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Insight: Working Alone, Working In Silence, and Keeping the Laughter Going with Memes — GIGIL’s Badong Abesamis Shares Their #WFH Story

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — The Luzon-wide Enhanced Community Quarantine and every unexpected thing that came with the COVID-19 pandemic hit several markets and industries without much warning. Now that we’re on Week Three, most things remain the same: public transportation is still restricted, the non-essential workforce is urged to work from home, and we’re all still trying our best to maintain a sense of normalcy amid these disconcerting times.

The local advertising industry is one of those hit by these abrupt changes, and agencies are working hard to ensure that their creativity stays flowing, and the team’s well-being is taken care. Briefings, meetings, and regular catch-ups have moved to the digital space as a regular occurrence on messaging platforms, and the usual buzz surrounding creative environments in the office are have now been replaced by laptop screens, and pop-up chats.

How will the advertising industry, as a business built on the constant exchange of creative ideas, survive this lockdown, and the limited sources of inspiration it provides?


Badong Abesamis, Partner at GIGIL, shares his two cents with adobo magazine as he talks about the impact of this quarantine to the ideas agency, and how the team is trying to keep their sanity through memes, and inside jokes.

Read his full write-up below:

It’s 10 pm of March 25, our 14th day on lockdown. I’ve just finished a Zoom with Bhert to talk about the business. That’s one of the things I quickly learned about working from home: work bleeds into rest. There’s a tendency to start the day at work early, but end it very late. And so in our first virtual town hall, we put the rule in place: no Viber messages before sunrise, and after sundown. Of course, there’ve been exceptions, but the line had to be drawn. To keep the laughter going, the kids created another group where we could continue sending one another silly memes, even thru the weekend. The setup keeps us sane.

Like other agencies, we’ve done client presos, performance reviews, and newbiz pitches by con-call. The industry’s always claimed to be digital… I guess now’s the time to prove it. The good thing about working from home is you waste no time in traffic. The best thing: no shaving. I worry for Gillette.

Of course, you can’t replace human interaction. But working alone has its advantages. Some of the best ideas were born in silence.

As the world grows dimmer by the day, we save it by working from home. We hold a light by staying put.


This article is part of a series by adobo magazine exploring the different ways the local creative industry is continuing to produce content and service clients during the Luzon-wide Enhanced Community Quarantine implemented to avoid the outbreak of COVID-19.

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