southeast Asian Games Federation Executive Committee approved the inclusion of triathlon and a few other sports in the said regional games. The mentioned federation had an online meeting and a formal announcement will be made next month.

The official logo of the Southeast Asian Games Federation.

More on triathlon, here’s an excerpt from the report:

Vietnam said triathlon (swimming, cycling and running) is a developing sport with many international races being held in the region. It was also included in previous editions of the games.

Vietnam, which plans to hold a triathlon in the northern Quang Ninh Province, will set up a federation in future to develop the sport in the country.

As you can see in the above details, triathlon’s inclusion is significant not only because there are already sufficient SEA Games nation members that competed in the regional games’ official triathlon events but also it adds weight to the development of the multisport in Vietnam. Vietnam, which has a population of more than 96 million people, already has its own communities of triathletes and has hosted several triathlon events.

Here in the Philippines, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Abraham Tolentino reacted to the inclusion of triathlon, jiujitsu, esports and bowling in next year’s SEA Games.

Tolentino stated: This is good news for us because we dominated three of these four sports when we hosted the games in December 2019.

In last year’s SEA Games, the Philippines won the gold medals in the men’s triathlon, the women’s triathlon and the mixed relay triathlon at Subic Bay.

Here on my website, I invite you to check out my feature articles of 2019 SEA Games triathlon gold medalists Kim Mangrobang and John Chicano so you can know them better. If you are interested to follow triathlon developments in the Philippines, visit the Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP) official FB page.

The 2021 SEA Games in Vietnam will be held from November 21 to December 2 next year. The nation previously hosted the SEA Games way back in twenty-o-three.


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COVID-19 Crisis: 20% discount for Philippine athletes and coaches confirmed

COVID-19 Crisis: 20% discount for Philippine athletes and coaches confirmed

As I write this, the Philippines is slowly taking steps to move its economy forward gradually now that community quarantine rules have eased more. This means more businesses are allowed to operate and this means getting more of their workforce back to work to earn much-needed income. It’s sometimes mind boggling how the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from China turned into a pandemic which halted most societies and economies around the world.

For Philippine team athletes and coaches, times are hard as well. Very recently, news have been published that their allowances for this month will be cut by half! According to the Manila Standard report, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) board decided to push through with the reduction following a May 29 board meeting with the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR). The remittance declared was reportedly P9 million for June 2020 which is a major drop compared to the P150.75 million PAGCOR remitted to PSC last March.

The National Sports Development Fund (NSDF) was reported to have been severely affected as a result of health-related measures and lockdown implemented nationwide in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It sure is hard for athletes and coaches to train and develop themselves. Truly this is terrible news. Sports events, both local and overseas, have gotten cancelled.

All is not lost, however, as the PSC announced that its athletes and coaches will enjoy the benefits of a 20% discount for their needs.

Below is an excerpt from the article with text italicized and colored blue for clarity.

On Friday night, the PSC said the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) issued Revenue Regulation 13-2020, which paves the way for the discount clause to be fully implemented for all athletes.

“We have been looking forward to this and we are thankful that our athletes and coaches will finally enjoy the privilege they deserve,” said PSC chairman Butch Ramirez, whose organization has been working together with the BIR for the discount benefit to be fully enjoyed by local sportsmen.

The discount clause is part of Republic Act 10699, formally known as the “National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act”.

The discounts shall be applied to food, medicine, recreation centers, hotels, lodging establishments, and sports equipment purchases.

The PSC has already issued identification cards to national athletes, with booklets similar to those used by senior citizens for their own discounts, to follow.

With the reduced allowances and confirmed discount, the past week saw these really drastic announcements affecting the many athletes and coaches supported by the national government. Some things are won and some things are lost.

The COVID-19 crisis affected the private sector so much, it is expected that tax revenues on the part of the national government will be reduced on the short term at least. Think about all the many small businesses around the country that have closed down resulting job losses. Think about the national government’s efforts to support qualified people with cash assistance and other forms of relief.

Now think about the national athletes and coaches. They don’t just need cash to train efficiently for future sports events. They need private sponsorship, new sports equipment, solutions to their current problems, etc.

For more on Philippine sports and COVID-19 Crisis coverage, come back here soon.

Meanwhile, please check out my special features of 2019 Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) gold medalists John Chicano and Kim Mangrobang.

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at


In a Time of Crisis and Quarantine, Love-Love Tioseco Gives Food to the Frontline Personnel

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from Love-Love Tioseco by means of an interview and research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

All photographs used in this article are properties of Love-Love Tioseco and were approved for publishing.

In a Time of Crisis and Quarantine, Love-Love Tioseco Gives Food to the Frontline Personnel

It’s really mind-boggling how microbes in the form of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) stopped much of the world. Not only have most economic activities stopped, people have been advised by their respective authorities to stay at home in order to avoid getting infected.

Here in Metro Manila in the Philippines, enhanced community quarantine and a 24-hour curfew (specifically in the cities of Muntinlupa, Las Piñas and Parañaque) have been implemented around which severely limited people from traveling out of their homes. Checkpoints have also been set up along national roads while businesses that were allowed to operate had to use thermal scanners and set up sanitizers for people to use.

To put things in perspective, the people who work for long hours each day at the checkpoints, at the village gates, on the roads, and inside the commercial joints still operating are referred to locally as the frontliners. At the frontline, they work not only to serve and guide people but also provide security in accordance to the guidelines of the declared quarantine. Such work is undoubtedly hard and tiring, even risky since any person infected with COVID-19 could approach them any time of the day. The frontliners definitely deserve support from anyone blessed who is generous to be a blessing to them.

Very recently, I saw my very dear college buddy Love-Love Tioseco share via social media images of her generous act of giving food to the frontliners. I was very touched by it so I immediately reached out to her and publish this exclusive article for you all.

Love-Love Tioseco with the hard-boiled eggs provided by The Rustic Kitchen.


Again, to put things in perspective, Love-Love and I were classmates at Colegio de San Juan de Letran in the late 1990s. We both finished Communication Arts there. She was a member of the Philippine TaeKwonDo Team for 11 years and, along the way, she was a 3-time gold medalist in the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games), a 3-time bronze medalist in the Asian Games and a 3-time 5th placer in the World Games.

Back in college, Love-Love was a working student in the media and the entertainment industry. After graduation, she worked as a bartender at Italianni’s restaurant for 3 years but still continued working for the media and the entertainment industry.

Love-Love went on to become an advocate of safety oriented driving. She also engaged in motorcycling and competed for a time which ultimately paved the way for the acceptance of women who ride and drive motorcycles. Love-Love also appeared on TV in some entertainment programs as well as motoring-related shows.

Today, she is in the business of selling batteries of Imarflex Battery and is the current Secretary of the Luzon Motorcyclists Federation, Inc. (LMFI). To this day, she is still active in the motoring industry and continues to emphasize the essence of driving safely and following traffic rules to make local travel safer for everyone. Below is a 2017 Alisto video which involved her as a guest traffic analyst. Love-Love starts appearing at 0:20 on the timer.

Being blessed and being a blessing to others

Going back to assisting the frontliners who have worked so hard and long during the quarantine, I asked Love-Love what inspired her to make a move.

“During this time of the quarantine period, I asked God how can I show my appreciation in my own little way to heroes or frontliners who have been on duty while risking their lives being exposed to the virus,” Love-Love said. “Then one of my scooter friends Micar Briones Santana of The Rustic Kitchen sent a message that she had hard-boiled eggs from her bakery up for donation but she needed someone who can help her give away those eggs, so I told her right away that I will do it and, yes, I did it.”

Emergency personnel were pleasantly surprised with the eggs offered by Love-Love.

A soldier grabs something to eat.

Clearly the God answered Love-Love’s question paving the way for the opportunity to help the frontliners. After getting supply of hard-boiled eggs, she organized things first. The hard-boiled eggs with broken shells were made into egg spread sandwiches (as energy food for the garbage collectors). With the help of a fellow LMFI club member named Willy Lopez (Takaz Boyz), she received onions which became a key ingredient of her egg spread recipe.

Subsequently, Love-Love went around the metro to feed the MMDA Patrol Team on both the northbound and southbound lanes of EDSA, feed the MMDA Rescue Team under the EDSA flyovers, feed the personnel at the Mandaluyong checkpoints, feed the Makati City police officers on patrol, feed the security guards at an Army Navy branch, feed the Transportify delivery drivers, the motorized drivers of Grab Food and Food Panda, feed the attendants at a Caltex fuel station, feed the manpower staff at Bel-Air Village, and feed a truck-full of Philippine Army soldiers.

I asked Love-Love how the frontliners reacted when she first approached them with the prepared food.

“At first, they thought I was selling eggs to them but when I told them the eggs were free, some of them got more than three eggs, and I did not have time to count how many people got free eggs because my mind was focusing on giving to the deserving ones,” she recalled.

Frontline personnel outside an Army Navy were happy to receive free eggs from Love-Love.

Love-Love’s generous move is a clear example of her being blessed by the Lord as well as being a blessing to others. To put things in perspective, read the words of Lord Jesus in the following scripture from the Holy Bible.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5: 16 (NKJV)

Unsurprisingly, the frontliners thanked her for the eggs as it provided them some much needed relief from the stress they accumulated. To Love-Love’s surprise, there were delivery personnel who took selfie shots with her for them to post on Facebook.

What is even more astonishing was that no less than Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman General Danny Lim expressed his praise and gratitude to Love-Love for her valuable assistance.

In an April 3, 2020 Facebook page post, Lim stated: Maraming salamat sa lahat ng mga sumusuporta sa serbisyo ng #MMDA, lalo na ngayong panahon ng #COVID19! Salamat kina Ms. Micar Briones Santana ng The Rustic Kitchen at Ms. Love-Love Tengsico Tioseco para sa malasakit na binibigay niyo. Kahit sa simpleng paraan man, laking tulong ito sa pag-boost ng morale ng ating mga kawani. Makakaasa kayong paiigtingin pa natin ang ating frontline at emergency services. Patuloy ang pagtutulungan natin laban sa krisis na ito.

I asked Love-Love if she will repeat her moves of generous assistance to the frontliners.

“Yes, of course. I hope there will be more generous sponsors soon for me to distribute their donations again,” she said.


MMDA personnel worked so hard, Love-Love’s giving of eggs proved to be a major relief for them. They were very thankful to her.

Love-Love’s special message to those who could help

“Spread the love, action speaks louder than words especially with helping others, and share the simple joys of life.”

Love-Love’s special message to those who are affected by the quarantine

“Please be a prayer warrior and pray that the virus will be gone already instead of being paranoid or being a basher, which is no help at all with the crisis we are all experiencing now.”

In closing this, here is a video of the Hillsong performance of Thank You, Lord (my Christian Music Appreciation of it right here) that will remind you to be thankful to the Lord who is the source of opportunities, happiness, protection, prosperity, provision and so much more. God is the source! Enjoy!

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at