15 Ways this Data Scientist Spent the Quarantine at Home

and no, I didn’t spend all my time going on a coursera / udemy binge

Tita of Data
7 min readMar 31, 2021

Coming from the working class and a non-affluent family, I probably spent a good part of my waking hours commuting. It took on a toll on my health and my mental well-being. Once, I caught pneumonia even though neither I nor anyone I knew (or interacted with on a daily basis) was a smoker.

For most of my days, I always wondered what my life would be like if I didn’t have to commute.

The pandemic has brought on a lot of challenges for most of us and working with a company with a brilliant boss and an amazing culture, I was fortunate to be able to work-from-home even in the pre-pandemic times.

Finally, I now know what life looks like when no time is wasted on traffic.

Here are 15 ways I spent the quarantine time at home:

1. Woodworking

I’ve always considered myself a maker — and I’ve always been fascinated by everything rustic and hygge. But, as a family, we were always pinching pennies, so I wasn’t able to afford extra “hobbies” stuff like a hammer drill, let alone power tools like circular saw, sander, palm router, jigsaw, kreg jig…

Since I was able to work-from-home, I saved all the money that would’ve gone into transpo expenses and bought some 2nd-hand / affordable power tools… then, I got my hands dirty with some woodworking projects!

DIY wooden standing desk setup and the typewriter featured on my website
this is me rocking my ash gray blonde hair while using the standing desk (to avoid back pain!)
DIY wooden low table with an open drawer where I place all the papers & notebooks I use often
rakk-lam-ang lite recommended by a friend, wrist rest from scrap wood
back of laptop has wooden stoppers so wires don’t get squished and ruined
DIY bookstand with phone holder (so that the front cam is at eye level when I take video calls)
the wooden bookstand also has hooks for organizing headset, wires, etc at the back (out of sight, out of mind!)
DIY wooden organizer: first, I measured out the items that are used often, then made a cut list on plywood
DIY wooden laptop stand for working on the bed but you don’t want your laptop to overheat
varnished with C2-brown
DIY wooden food tray to surprise my girlfriend with breakfast-in-bed
a portrait of my cat atty (made by my gf), on top of the wooden coin collection box I built for my girlfriend
atty in real life
atty, but hella cute
this is me screaming, while pressing the trigger on the circular saw, on a DIY crosscut jig I made (with coco lumber & aluminum angle bar)
my first time cutting with a circular saw, a success!
pretty good for the first cut
version 1 of the crosscut jig
this is me listening to my woodworking mentor give instructions on how to use pocket holes on huge lumber

2. Raising chickens in the backyard

In the province, native chickens are a hit. This is due to a local custom called palit-buhay where people would sacrifice a chicken (specifically, native chickens) whenever someone in the family is celebrating a birthday or if it’s time for a house blessing. Besides palit-buhay, our chickens are also a hit among sabungeros, locals who engage in cockfighting.

baby chimkins on mommy chimkin
chimkin, caught in the act
stray catto, waiting for little chimkins to pounce on
rocky chillin’ with the chimkins
some chimkins getting that morning sun
sleepy chimkin
baby hooman with baby chimkin
need a native chicken for your resto? contact us!

3. Training puppies where and where NOT to poop (and failing)

dutch and rockyyyyyyyyyy
dutch (left) & rocky (right)
dutch preparing to poop… wherever she pleases
dutch, the pup vs columbus, the native chimkin
dutch, posing for the gram
rocky as a bee

4. Building the 3rd iteration of our homemade NFT system & container gardening

the wooden NFT frame cut list
i built wooden frames to hold our grow lights for the hydroponic garden
picking some fresh calamansi from the garden
NFT v1
our NFT on IG
NFT-grown lettuce
baby lettuce
kratky kangkong and our DIY aerated kratky set up on the left side
kratky pechay harvest
giant hydroponic pechay
using gabi leaves (elephant ear) for shade
atis (sugar apple) tree, beginning to grow again
chilli plant, bursting with chilli.. and chimkins racing with hoomans to see who gets to eat chilli first
NFT on wheels, getting that morning sun
mobile NFT with other seedlings on the ride
kratky, soil-grown plants and hanging tomatoes
NFT v1 with grow lights
setting up the circuit to integrate IoT & computer vision to our NFT system
relay circuit for a hydroponic control system to turn on / off the lighting & water pump remotely, from anywhere in the world, through a cloud-based IoT system

5. Basic repairs around the house

this door has been bothering us for so long: it’s too difficult to open and close. after some chiseling & sanding, it’s now opens smooth & easy AF
my gf installing the sliders on concrete
me doing the easy part, installing sliders on wood

6. Getting physical (bike, badminton, long walks, HIIT)

A gentleman doesn’t workout and tell

7. Trying out video games (ML, GTA, Naruto)

ehem ehem
i’m a tank & my main is Barats, top Barats player @ Maragondon, bamboo capital of Cavite!

8. Sorting the coin collection and gummy bears

coin collection box sorted by year, country (hongkong? malaysia?) and type (commemorative? duplicate?)
uh-oh, i think i reached the final stage of quarantine madness

9. Camping out in the farm, Tagaytay

mornings made sweeter — coffee with my better half
farm dog happy smelling the liempo samgyup
we brought grizz out camping
samgyup at the farm, with chimkins and farm dog
farm dog waiting to get leftovers
just chillin out in the tent
pack well for your Tagaytay trip, because it gets reaaally COLD

10. Garage sale

we sell clothes by the kilo, and give our old elementary / highschool / college books for free

11. New recipes

I’m known for my mac n cheese & homemade pastillas.

Now that we have more time to explore more (time-consuming) recipes, we tried everything, from kwek-kwek to steak.

grilled steak
kwek kwek with sukang may pipino

12. Mornings with meditation, good books and french press coffee

In my previous post, I explained how I automated recording the total time I spend on habits I want to form (e.g. meditation, exercise, L&D).

From the results, turns out I spend an average of 4 minutes (0.07 hrs) meditating around 6–8am in the morning, right when I wake up.

13. Logo design

In my previous post, I share how we came up with the final logo design for Terraza. Here’s the final product:

window design


This one’s personal… sorry, no photos.

But I finally have a vision board and chalk board (like a math prof) all hung up on the bedroom wall.

But here’s a photo of us fresh from 3x bleaching process:

me with ash gray blonde hair, my better half in very red ash blonde
me in barong with my dark purple hair

15. Shifting to a career in product management

Dove into projects in product management and took certifications.

If you are scratching your head wondering WTH a “Product Manager” is, here’s a cool story on product management:

If you’re working in product management, let’s connect!