Guest post by Liz from PiecesOfLiz
I vividly remember the day my government announced that Luzon was going to be put under lockdown or community quarantine as they put it. I was at the gym that Thursday night. I even went out with my friends from the gym for a drink at a nearby bar after.
The government said we were going to be in community quarantine for a month and I remember a feeling of sadness and fear from that announcement. I was sad because lockdowns meant the life I knew – going to the office, the gym, the mall, going out with friends and the mall – it was about to change.
Suddenly, the threat of COVID-19 became very serious from being a distant event happening in other countries like China and Italy.
We went on lockdown in March. We’re now in the middle of May which means I’ve been sheltering in place for two months now and counting.
How has life been since then?
The Philippines has one of the strictest lockdowns globally. The once busy streets and highway have become quiet because the public transportation has been suspended and curfew has been imposed. Suddenly there are no more people crowding the trains as they rush to get to work. People are only allowed to go out of their houses for essential runs like food and medicine. We’re also required to have a quarantine pass whenever we go out.
If you don’t want to go out, you can have food delivered to you instead from a number of options like Grab and Food Panda. The government has also been giving money to people through the social amelioration program to tide them over during the lockdown. The local government units from the different cities and provinces are also distributing relief goods to people – this is something families who have experienced natural disasters like typhoon, earthquake, volcano eruption or sometimes accidental disasters like home fires go through in the Philippines.
Pre-quarantine days, this street was packed with motorcycles, cabs and jeepneys. There would be kids playing outside their homes too.
You’re required to wear a face mask as well whenever you go out so I bought washable ones for my mom and I to wear. It’s cute right? I figured if you’re gonna wear a mask, might as well make it stylish since a mask is part of the new normal now. Not hard to find washable masks in different styles these days. Most fashion brands I know and like in the Philippines are already creating and selling face masks.
I used to spend plenty of time outside the house. Even on weekends, I hardly stay put inside the house since I go to the office, the gym or the mall whether with friends or by myself. Now, I just go out when I need to buy vitamins but even that’s limited now! If I can do it online, I usually opt to do so now – never mind the shipping fee.
This is from our garden. Before I start work or whenever I feel anxious, I come out here when the sun is out and I just take this view in. It helps to calm my anxious mind.
The Work Sitch
People have also been asked to work from home – if they can. Even BPO workers have been asked to work from home. But if your job can’t be brought home, then you’re out of a job. Maybe just temporarily while the enhanced quarantine is ongoing or completely out of a job because the company you’re working for has been forced to close because of the ongoing pandemic and no revenues are coming in.
I’m lucky to belong to the group who still has work and able to work from home. Actually, even before this pandemic, I had the option to work remotely from time to time. I even looked forward to those days when I could not report to the office. Now I’m working from home full time. It’s a good thing I have a somewhat strong Internet connection at home.
Just like how it is around the world, nowadays, meetings are no longer done face to face but virtually. Luckily, I haven’t experienced doing plenty of video calls – mostly just voice calls and chats over Viber and Dingtalk therefore I have not been suffering from Zoom fatigue.
During the first couple of weeks of working from home, I still had my alarm set to 7AM and I would still roll out of bed at 8AM. LOL. It was part of my new normal along with working out. Speaking of exercise…
Fitness and Health in Lockdown
Pre-quarantine, I spent a lot of days at the gym. I was even working with a personal trainer. Well, the gym has been closed for two months now too so that part of my life has gone out the window which also sucks because I really enjoyed going to the gym.
I made it a habit to still workout at home when we went on lockdown. I even watched what I ate. All because I didn’t want to gain weight and undo all the hard work I’ve ever put in the gym. But life on lockdown gets to you somehow. I would admit that I’m not working out as much or eating being as conscious with what I eat these days.
I still workout these days maybe not as often as before but it’s not completely out of the window and yes I try to watch what I eat still. The motivation has changed though. It’s no longer about weight loss.
My motivation is now simply because I know it’s important to stay healthy and to have a strong immune system if I’m to keep myself from getting sick and I don’t mean just of COVID-19.
I don’t have a home gym. I don’t even own one pair of dumb bells. So the workouts I do are all body weight types of workouts. But I thought I’d add a little fun to my exercise so I bought a jump rope. Luckily, delivery of non-essential items like this is now allowed by the government. It wasn’t back in March and April.
OOTDs and Beauty Regimen
I used to love dressing up for work. I even rocked high heels and I wore make up. But I’m just home these days. No friends or crushes to see. You know how women post on social media about saying goodbye to wearing bras these days because they too are working from home? Well I’ve said goodbye to eye brow makeup. LOL. That’s why I say I’m lucky I don’t have to do video calls. I don’t feel like prettying up these days.
The most I can do in the beauty department is pamper my skin and so I bought myself a lot of sheet masks.
I have however been mulling over dressing up even a little bit, wear bit of makeup and then take OOTD to post on social media. I thought I’d do it like how the women at Cupcakes and Cashmere, a favourite lifestyle blog of mine, are doing. Who knows? For now, that’s just an idea I’m toying with. Not something I’ve already decided to do.
What I Do to Unwind
I video chat with my friends from time to time on weekends (that’s the only time I bother to put brow makeup on at least). But mostly, I spend my days watching movies on Netflix (check out my latest recommendations), playing games and reading books. Books! I have a lot of unread books on my shelf from those book sale events I attended in the past. Here are just some of my latest reads.
How I Am and My Family Doing
Physically, I am okay. And so is my family. Thank God for that! My mom keeps a regular stock of fruits at home – mostly bananas and oranges while I ensure we have vitamins. Emotionally? I guess I would say I am still somewhat in disbelief. I never thought I’d experience a pandemic in my lifetime. I’ve heard of it happening of course. But actually be living through it?
Everyday I check the news. I read about what’s happening especially about the vaccine updates. I hope and I pray that we find a vaccine to fight off this deadly respiratory disease. I am also in disbelief that we’ve had to go on lockdown and sometimes I feel frustrated, sad, and downright exhausted!
Sometimes, I even feel hopeless about the situation and I don’t just mean about COVID-19. I’m talking about living through a pandemic with the kind of government we have. I wish to go out. I miss going out to go wherever like the mall and the gym.
But even if the enhanced community quarantine is lifted, I’m scared about the idea of going out. Without mass testing happening, how can I tell who is sick or not?
I don’t want to catch the virus. Or worse – be this asymptomatic carrier who unknowingly spreads it to others like my family. Mentally? I have my good days and I have my bad days. The good days are when I feel okay and stable, going about my daily routine. But then there are the bad days. I’ve never considered myself to be such an anxious person until this pandemic! It doesn’t help that I live in a house that’s so open to people – even with the quarantine in place, my mom and my uncle have friends visiting them.
Sometimes, it’s our neighbours and I have to keep reminding them to keep their distance. I get so alarmed when I hear someone seemingly coughing these days! It’s even harder to fall asleep these days. I tell myself to be in
bed by 11PM the latest but my brain is too wide awake! So that’s why I’ve said goodbye to setting alarms. I let myself sleep these days because I need to get enough sleep.
It was actually worse the first two months in lockdown. After I return home from going to the nearby pharmacy or convenience store, I get so paranoid that I might have caught the virus. Every single ache I feel in my body, every single sneeze, every single numbness I feel in my limbs, I think “am I sick with COVID-19”?
My mind has calmed a bit down since then. One shouldn’t attract such negative thoughts! And I know I am going to do everything I can in my control to not catch the virus.
The lockdown in most parts of the country has been moved to a general community quarantine status. It means there’s public transportation allowed again. More non-essential businesses can be opened too
including the mall. Not Metro Manila though where I live. COVID-19 cases here are still rising! But we’ve been put under modified enhanced community quarantine. We call this Season 4 of ECQ. It’s different but the same. It means some non-essential businesses are allowed to open again. But no public transportation still.
Since some of my friends are going back to the office, their companies must provide them with a shuttle to get to work. If not, they can either drive to work (for those with cars), bike to work or even walk to work (this is unfortunate for those whose work are far from where they live). I feel only a little bit of comfort from the new status. Mass testing is really the only one that will make me feel secured!
I know the virus may be here for the long haul without a vaccine or cure available just yet but I am hopeful that I can have a life outside again, cautious still but a life not on lockdown and hopefully a life where I don’t have to keep guessing who is sick and isn’t sick.
About the author
Liz is 34 yrs old, residing in Metro Manila, Philippines and loves being a city girl! She likes to read, watch movies and series and enjoys writing hence she keep a blog as a creative outlet. You can check out her blog at PiecesofLiz. You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!
Quarantine Diaries is a blog series where bloggers from different countries share their quarantine stories to narrate their experiences and remind us that we all are in it together.
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