THE Covid-19 pandemic might sound adverse to most of us, especially for event stylist Paul James Dulaca, a resident of Talisay City whose choice of livelihood falls on organizing events like weddings, birthdays, corporate conferences and parties, among others.
In his recollection, a month before the implementation of the Covid-19 quarantine rules and lockdown in March 2020, he never expected that the world would cease to operate due to Covid-19, crippling both the health and economic well-being of everyone.
The impact of the lockdowns has a different effect on him that instead of worrying too much about the inconvenience of the pandemic, it led him to re-calibrate his options by thinking beyond the box.
"Instead of worrying, I schemed on how I can still economically survive despite the constraints in the staging of events. I have a family to feed which I cannot postpone so what I did was to explore more on how I can improve further my creative and innovative mind. I engaged in painting where I joined a mural painting competition executed by the Talisay PNP (Philippine National Police) and I landed 3rd place. I won a cash prize which helped me meet my needs for that day. I was happy because I could not expect that I could still earn that day despite the depressing situation caused by Covid-19," he shared.
The Talisay PNP further provided him with another opportunity to represent Talisay City in another poster competition and made the poster. But suddenly the competition changed their subject from poster to slogan. "So I came up with the slogan: Hawak kamay sa Bayanihan. Pulisya at mamamayan, pandemya sama-sama nating labanan upang inaasam na tagumpay ay makamtan," he added.
And by the grace of God, his entry won 1st place and became eligible for the regional competition. And luckily, he again won the top prize. His entry brought home the bacon.
"I thought that was the total victory I earned during the pandemic. But the opportunities went on further with the inception of barter trading which more of my valued paintings were traded to essential needs like groceries and medicines which I also shared with some of my closest fellow event planners and coordinators. It was an indeed answered prayer," he shared.
Barter trading was a blessing to him in exchanging his paintings to the medicines of his uncle who figured in a motor accident was confined in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU). He traded more than 20 canvas paintings which in turn were enough to provide for the medicines of his uncle.
Going fast forward, he searched over Youtube and he was attracted to pottery making. He then engaged in cement pottery making which has turned to be a lucrative means of livelihood for his family members.
"A lot of people bought it via social media where most of them were senior citizens who cannot go out of their homes. So, we delivered their orders. They were very happy because it was also an outlet for them to engage in gardening. They find the flower pots cool and give them a sunnier ambiance in their homes and gardens. It was again a blessing in disguise," he said.
His challenging experience during the pandemic has even changed course insofar as his perspective is concerned.
Now that things are slowly going back to normal with a few health threats as Covid-19 has not been eliminated, he focuses on "styling" by engaging in beautifying the event venue.
"But because the economy has not yet recovered, we are always adjusting to the budget of our clients which is already better than earning nothing at all. I thank God that we have survived the ordeal of Covid-19. I believe that every cloud has a silver lining," he said.