July 14, 2024

[Background: In my own little corner of the world, in a rural Sitio of Itogon, I am writing this – still, for: reflection, learning, and lessons learned – or, to be learned.
Today is a Monday – the 30th of March 2020; also, the Effectivity of a ‘Total Lockdown’ as contained in a Joint Executive Order No. 01, s. of 2020, signed by our own Barangay Captain in Tinongdan as well as the Barangay Captain of Dalupirip, Itogon. According to what was explained, said Ex Order mandates a ‘No Entry to and a No Exit from’ the two barangays, with Emergency exceptions.
Earlier, the National Government declared an ‘Enhanced Quarantine’ for the Period of March 15 to April 14, 2020 Midnight – first, for the National Capital Region (NCR); then later for the whole of Luzon – of which our beloved Barangay is part.
Under this set-up, the residents were still enjoying some special or ‘exempted’ activities, e.g. just secure a ‘Quarantine Pass’ and you could go up the City to buy your necessities; there were trips for the Public Utility Jeepneys (– were the schedules: Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays?); one could still ask the favour of another to buy her this or that by pieces or kilos – as she usually did in previous years, owing to her incapacity (as she emphasizes) to buy goods by bulk; and so forth.
And then, the local Executives’ Order came – signed on the 26th, but brought to the homes on the 27th.
Next day – the 28th, and next, the 29th, much worries, talk, and anxieties gripped the Sitio. People were asking questions like: “What will happen to us here if we will be locked down? “And there will be no more jeeps to ply?” “My problems are worse than yours – I could not afford to stock some extra provisions, my cash is limited, ara mango!” “What about if there is an emergency?” [But someone answered: ‘Emergencies are exceptions’.]]
NOW, the ‘Total Lockdown’ commences, and if you look around as far as your eyes can allow, you’ll notice: almost about everybody is inside their respective homes. So, in my case particular, it is time to reflect.
Basically, let us dwell on the question: what are observed now, vis-à-vis, the what used-to-bes? We shall cite a present reality and match the same with a previous one – now differing, or yet parallel? Then, some analyses. Our first reality:
Silence. The Silence now is almost deafening: no passing-by vehicles no motorcycle roars; nay! not even children playing. The used-to-bes?
You can guess right: engine run and honking vehicles, the flashing motorcycles and their riders, the shrieking, playing carefree children – in the Mini parks or their surroundings.
The ‘Social Distancing’ – in previous days before this total lockdown has not been strictly observed here – except the required ‘space-between’ that the drivers see to it as followed.. before they start-engine.
People talk with each other – as casually or as neighbourly as they can; some, wear face masks, some don’t. Of course, people here don’t need to worry about shaking hands nor do they.. about the beso-beso. That is supposed-to-be a ‘borrowed custom’ among them.
‘Deeper’ however, we notice some ‘changes’ obtaining. Let’s reverse, for clarity, the Sequence: the then – or used-to-be; or before; then, the now.
Before, one may stop by the streets – or infront of a friend’s house for a brief, sweet-little-nothing talk. Now, he/she can’t – the neighbour or friend is busy with her own family co-members discussing, eating, or what. Besides, he himself has to hurry home and to his family – who may not as favour his going out even on short errands, as per advice by ‘reliable’ news broadcasts or announcements. Next ‘change’:
The ’Regard’ of one over the other. (n.b. let’s be reminded: this term ‘Regard’, is much akin to the French regarder =int “to look”).
Before, since individuals ‘regard’ people with a lot of possible adverb-discriptions, e.g. condescendingly, belittlingly, sarcastically, or what have you. Now, that look – or betrayed by look ‘Regard’ has evolved into a more ‘level-like’, sympathic, kinder kind.
Is this now for real? Or, shall it soon revert to the ‘usual’? If it is real, it should be nurtured and polished.. for good.
If it is not, then how long will it stay – while there is a Lockdown? For some time yet, then, eventually..? et cetera?
Or, is it that: it obtains ‘real’ – for some people over others, because we are all now ‘in the same boat’ – sumus eadem in Navi?
We’ve been all – in the same on this or that before: let’s go for the good ‘reals’ – let’s compare learnings and reflections, and get lessoned like real fellows or gaits!

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