A Year After The Lockdown

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3 years ago
Topics: 2021, Blogging, Blog, Writing, Story, ...

It's been a year when the government declared the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), then the General Community Quarantine (GCQ), and a 2-week Modified General Community Quarantine until the whole country is still under GCQ but now things are gradually coming back even if a new variant is on the loose. I'm about to look back when the whole nation stops in just one snap.

The 1st Quarter of 2020

After the eruption on Mt. Taal as ordinary people need surgical masks until most store owners took the advantage of raising it to its suggested retail price. Whether it is a surgical mask or the N95 mask. Most of us would create our own face masks.

On January 30, 2020, the first case of the novel Coronavirus was recorded when a Chinese national entered Ninoy Aquino International Airport and tested positive for the virus. This is when we started to panic as were about to purchase every essential we need but it became worse as people are hoarding these items to keep them from themselves.

On February 11, 2020, the World Health Organization gave a new name for the novel Coronavirus. Hence, it was called Covid-19. A month later on March 11, 2020, that the virus was declared as a Global Pandemic expecting to see the number of cases, deaths, and affected rise within the following months.

Pres. Rodrigo Duterte was so confident to eradicate the virus, but it needs to be stopped as he placed the entire Luzon region under lockdown (which was called the Enhanced Community Quarantine) on March 16, 2020. Everything stopped in just one snap of a finger.

Schools, Offices, and Malls are closed. Events were postponed and were rescheduled once everything is back to normal. Flights were canceled, the economy is down. Some businesses continued to operate, while others decided to close down, except for the Business Process Outsourcing industry to continue their operations. Checkpoints were stationed on every street.

Grocery Markets remained open within a given time frame so we can survive, and no one is allowed to go outside unless if you have a Quarantine Pass. I was at home preparing to go to work. I'm not the only one around at home, I'm with my mother and one of her colleagues when this happened.

What did I do during ECQ?

The moment they declared the lockdown, I decided not to report at work after checking the news there are people lined up at the checkpoint, and you can only pass if you have your Company ID including your Work Certificate proving you're working for that company.

Yes, my previous job was affected back then, except with the Freelancers that I know of, who stayed at home doing their work for years now. What I did was I stayed for 2 weeks at home doing self-quarantine making sure that I follow the health safety protocols in and out since I have the quarantine pass so I can buy everything we need to survive.

My mom's job was also affected by the pandemic, her clients decided to cancel the project and move it to a later date. On March 29, 2020, I decided to report to work and stayed on-site at the Mall of Asia Annex Building. I had the fear inside of me. What would happen if I got infected? Will I be able to see my mother again?

I faced that fear, then turned it into bravery & courage. The moment I entered the capital region, the busiest streets of the city became a ghost town, only a few cars driving by and a few people walking around.

The reason why I went to work-on-site is I cannot do it in my home since the environment around was too noisy at night. The endless barking of dogs, the chicken cooing in the morning or the afternoon, even your neighbor shouting for the whole day making her life miserable.

The moment I entered my workplace, things have changed. There were social distancing markers, tables were apart, the same thing as goes when you're inside of the production floor. I remember that every month I send money to my mom for her to survive. After weeks of staying on-site, I went outside for a walk, grabbed my camera, and took photos outside.

Once a lively city, it became a ghost town. Only a few establishments were open during ECQ. After a month it turned into the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) from April to May. The same routine, eat, sleep, work, repeat. On June 1, 2020, the lockdown status was shifted to General Community Quarantine.

Why shifted to a lesser quarantine status?

The moment they shifted this status, they decided to open a few establishments from Malls, Diners & Fast Food Restaurants, Stores, Hotels, except for Amusement Centers & Parks. Public Transportation is back but only a few limited routes. The curfew period was changed from 8:00 pm to 5:00 am since people wanted to get out even if we're in the middle of the pandemic.

For those who are coming to the south, the last stop would be at the ParaƱaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX) and commuters would find another mode of transportation to get to their destination. I keep asking my colleagues if any available routes are going back to General Trias, Cavite, and there it was.

But I decided not to take a bus ride, instead, I went along with my Call Center Manager back then who also lives in General Trias, Cavite as we rode back home. 2 months later, I was able to get home and saw my mother again. Then I went back on-site, stayed for a few months until I filed a vacation leave to celebrate my 28th Birthday.

Before filing my leave, I was overwhelmed with my salary in Teleperformance so I decided to search for a side-line and discovered this platform where I started to write my articles. I was able to get a few points then until everything changed when the bot arrived. Previously using it as a side-line then, and I only post on the weekends except that I posted a day after my birthday.

Celebrating my birthday during the community quarantine was different than it was before. And I'm eternally grateful that my friends, colleagues, and family remembered my special day. Until everything changed when our program was dissolved and moved to a different site.

We were transferred to Microsoft Xbox. The training would last 2 weeks, but it wasn't enough for me and the process is quite complicated than Microsoft Office. That is when I decided to leave until now I haven't received my last pay including my 13th-month pay. The moment I left the company, I went full-time using this platform.

I left Teleperformance on November 17, 2020, then started to write my diary entry while I'm traveling within the pandemic. Here are my previous articles when I visited the following cities below:

Celebrating Christmas was different than before, even on New Year's Eve except we still do the tradition of lighting up pyrotechnics either on the ground or in the sky. 2020 taught me to be strong, focus on what I have to do, and be grateful that you're still alive.

My mother doesn't have any idea that I left the company, and I already told her about it. She was very supportive of what I'm doing right now. I told her that I no longer want to go back to the BPO industry. I'm done serving my time for 5 years as an agent, and I want to shift my career into a different path.

Is the Philippines under lockdown status?

I would say, yes. It is still under General Community Quarantine up to this day even if there is a new variant on the loose. Now, the vaccines arrived weeks ago followed by another one. As people are now lined up to get vaccinated hoping that everything will be back to normal.

Of all the countries that lifted their lockdown status, the Philippines is the longest to remain under lockdown with lesser quarantine rules. I don't know if there's another country to beat, but other countries opened their borders now with stricter rules because of the new variant.

If this will happen again for the next century, then we take this as a lesson. Although it tested our resilience and changed our everyday life. A lesson that we can learn from it, for a safer and better tomorrow. A snappy salute to everyone who is fighting on the same line to survive.

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Avatar for rapsantos
3 years ago
Topics: 2021, Blogging, Blog, Writing, Story, ...