On Family Gatherings and Technology – Manila Bulletin

When was the last time you had a date? 10,15 years ago? As for me, I couldn’t even remember the last time we were full. Until we got the chance to reunite after 20 years. My sisters and I went to Davao last month. Although it was only a short trip, it definitely gave us meaningful time and many realizations. One of which is how technology has made this gathering bearable.

But in Filipino family gatherings, it is traditional for one to be on leave for work or to be “present” to fully enjoy the moment. Hate to rain on your parade, but those days are gone. In this digital world, it is almost difficult and impossible to go offline, especially if yours is online.

Well, at least for our family, we spend our time wisely. There is a time for work and a time for karaoke moments; A Filipino reunion isn’t a reunion without karaoke, right? So looking for places that will help us achieve “work-life balance” is essential.

The good thing is that working anywhere has become a way of life for most of us now.

During my trip to Davao, we stayed at The Acacia Hotel. They have a club lounge that offers free use of meeting rooms.

For someone who works everywhere, a quiet salon like this is heaven sent!

Acacia Davao Hotel’s Club Lounge offers buffet breakfast, afternoon tea and evening cocktails. They also have Luk Foo on the 3rd floor and of course their signature restaurant Waling Waling.

As the seasons change, there will always be that family member who needs to be updated with many things. My sister has not been in the country for many years. She didn’t know about Grab and Lalamove. While the systems and processes are more advanced in the US, she was quite impressed by the dynamic growth in the Philippines.

Let me share with you how these technological breakthroughs helped make our reunion as seamless as possible.

Digital couriers

My sister’s first night was a disaster. She did not know where to eat, where to go and order food. I live in Tagaytay and she stayed in Manila. She arrived so late that the restaurants were already closed. Fortunately, there is Foodpanda and Grab. I was able to order on their behalf and voila, they were able to enjoy a sumptuous but extremely late dinner.

And since I live far away from where she was, Lalamove became our “personal errand boy”. We’ve been able to use it by sending documents, parcels and more!

Digital wallet

Oh, she was so surprised at how powerful digital wallets are here in the Philippines. G-Cash and Maya were our best friends during her stay in Manila. One of her reasons for returning was to respond to her passive accounts. As you know, some companies are not yet digitally minded. Owning a digital wallet is not a must, it should be the privilege of every Filipino to have one. It’s easy, hassle-free and safe!

These apps were a tool for all of us, well, at least for us. I don’t know how I could help my sister gather her things from various places to their proper destinations without using the aforementioned hacks. I wouldn’t know how she could pay if I couldn’t transfer money from GCash to her account. These apps solved most of our societal problems, like being able to open or maintain a bank account. How to arrive on time without Angkas or Grab? I am very skeptical of our government’s processes, but this meeting made me realize that small steps can make a difference.

With great technology comes great responsibility

While I love the fact that technology makes our lives so much easier, we need to remain responsible. We have to learn how to be diligent so that we don’t regret the things that are completely controllable.

This era has made our family and bonding time more attainable than ever. Thanks to technology.

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