We are healthy. We are safe. We are at peace.
It’s hard to believe nine days of quarantine have gone by already. So much has happened in the world (we keep abreast online and via cable TV).
Yet here, in the area around our restricted Philippine beach resort, it seems like hardly anything is changed or amiss.
Philippine Quarantine Day 9
From our second and third floor perches we watch the daily lives of the local Philippine people. They appear little different than what we’ve seen in other places in this country over the past four months.
Moms care for toddlers, laundry hang dries, home improvements and construction is done, kids play basketball, men smoke cigarettes and talk.
Scenes of ravaged stores and hospital chaos and mourning for the dead remain, thankfully, a world away from this peaceful place. Although here too residents are out of work, have little money, and are frightened and unsure.
Moreover, there will be no multi-trillion dollar aid package for these people. Many won’t have their regular jobs until tourists return to these beautiful beaches. The future is as uncertain as anywhere else.
Peaceful, but paused
Like everywhere, life is on pause. But one gets the sense that it’s not that different from other pauses – other problems.
The Philippine people are well used to disruptions and disasters; typhoons, floods, earthquakes, landslides, volcanoes. Our seaside compound is still repairing damage caused by Typhoon Ursula on this past Christmas Day.
One could argue this situation is ‘easier’. Nothing has been destroyed. There are no known cases of COVID-19 in this province. Fish are still pulled from the sea, fruits and vegetables harvested, rice is plentiful. Even to an outsider, it feels like it’s always been this way.
There is a cadence to life here. Like waves on the seashore. The nets are cast. The nets drawn in. The nets repaired. We will wait for the world to repair.
Over the last couple days, I’ve watched a guy carve a boat oar out of a plank of wood. What a lathe could do in 30 seconds took him hours and hours with a machete and whittling knife.
A small Pepsi truck made a delivery to the nearby corner store today. Full cases were unloaded — swapped for a big stack of reusable glass bottles which were then carted away.
A pickup truck with rice milling machine came to the neighborhood. Huge bags of recently harvested, dried rice were carried from different homes to be processed. The machine vibrates the husk and bran off – leaving edible rice kernels.
Vendors regularly putt through the neighborhood on motor scooters, hawking their wares: bread rolls, duck embryos (balut), peanuts, pudding parfaits, etc.
Manna from heaven
It all feels simple, natural, nostalgic in some way. And it gives me confidence that we are in a good place – the right place – to ride out whatever is yet to come from this global pandemic.
In fact, I have a new ‘all-natural’ pastime: feeding pigs. From our rooftop, it’s easy and fun to toss our organic refuse — pineapple and melon rinds, vegetable skins, etc. — down into a pen that houses two medium-sized pigs in the next yard.
The pigs are so happy; tails wagging and squealing with delight. Food is falling from the heavens!
Life is now!
Thanks for reading Philippine Quarantine Day 9: Peace.
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