Hello, I am Loren from Laguna, Philippines.  I’d like to send a virtual hug to you during this time, and I hope you’re safe and well. I just wanted to share my experience with how COVID-19 has affected my life. What’s happening now is truly heartbreaking and I could only wish that we could survive this pandemic and come out stronger on the other side.

I’ve been working from home for over a year and a half so staying at home 24/7 isn’t new to me. But when the Philippine government announced that the whole of Luzon, the island where I live, will be put under Enhanced Community Quarantine — it’s never the same again: we were no longer allowed to go out for non-essential activities, schools were shut down, businesses were temporarily closed, our local government implemented strict checkpoints screening travelers, and there’s nothing on TV but news about COVID-19. Funny how this pandemic changed everything in a snap. It has, sadly, impacted everyone regardless of social class.

Before, I could just go to the mall whenever I wanted and run some errands. Now, we have to plan our grocery trips strategically and wait for our turn to visit the stores. A little bit of paranoia and constant fear kind of sets in when going out for a grocery trip and thinking we could potentially come into contact with the virus. Grocery online shopping, unfortunately, is not an option for us, although in our community we have limited online food trading on Facebook and authorized personnel/front-liners to take our orders/basic needs and have them delivered to our doorstep.

As for me, I have created myself a time to do the things I’ve been putting off when I had no time such as taking care of my succulents, trying out recipes on Pinterest, binge-watching some of the popular series I’ve avoided all these while, doing some online training relevant to my job and getting on to a fitness regime, etc., essentially developing new skills and trying to be productive and creative as much as possible.

It’s frustrating and sad at the same time, though now we get to appreciate the simple and little things in life. We no longer look for something lavish because we know that being healthy, sane, and safe during these times is enough. Luckily, I still have a job and I am thankful for each day that I wake up knowing that there’s something to look forward to. Every day I keep on thinking, where will we be in six months? a year from now?  I hope that one day, everyone can safely get back to work without worrying about the virus.

No country has fully prepared for this pandemic and the only thing we can do now as citizens is to follow our government’s protocol that is, to stay at home.