10 Must Have Items for COVID 2019

During the past few weeks, groceries, supermarkets and pharmacies in many parts of the country have low inventory on certain items. Some of which were the consequences of panic buying, stockpiling or hoarding of certain goods or items. This is a peculiar effects in the face of a crisis that can drive up prices and take essential goods out of the hands of people who need them most like the elderly, indigent or people with disabilities.

imagePhoto by Hush Naidoo on Unsplash

In fact, This happened last during the few days after the Taal Volcano eruption last January 2020 in which surgical mask were almost wiped out even in wholesale stores like those in Bambang or Tayuman in Manila.

10 Must Have Items

10.) Cash– Try to withdraw a small amount of cash. Cash on hand during an epidemic is a must. There’s a high probability that banks may take a long break as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19. Not all establishments accepts credit/debit cards nor E-cash.

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9.) Farm produce (perishable foods)– Meats, fishes, root crops, vegetables and raw fruits- Buy your fresh farm produce like eggs, vegetables, meats and fruits now, as they wont last long without refrigeration. The current power interruptions may actually lead to brownouts or even blackouts if manpower (maintenance) dwindles.

8.) (Disposable) Gears- Masks, gloves and raincoats/suits – These will somehow provide “some” protection to you and other people around you. When you cough or sneezes while wearing a mask, it will somehow prevent the droplets of your saliva to spray further to other surfaces or people. (plastic) Gloves, can come in handy when cleaning and touching possible infected items. Wear raincoats if you are walking below high-rise structures. This will protect you from possible “droplets” (people spitting from buildings) falling on to your head.

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7.) Communication and “Juice” – Batteries, Power banks, solar/rechargeable radio, flashlights, emergency lights- In case of power outages, It is good to have a fully charged stockpile of power banks and a couple of batteries. Having some kind of a solar charging device is also more advantageous than just having batteries. We need electricity to charge everything from cellphones, lights and other devices. Don’t forget to buy spare LPG/propane tanks for cooking and for those with deep pockets, solar energy (or hybrid with wind power) is the best option.

6.) Tissue papers, Table napkins,Paper towels, Wet wipes,–  Tissue paper’s purpose is not just limited to wiping butts. Tissues can be use for cleaning surfaces, When used properly while sneezing, they can help reduce the travel distance of sprayed saliva droplets. It is also an excellent “brown matter” in your compost bin. Cheaper and “greener” version of “paper towels”  because they deteriorate easily.

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Also, keep in mind that almost all “wet wipes” brands are not biodegradable. They will just end up in our landfill and stay there for a very long time.

5.) Alcohol, Hand sanitizers, cleaning agents- disinfectants, deodorants, soaps and bleach– This is for killing germs and viruses. Helps prevent or minimize the spread of harmful bacteria.

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4.) Medicines, vitamins and supplements – Having enough vitamins or supplements to help boost the immune system of the body is a must. Other people with maintenance medicines like diabetes and heart ailments, have at least 1 month stockpile of your prescriptions . Some pharmacy might have limited stocks of some medicines.

3.)  (Dry goods-Food)  Rice, instant noodles , coffee, milk (powdered), pasta, beans, dried fish etc. – Rice is is the main staple food in the country, many Filipinos cannot live without “eating” rice. The reason why we ranked rice in #3 is because “rice” needs water and it needs to be cooked. All of the dry goods (mentioned above) needs boiling water or fire to be edible. We need fire to cook.

If things go south, we might ran out of propane/Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) in cities many use electricity too. All these basic stuff may all ran out.

2.) (Ready to eat )  Canned goods, instant foods, honey, biscuits /crackers, nuts.

As i mentioned above, having “ready to eat” foods is and will always be the best survival food. You can be mobile while filling your stomach. We don’t even have to waste energy in starting  fire and cooking. One can also save water because we can skip the use of pots and pans.

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1.)Water– Water is Life! We can’t survive without drinking water for 3 days!

These are just the basic necessities needed in order to survive a pandemic or natural calamities.

Recipe for Home Style-Rice Congee

home style congee

It had been raining for the past several days and we decided to cook a hearty evening meal which can satisfy us in the rainy weather. I remember that i grow up eating different kinds of congee. This is more of an eclectic mixture of ingredients from Filipino, Chinese, Taiwan , Asian  .

Ingredients :

1 cup ordinary rice ( long grain )  , 1/2 cup sticky rice  ( washed once ) pre-soaked for 2 to 3 hours .

1/2 kilo of pork bones , 1/2 kilo chicken ( preferably breast )  , 200 grams of ground pork , 20 to 25 cloves of garlic chopped . 2 pieces Red onion ( sibuyas de bumbay ) chopped  , chopped spring onion. 2 pieces egg ( beaten ) , 2 medium- sized sweet potatoes ( camote) peeled , 1 to 2 chicken or pork bullion , pinch of black pepper and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil.

pork floss , ma-hu  or meat flakes

Optional ingredients:

pickled cucumber ( 100 grams ) , pork floss ( 100 grams ), 1 to 2 century egg ( sliced and refrigerated for 5 to 10 minutes before serving ) , sliced fish meat ,  4 to 6 pieces fish balls for soup , chili flakes  . ( each of the ingredients are served into small plates )

pickled cucumber or radish


1.) heat the cooking pot with water (2 liters) and add the 1/2 kilo pork bones, 1-2 pc peeled onion and salt (or chicken broth cubes) bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat.

Cooking time varies depending on the type of bones or meat used. simmer for 45 to 60 minutes (1 hrs or more) to get pork broth.

2.) add the 1/2 kilo chopped chicken then wait for another 30 to 45 minutes . After boiling – You can get the chicken ( you may fillet the meat ).

3.) strain the broth add the long grain rice and sticky rice to the broth . Combine all ingredients (except garnishes) in a huge pot . This time add the ground pork , bring to boil and simmer. Stir every 5 to 10mins gradually add water to adjust desired thickness / consistency of your congee . cooking time is about 1hr to 2 hrs.


4.) on a separate pan , try to put some oil , and fry the chopped onion and garlic

5. ) sprinkle with black/white pepper, a few drops of sesame oil , chopped scallions and fried garlic and onion before serving . ( option will be the chilli flakes )

6.) to make the presentation more colorful, additional ingredients such as pickled cucumber or pickle radish , pork floss , sliced century eggs, cooked fish fillet and other meat.

Feathers in the Field : A Photo exhibition of wild birds in IRRI

Asia Room, Riceworld Museum, International Rice Research Institute – Los Baños, Laguna province -Philippines

facade of International Rice Research Institute building

Feathers in the Field” provides a glimpse of birds that are rarely seen even by those who work in the fields. The photographs are supplemented by scientific names, descriptions of the birds, and information on their habitat and diet. There are about 60  photographs of birds which are found in IRRI are on display.

ribbon cutting ceremony

“IRRI sees the rice fields wholistically,” says V. Bruce J. Tolentino, IRRI’s deputy director general for communication and partnerships. “The exhibit on the birds of IRRI underlines the Institute’s attention to rice production as part of a functioning ecosystem that not only supports human food security, but also serves as a habitat for flora and fauna.”

poster of the exhibit

The photographs on exhibit were taken by bird enthusiasts Professor  Tirso Paris, Jr., vice president of the Wild Bird Photographers of the Philippines, and Mr. Segfredo Serrano, bird-watcher and photographer.  Professor Tirso is also an economics professor at the University of the Philippines- Los Baños while Fred is undersecretary for policy, planning, research and development, and regulations at the Department of Agriculture of the Philippines.

foreign delegates

Two other bird fans— Mr.Paul Bourdin and Mr. Richard Smedley—provided the content for the exhibit. Paul is a bird-watcher and researcher and is also a teacher at BRENT International School. Richard is a Ph.D. student at the University of Reading in the U.K. He is currently a scholar at IRRI investigating avian biodiversity in the rice fields of Southeast Asia.

part of the photo exhibition

The bird exhibit was attended by over 50 foreign delegates from about 30 countries .


After the short program and a tour of the exhibit area, the vips, guests were treated to an afternoon of cocktails by IRRI. This is the first time that a bird photography exhibit was held at the IRRI compound.

The exhibit opening on 3 May is by invitation only, but the exhibit opens to the public on 5 May and will run until 27 September 2013. Admission is Free.

Contact Person:

Mr.Paul Benjamin Hilario
Riceworld Museum and Learning Center
+63 2 580 5600 ext 2428


International Rice Research Institute: http://www.irri.org/

Facebook: Wild Bird Photography Philippines: http://www.facebook.com/wildbirdphotog.ph

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