The moments leading to this lockdown felt like a blur. It all happened so fast. One minute I was in front of my laptop, proofreading. The next thing I knew I was breaking down.
At the nearest grocery store, it was chaos. Everyone was hoarding. Well, at least those who were financially capable to hoard. Instant noodles and canned goods were selling out faster than lightning. Bottles of alcohol were nowhere to be found. Masks were already out of stock. The cashier line went on and on. Social distancing didn’t matter. And I stood there dumbfounded.
At around 9 pm, the President declared the community-wide quarantine. One month. For 30 days, everyone must stay at home and observe a safe distance from another human being. Establishments, except those that cater to our primary needs, were locked down. Public Utility Vehicles were not allowed to operate. Curfews were mandated. To contain and, hopefully, find a solution to the virus, everything and everyone took a pause while the frontliners worked double time.
It has been 11 days since then. The number of cases still rise by the day. We have already lost a lot of good doctors and health workers. There is still no cure. It seems like the quarantine is going to take a lot longer than a month. Hopefully not.
Looking on the Other Side
If there’s any unexpected but very welcome impact that this pandemic has brought about, it is the clearing of the air we breathe. As one environmentalist would put it, the Earth is healing.
News sites have been reporting about the huge drop in pollution ever since the quarantine. NASA satellite photos show clearer views of cities around the globe. The condition of the world-famous Venice Canals have become better. Even Manila Bay shows a huge improvement.
As the smog clears up day by day, we can now see the Sierra Madre mountain range from Metro Manila, as well as the Memorial Cross of Mt. Samat in Bataan. Now, that is hope.
In these trying times, we all need something to hold on to. To know that we’ll still have a place to go home to after all this, I needed to hear that. We all needed to hear that. But not everyone has the chance and the choice to look on the other side of this war, not when they struggle to survive every single day being jobless and maybe also homeless. So if you’re reading this right now, you’re one of the lucky ones.
It’s beautiful, isn’t it? If you like seeing clearer skies and breathing fresher air, when everything goes back to normal, whatever that may be, let us commit to protecting the only planet we’ll ever live on in this lifetime.
Earth Hour 2020 Goes Digital
I hope you observed this year’s Earth Hour last Saturday at 8:30 PM.
As everyone observes the proper measures in preventing the spread of the virus, we are encouraged by the World Wide Fund for Nature-Philippines (WWF-Philippines) to still “help our planet recover from the inside of your homes, and be mindful of the impact you have, not just on the environment, but also on your fellow living beings.”
For the year 2020, WWF-Philippines’ campaign #ChangeTheEnding aims to show the public that there are current realities that must be dealt with now, such as “changes on rain patterns coupled with the countries growing population that could result in severe water shortages before 2030.” We can’t keep running away from it, so we must act now and act fast. Aside from the annual switch-off event, they are urging us to share our sentiments and own efforts online through the hashtag to raise awareness and inspire action for our Mother Earth.
“This year, we decided to invest in a campaign that will reach beyond Earth Hour. This campaign will hopefully send a message that will show how everything that we’ve allowed to happen is affecting the generations after us. It’s us right now, however, who are in a position to make a change,” WWF-Philippines and Earth Hour ambassador Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski said.
Together, no matter the distance between us, let us all unplug and reconnect with the home we call Earth. The annual global lights-out event may have taken place last Saturday but we can regularly practice turning the lights off for an hour throughout the year. Once a week? Once a month? It’s your call.
A Note to the Readers
I hope this post reaches at least one restless heart who is in dire need of good news. I hope this post helps at least one person who’s having a hard time seeing through all of this like me. Let us all help each other so we can see another sunrise or sunset holding together, or head to a place full of smiling people without thinking of the risk. But while we are still confined in the four corners of our homes, let us try and be each other’s home.
As DOH says, #BahayMunaBuhayMuna.
When the war is over, I hope we become better not only for ourselves but for everyone who’s fighting to make this world a better place to live in for succeeding generations.