Quarantine Blues

To date, it has been more than 60 days since Duterte placed Metro Manila under quarantine. As reported by Philippine Daily Inquirer (https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1249464/timeline-what-has-happened-since-the-luzon-wide-quarantine-was-enforced#ixzz6MWbFEgW8), the capital was placed under community quarantine based on the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (so text heavy). Based on the Inter-Agency guidelines, land, air travel (both domestic and international), sea travel to and from Manila are suspended from March 15, 2020 – until now. Hopefully this will finally end this 31st of May, 2020.

What have I learned from/during this lockdown (or quarantine)?

Cash is life. Needless to say, Filipino workers in general are suffering due to the no work-no pay rule of their respective companies. This is true especially for those who are contractual and probationary workers. In fact, even tenured employees are also suffering if they are already on LWOP status (leave without pay after exhausting all the company leaves allowed by law). Without work, it follows that one’s cash flow becomes limited. Daily expenses alone (food, bills, mortgage, etc) will drain whatever savings one has in the bank. Without money to spend on, life becomes difficult. Savings are important – this is often times neglected. We all saw what was coming but nobody prepared for covid until this prolonged agony set in. I must save from now on.

There is humanity despite our differences. Pinoys are highly polarized in terms of economic status and political beliefs. I read and see this everyday in Facebook and online news. Yet despite these differences, Pinoys know how to share and take care of their less privileged countrymen. They share their blessings by way of food, PPE donations, car service to those who need to go to work (especially to the so-called ‘frontliners’), fund drives, among others. All is not lost despite some misguided Pinoys who continue to defy, abuse and take for granted these blessings offered to them by the government and good-hearted fellows. I have to do my part. We have security guards and housekeeping staff who were held up in the building due to the lockdown. Tenants (including myself) do their share by giving food, beverage, and beddings and slippers. These are necessary for their ‘stay’ in the building.

Learn to follow rules. The guidelines set by IATF are not hard to follow. The only difficulty lies in procuring groceries since mass transportation is not available. For someone who doesn’t have a car, it means a long walk to the grocery. Under the summer heat, it is a daunting task and a dangerous one due to heatstroke. It is essential that masks and quarantine passes are needed when one goes out of his/her home. I am following these rules to heart. This is for everyone’s safety. It’s just sad to see that there are still violators despite the fact that they are fully aware that covid kills. On a personal note, the prohibitive cost of hospitalization alone is a strong deterrent for me to stay indoors.

Hunger is the mother of invention. For someone who doesn’t know how to cook, Grab food deliveries are effing expensive. I have no choice but to buy and stock on canned goods, raw meat/beef and fish, veggies and condiments (to taste). Google is my best friend. In the end, I learned that the easiest dish to prepare is nilaga and sinigang. I am grateful that I have friends who are generous enough to share their food to me. These are friendships that matter.

Family is important. I live in Pasig City which less than two kilometres away from where my family lives in Makati City. I have to do self-imposed quarantine twice due to my flight duties. When the 14-day period is over, the total lockdown is already in-effect. I couldn’t go home for their safety. Missing special occasions, just being with them during this time of crisis makes it difficult for me but as long as they are okay, I have nothing to worry. By the way, I can easily see our house in Makati from the 29th floor of the building where I live.

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