We are healthy. We are safe. We are informed.
Highlight of our Philippine Quarantine Day 3: we now have a TV with 100 channels of cable.
This morning our landlady dropped it off outside our door; 32″ flat screen TV, remote control, cable box, coax and HDMI cables. I hooked it up, and it works great!
Philippine Quarantine Day 3: A TV
From the news programs we learned:
– There are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our province of Aklan.
– ALL foreigners in the Philippines are subject to mandatory 14-day quarantine and monitoring, which started Monday, March 16.
– All travel between the four provinces on the large island of Panay (where we are) is prohibited — except for health, safety, and official personnel.
– Foreigners are permitted to leave the country immediately (break quarantine). But without flights, this is basically impossible.
We haven’t had a television set since we left Cebu, Philippines on January 10, 2020. TV is not something we require in our rentals (WiFi IS). But at this crazy moment in time, we are relieved to have accurate news information piped right to us.
However, our happiness regarding the TV is tempered by some annoying utility issues.
Short utility outages
I awoke at about 7:30 a.m., used the bathroom — no running water. (Drinking water: we are fine. There are many huge jugs supplied by the landlady.) Several times throughout the day there was no running water. Thankfully, it usually returned in minutes. Apparently, it’s an ongoing issue.
There is a five-gallon bucket in the bathroom as a backup (common in the Philippines). We keep it full of water.
Similarly, the internet at our place continues to be temperamental. Sometimes no connection for a minute or two — other times, hours. We do have a local SIM card with data plan, and use our iPhone as a hot spot when necessary.
At 6:41p.m., the power cut off. Sunset is 6:00 p.m. exactly, so everything was totally dark until 6:57 p.m. when the electric popped back on.
Utility reliability is fair in the Philippines. We’ve had similar outages in other places. But it feels a little more common at our quarantine property. It’s more annoying than anything.
Indeed, overall, our quarantine apartment is more comfortable and spacious than most of our rentals.
Stranded at the airport
We can’t really complain. There are many worse off than we are. Our landlady, Yolly, told us there are 35 to 40 tourists stranded at the airport about two miles from us.
Most have been stuck there since the quarantine and travel bans began two days ago. No flights. No beds. No showers. Very limited food and drink. No answers.
Yolly said that she had been contacted by local officials to see if she would accept some of the stranded foreigners at her resort. Understandably, she said no. After all, she caused a stir in the neighborhood for accepting us as guests.
Of course, we were visited twice during our Philippine Quarantine Day 3 by local health officials to take our temperature readings, at 8:30 a.m. and 4:10 p.m.
Amusingly, both my mom and myself measured 33 degrees Celsius in the morning (about 91.5 Fahrenheit). Obviously, something was wrong with the scanner.
But the ladies dutifully recorded the bogus reading on our charts and left. (Ellen was normal at 36.5C). When they returned in the late afternoon, I noticed they had a different temperature gun.
Dinner, sunset, games, TV
Rounding out the day, we made use of some of the groceries we acquired yesterday and prepared all our food “in house” today. Dinner was spaghetti and sauce with leftover fish, vegetables, bread. It’s the first cooking we’ve done.
We finished the day watching sunset on the roof with beer and tea, games of Scrabble, more TV viewing, and prayers for the world.
Life is now!
What to read next:
- Philippine Quarantine Day 2: Fresh food, nervous neighbors, acceptance
- Philippine Quarantine Day 1: Laundry soap, beer
- How Earth Vagabonds ended up in quarantine in the Philippines