May 22, 2024

Coping with the community quarantine to arrest the spread of the Covid-19 in north Philippines has impacted many busy lives. The physical distance maintained between persons on the streets, the prohibition of social interactions and gatherings, the absence of different church services, the suspension of classes in all levels, and the sedentary lifestyle are among the new normal lifeways citizens must adapt to. As some have shortened their bucket lists of crafts and things they want to do, there are those who have found new purpose in their God-given talents or their time. This new lifestyle may not last past the end of April but it became the new norm in these unusual times.

Likewise, trapped in the bounds of social media because of transportation limitations, we sourced some stories from people of different sectors of society to tell us what activities their new routine includes.

“These days, I go to the clinic and see patients from 9:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. I wait if a patient asks to be waited for. Hospital admissions dropped significantly because patients don’t want to be admitted for fear of contracting the coronavirus. Many of the patients I see now have symptoms related to psychological stress. I do house calls for patients who can’t come to my clinic. I had one patient who suffered a stroke and the relatives just decided to keep the patient home for fear of the virus.” — Jonas S. Sharma, MD. Family Medicine Chair, Emergency Section Head, Officer-in-Charge of hospitals, NDCH.

“The Mobile Kitchen concept was concocted by a team of five women before the declaration of the ECQ. Now life revolves in the kitchen. Waking up at 5 a.m. daily to purchase ingredients and cook the food has been our activity for more than 20 days since the mobile kitchen situated below the flagpole at City Hall for frontliners started. We have forged friendships with some vendors who also started supporting our cause.The first week was a learning experience. Just imagine, most of us didn’t know how to cook rice in a big pot. We had days of burnt not well-cooked rice. The viand was okay but not enough for the 300 packs we were supposed to prepare. Other tasks include picking up of donations, delivery of relief, transport assistance for relief, then ferrying of volunteers to their house.” — Angelie Pamela Cariño, volunteer, Mobile Kitchen

“More than a month of quarantine has kept me grounded on things I love to do – gardening, vermicomposting, and my bottle crafts and I became particular with details. The luxury of time spent with family is priceless and we learn to treasure every moment with family members.” — Lucy Ruiz, NGO/Cultural Worker

“I have been in ‘heightened’ gears in the communications work of UP Baguio. With the assistance of other offices, we take charge of information dissemination within and beyond the UPB community such that the immediacy of information and communication, especially within the UPB community (most especially with students) is most needed in times like these.” Junley Lorenzana Lazaga, Office of Public Affairs, UP Baguio

“One routine that has changed is staying in bed longer than the usual rising at 5 a.m. and the first thing that I do upon waking up is to check my Skype/Messenger for messages from love ones (anxiety and uncertainty of the future of our children). The first two weeks of the ECQ was spent on sewing the bunny suits and masks for friends who are frontliners. Then early to bed as always since ECQ.” — Corazon Wong, retired business woman, sews as hobby

“At the moment, I decided to focus mainly on the protection of my family, specially that I live with a parent/senior citizen who is most vulnerable to the virus. I would love to cover the developments in the city but then a higher risk of being exposed out on the streets and bringing home the virus to the family is not an option. Photography is simpler using my phone to capture anything around and about my home.” — Lino Tabangin, photography enthusiast

“The game now is more on data mining. You interview online through pm or email. If you have no Internet presence you are out. But then you miss the color, emotion, and the other details in actual reportage. It’s hard to get the complete picture.” — Frank Cimatu, journalist

“My son, Zenki Christian, changed his routine radically. He has more time for exercise lime spinning and yoga. He has also made use of social media (fb and twitter platforms) to coordinate with private groups to raise funds for PPEs and the like for frontliners. And has spent more time with our pets.” — Florence Ibarra, Online Worker

“I made the decision to go home to the province, Kalinga, for the duration of the quarantine. My legal works practically grounded to a complete halt. I have the time to assist my wife in taking care of our son. I had to learn the art of changing diapers, where to place this and that. Putting our boy to sleep every now and then, how not to disturb him in his sleep otherwise I will be the one making him sleep until the wee hours of the morning. Making our bed while my wife does the cooking chores in the morning.” – Renante Cada, private lawyer

“As a Corporate Banking Officer, my routine includes preparation of a weekly schedule involving my Account Assistant and regular client visits and ocular inspections. With the implementation of ECQ, most of us Work from Home, daily activity and task list are prepared, the usual face-to-face meeting with my account assistant is now through email/Sm’s/viber/messenger/Skype. Contact with client is now done through lengthy telephone conversations and other social media platforms with high dependency on internet and network reliability. With the ECQ, I get to change work locations anytime  from my L-shaped office table in the office, I can move from the living room to the bedroom.” — Maylene Lopez, EastWest Bank Banking Officer

The influence of Internet has made work in the time of quarantine easier and more entertaining. However, the return of the rat race at the end of the Covid-19 quarantine will make the new normal the abnormal that couldn’t last too comfortably long.