Real Estate Marketer

99.99% Sagada Igorot

Working Ant in Ortigas

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Very Personal Blogger

A Coronavirus Tragedy: I wanna be home BUT

As I drew near my mother, Lourdes, who was outside our house doing her laundry, I realized that I am messing around with the local authority. I knew from the start that everyone, just like my cousin, Khujie, who is coming home to Sagada is required to undergo a 14-day quarantine in a designated facility.

I traveled all the way to Sagada for 12 hours and got away with the protocol. My mom  saw me and before she could do a move, I woke up-- It was just a dream, a product of homesickness of this lonely soul in Quezon City.

In real life, my 60-year old mom is a big fan of Smart's Unli Call promo. She would call me to nag about my food supplies and insist to send me "better" goodies, which is impossible with the suspension of  public transportation across Luzon.

At one point, my mom advised me to find ways to be home. That's when I saw in the news about  individuals being smuggled in to Baguio City.

Earlier in the building where I live, we had two cases of coronavirus. The admin of the building admitted that the infected persons were inside the building since no facility can accommodate them due to the soaring number of cases in the city.

Confined in my room, I tried to be productive by volunteering in two major causes. 

First is in the Store Finder PH, a crowd-sourcing app that helps to identify the nearest open stores, pharmacies, refilling stations, and other essential establishments during the pandemic. I assisted by writing press releases and helped in its distribution to make sure that the write-up I did would reach its intended audience.

Second is in the relief drive for Cordillerans who are stranded in Metro Manila just like me. I made visuals and social media postings to solicit for donations and inform my fellows that there is this new group that distributes food door to door.

 Days turned into weeks. And the painful truth hit me: this could last for months.

I received a confirmation that what we have been receiving were leave credits and advanced 13th month benefits. Nevertheless, we had money to buy ourselves food. I know some who were terminated by the start of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ). 

As per government subsidies for workers, I have never received any. But again, having not contracted the virus is already an advantage.

Being confined inside an 18-square meter residence in a stranger’s land was cruel. Despite my family’s effort to check on me, I still got very lonely and chose to be glued to my bed day in and day out.

Until one day, I received the news that we can go back to work at a 50% capacity. My rapid test turned out negative which gave me a license to ease my biggest fear.

Then one morning, I read in the news that a police officer in Buguias, Benguet caught the virus and that this police officer went home to Besao which is next to Sagada the day before the results of his medical test revealed the bad news.

Sagada grew more worried as one of the persons who interacted with the police officer was also found to be positive with the virus days after.

Look, I also wanted to go home despite the fact that I needed to be in a quarantine facility first for 14 days before seeing my family. But there are two facts that make me weigh on this: I live in a building with its third case and I am from Metro Manila which is the center of the pandemic in Luzon. 

Despite another fact that my rapid test results say I am clear, I choose the safer option. 

What if when I get home, Sagada gets its first case and people start blaming those coming from Metro Manila? Fact: we can get the virus while on the way. 

Still for my family, I choose the safest- I will stay here while the country is plagued by this virus. It will get better for sure. And and when that happens, I can run home for real with no BUT. 

Christian is a Marketing Communications practitioner in Quezon City. He is an Igorot from Sagada, Mountain Province. To get in touch with him, please shoot an email to christianaligonow@gmail.com.


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