• Countries Visited: 9
  • Travel Wishlist: Africa, Iceland, Cuba, Europe
  • Locked down in: Philippines

“…I had to undergo a 14 day strict self-quarantine in my room. I was not used to it. It felt like it was the end of humanity.”

– When did you first hear about Covid?

January, 2020. It was already being talked about in the news.

– When did it first reach The Philippines?

January 30, 2020

– How bad did it hit the country?

It quickly spread like wildfire because there were no implementations and restrictions during that time. We also have lots of flights to and from countries where the virus is already prominent.

– What kind of restrictions / lockdowns were put into place?

The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases was organized by the executive  of the Philippine government to respond to affairs concerning emerging infectious diseases in the country.

IATF together with the people in the office of the president declared levels of restrictions in every cities/provinces in the Philippines.

Shown below are the four types of community quarantine according to levels of leniency.

  1. Enhanced Community Quarantine – Strict
  2. Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine
  3. General Community Quarantine
  4. Modified General Community Quarantine – Lenient

This is one of the government’s way of saving the Philippine’s economy, and to prevent the virus from spreading.

 – How did it affect your work/ day to day life this year?

The entertainment industry was badly affected globally. I was already sent to location and I was already working for 6 weeks to shoot for another season of the reality show we are about to film, then all of a sudden, because of the closing borders, we were all sent home with just less than 24 hours notice.

When I got back to the Philippines. It was a big adjustment to make for me especially during when I had to undergo a 14 day strict self-quarantine in my room. I was not used to it. It felt like it was the end of humanity. It was so quiet in the neighborhood. No cars were passing. Pollution dissipated. To the point that some mountains can now be seen from Manila.

I am a social person here in the Philippines, and all of a sudden, I can’t go out to meet people.

Going to the grocery was a headache cos of people started to panic buy. Long queues, shortened operating hours in the market and grocery.

– How has the country handled the pandemic?

The government had a hard time to control the situation. They had to use military presence scattered in high risk areas. It was just so hard to control the spread of COVID 19 especially in depressed areas where families of 7 or so live in a small room, in a community of 20 pax per 50 square meter.

A lot of people are not following protocols even those who work in the government.

Every 15 days, the president would declare what level or community quarantine will be followed for each region.

– What restrictions, if any are still currently in place?

Most of the Philippines are now in the General Community Quarantine and Modified General Community quarantine. Everything looks normal outside except for most people out are wearing face masks and face shields. Every establishment has a health declaration protocol and temperature checks. There are still a lot of new cases everyday but I think people have now adjusted.

– As a fellow traveller/adventurer, what are your thoughts on the future of travel?

I think travelling will only become easier once the vaccine is already out and easily available for everyone.