We are healthy. We are safe. We are more informed.
Today I asked a few questions of the health worker who comes to visit us twice a day, every day to take our temperatures.
And then I did some poking around online to find out more information about what we might experience once we are allowed to leave the grounds of the Hangout Beach Resort.
It’s a great place to be under quarantine – but I would like the freedom swim in the sea, garden in the owner’s lot up the road, go to the market. (Yes, the owner is planting veggies up the street in another lot, and I think that’s so cool because I sometimes miss our Cleveland garden.)
Philippine Quarantine Day 8
Respect for front line health workers
First, I want to say we are down to one health worker who comes to see us each day. When this started last week, there were two workers. Now, there is only one, and she is a kind lady.
She takes our temperatures twice a day, always with a smile. I do not know if she was assigned to us, or if she volunteered for this duty. Either way, she’s brave and selfless.
Think about it: would you go to an apartment to take the temperature of three foreign travelers in your neighborhood in the middle of this coronavirus outbreak?
Similarly, as I watch and read news of health care workers all over the world, I have profound respect for their selfless acts.
From our roof looking south, I can see the Malay Municipal Hospital (pictured above). I can just make out the sign. I imagine the workers inside, ready to help a wheezing, coughing patient, desperate for air. But that’s not happening here. Yet.
Thankfully, there are no cases in Malay, which is like a large township. In fact, there are no confirmed cases in the entire Province of Aklan, which is like a county.
It’s a point of pride on the province’s Facebook page.
Aklan gets much revenue from its Boracay Island – a famous destination for tourists seeking clear blue water and white sand beaches.
But back to Malay. Within that area, there are 17 barangays, or “municipalities” — which are more like villages or neighborhoods back in the U.S.A. We are in the Motag barangay, where 31 people are being monitored, including us. Those people traveled to Manila or other places with COVID-19 cases. (Thanks to Yolly for the health department chart!)
There are hundreds of people under monitoring in Aklan. So far, no cases.
The health worker who visits us daily is from the local barangay Motag, within Malay, in Aklan Province, on Panay Island. That’s many layers of government and rules, in the Philippines.
I can’t help but wonder about what paperwork we might need for possible future mobility, especially since the Philippine government “canceled” tourist visas. So I asked.
I asked our lady if we would have some sort of documentation once our quarantine was over so we could prove we had already gone through it. Once we are allowed to go to the grocery store or market, I’d hate for one of us to sneeze, only to be hauled off to some holding center somewhere. Not that it would happen – but we are in a foreign country and some people are afraid of foreigners.
She assured us we will have official documentation from the local government once we are deemed cleared. (Oh, and by the way, we still don’t have fevers – our temperatures were low or normal today.)
I also asked if one person would be allowed out from the property – or from the apartment. She wasn’t sure, and since any rule today could change by next week, I was OK with no clear answer.
But still curious, I searched online for answers. We are not in a large city like Cebu or Manila, and so official local news sources are not as easy to find.
I found a sample “quarantine pass” form on the province’s Facebook page.
In English, it basically means under the new coronavirus law, only one person — with this pass — can leave for supplies from each household between 5:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Violations are considered grave offenses. I know they are checking – I happened to see two young men in wearing ‘barangay police’ shirts at the end of our road yesterday, which was day one of this new community restriction.
Hopefully, we will get to take turns with the pass to leave the grounds: me, Tedly, and mom Diane.
Side note: as of today, there was no lock down on senior citizens in this area like there is in Bohol Province and some other places.
I continue to observe the neighborhood activity from our perches on the balcony and the roof. People on motorbikes (now people ride only one at a time) who come and go; sounds of roosters, pigs, birds; fishermen paddling the sea; families living their lives.
Every day around 4:00 p.m., younger local kids go to the store across the street for sweet ice and yell up “Hello!” to me. My guess is they all are under 10. Perhaps in the same family. I respond with hellos, waves, thumbs up, peace signs.
Today, my new friend Edenia (Filipina staying here at the resort) taught me a few words in Tagalog. I tried responding to the kids in a language they understand. (I don’t think the speak much, if any, English.) They looked at me with wide-eyed awe.
We’ve decided to stay at least one additional month, and so there is plenty of time to keep up the game with the kids. A few words a day – and I bet my pronunciation will sound hysterical. I’m the foreigner lady on the balcony who sounds funny!
Over the (quarantine) hump
Since it’s Philippine Quarantine Day 8, that means we are over the hump. Even if we can only leave one at a time next week, or even if we can only go down the road to the garden in the other lot, or into the sea, we will hopefully be more mobile.
So while we are over the quarantine hump, we up in the air about the future lock down effort. And there’s not a damn thing I can do about it.
I don’t know if I could handle a quarantine indoors, in early spring weather, back in the USA. Respect for those of you in that situation. I thank my lucky stars I get this amazing spot to wait things out, and enjoy life while I’m here.
To everyone cooped up inside: I hope you are hangin’ tough, stayin’ healthy, and countin’ blessings.