MANILA - Being on home quarantine is not in anybody’s bucket list.
But millions of Filipinos on the Philippine main island of Luzon had to start going through it after President Rodrigo Duterte placed it under an enhanced community quarantine or total lockdown starting Tuesday.
Under the strengthened measure aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a strict home quarantine shall be observed in all households.
Movement of people will also only be limited to accessing basic necessities and essentials.
In San Juan City in Metro Manila, Barangay West Crame has been placed on a barangay-wide lockdown after majority of the city's 15 confirmed COVID-19 cases came from the barangay, according to Mayor Francis Zamora.
Zamora has declared a state of calamity in the city in light of the pandemic.
Marcelino Trinidad, chairman of Barangay West Crame, said there are enough policemen and barangay officials to secure the area and ensure that only those with essential purpose are allowed to leave their homes.
“May mga pulis tayo at mga tanod na umiikot para i-monitor na nasusunod ang mga direktiba,” Trinidad said.
(We have roving policemen and village security personnel to monitor if the directives are being followed.)
He went on, “Ang mga nasa labas na wala namang ginagawa, dadalhin natin sa taas para i-quarantine, kaysa pagala-gala sila. Kailangan nating maghigpit.”
(Those who are outside doing nothing will be brought for quarantine, instead of just allowing them to loiter. We have to be strict on this.)
But what do people exactly do and plan to do during the month-long quarantine?
Resident Judith Vizon said, when the lockdown was announced, she immediately briefed her children not to go out of the house and to practice social distancing, even at home.
“Mga bata, hindi ko na pinapalabas. Kung may kailangang bilhin, ako na lang ang lumalabas. Sabi ko sa kanila, dapat dito lang tayo sa loob,” Vizon told ABS-CBN News.
(I don't allow the kids to go out anymore. If something is needed to be bought, I go out to do it. I tell them that we should just stay inside.)
To make their month-long home quarantine productive, Vizon said her husband decided to fix their cabinet and other furniture at home - a task he was unable to do for months because of work commitments.
“Household works. Bukod sa paglilinis, si daddy nagre-repair ng mga hindi niya nagawa dahil sobrang busy noon,” she said.
(Aside from cleaning, Daddy is repairing stuffs which he couldn't do before because of the busy schedule.)
Her children, meanwhile, took this as an opportunity to practice self-care by exercising.
They would also read up on lessons missed in school, and, at times, play their favorite mobile games.
“Nagsa-study din sila. Marami kasing nabitin dahil biglang naputol ang classes. Hindi natin alam kung matapos na itong COVID, kung babalik pa ba sila ng school,” Vizon said.
(They are also studying. The abrupt suspension of classes left them hanging. And we don't know if they need to go back to school once the COVID crisis is over.)
She continued, “Nakikinig din sa balita. Siyempre, ang gadgets, yan ang buhay nila.”
(They also listen to the news. And, of course, they play with their gadgets.)
For Vizon, self-quarantine is the best time to give special attention to their house by cleaning all corners and other items.
“Ako, syempre, ang paglalaba. Tapos unti-unti ko na ring inaayos ang mga tambak na gamit. Tapon ang mga hindi kailangan,” she said.
(I do the laundry. And, slowly, I fix things at home that have piled up. I threw away those we don't need anymore.)
For art lover Chito, being stuck in their home in Antipolo City for a month is the best time to make something creative.
In a Facebook post by his wife, Sari Razon, Chito painted Sari’s jacket with sunflowers, inspired by Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers.
An 82-year-old man in Marikina City, meanwhile, showed his creativity by working on a wooden carving of the Notre Dame and other famous churches.
The global pandemic also proved no match for Alvin Toñedo Martin of Sultan Kudarat, who decided to go on a “quarantour,” following the advice of Duterte: “Pwede kayong magbakasyon diyan lang sa bahay. Ikut-ikot muna kayo sa bahay niyo, baka may hindi pa kayo napupuntahan.”
(You can on vacation in your own house. Go around your house. You might have missed something there.)
Martin uploaded a photo gallery on Facebook, titled “Home Quarantine Kemerut,” sharing his “quarantour” experience at home.
He quipped about visiting the United States, South Africa, Norway, Canada, Spain, Finland and tourist sites in the Philippines - all while hanging out at home.
The post has so far garnered more than 79,000 shares and 106,000 reactions.
In Metro Manila, Mayor Lino Cayetano placed Taguig City on lockdown starting Wednesday midnight as a measure against the spread of COVID-19.
Under the lockdown, only vehicles delivering basic goods and supplies are allowed to enter and exit the city.
Supermarkets, grocery stores, pharmacies and banks will remain open, the local government said.
The local government said it will distribute sprayers and disinfectants in all barangays for sanitation.