I never thought I’d witness another pandemic in my lifetime. And if I get to live several more years after this, I might witness another one. If there’s one thing I learned from watching news and documentaries about our current situation, it’s not a matter of IF a pandemic will happen, but WHEN.
It has been a little over 3 months since the quarantine started. If I’m being honest, nothing much has changed in my life since then. Other than the fact that my life as a travel blogger is at a standstill, my daily routine at home is still exactly the same.
I am a self-proclaimed hermit so I am used to being alone. I’ve been working at home for several years so not much has changed in terms of work. I’m not a social butterfly either. Being at home is my idea of fun. When the government started imposing social distancing rules, I didn’t have to adjust at all. I was like, “Man, I’ve been doing this my whole life!”
Kidding aside, I know that I’m quite privileged to say these things. I see people in my neighborhood constantly living in fear and worry because they don’t know when and where they’re going to get the next food to put on the table. I live in the southernmost tip of Cebu island and most of the people in my community are relying on agriculture, fishing, and tourism as their livelihood. Now that beach resorts and tour operators are closed, a lot of people here are struggling to get by financially.
I am neither struggling with money nor suffering from a health issue, but this pandemic is literally starting to get on my nerves. Not being able to go to places when I want to is starting to make my butt itch. I am not even talking about traveling for leisure. I’ve accepted the fact that I might resume traveling in 2023. I’m talking about essential trips like wanting to go to a pet shop because I need supplies for my dogs, but the nearest pet shop is in Negros island and all ports to and from there have temporarily ceased operations. Ugh.
A few weeks ago, I got frustrated in front of an ATM. Mind you, there’s only one ATM here in Santander. If it’s offline, I have to go to the next towns or travel by ferry all the way to Dumaguete City to get some cash. There’s actually another option which is to withdraw money from remittance service providers, but you will have to shoulder a hefty fee. Just to give you a context of how expensive it can get, if you want to withdraw 5000 pesos, you will need to pay 50 pesos for service charges. On top of that, an additional 30 pesos will be deducted from your account. Dude, that’s 80 pesos! That’s more than enough money to buy a kilo of rice.
I guess this is what life is throwing at me right now. I just need more patience to get on with this quarantine life.
The thing that’s keeping me sane these days…
To help cure my boredom, I decided to spice up my daily routine a little bit. I’ve always wanted to create a vegetable garden, but I kept putting it off because I’m just lazy like that. So when I heard that the Cebu Provincial Government is hosting a vegetable gardening contest, I immediately signed up for it. I even made a gardening blog! I figured if I have the provincial government as my accountability partner, I will actually stop wasting my time.
True enough, I am living for vegetable gardening these days. Every day, I wake up at 5 AM to prepare food for my dogs. After that, I immediately go to my garden and spend at least 3 hours tilling the soil, pulling out weeds, watering all plants, and just doing all sorts of stuff you usually do in the garden. In fact, I even sing to them (when there’s no one around).
I learned that in order to get through this situation, I have to do something else. Something that my future self will thank me for. Streaming Netflix all day is not going to help. I’ve done that and it has made my eyes suffer and my electricity bills worse!
Having 3 dogs to feed and an entire vegetable garden to maintain has kept me busy and sane these days. In return, I get unconditional love ( conditional at times) from the three rascals. Soon, I will be expecting a bountiful harvest from my garden.
Lessons Learned from the COVID-19 Pandemic
Life has taught me so many things ever since the COVID-19 pandemic started. But perhaps, the one thing that really struck me the most is this: it only takes one person to change the world.
I used to believe that one person can’t really change anything. It has to be a collective effort of a number of individuals to make a massive impact. But I keep forgetting that it all starts with one person.
The pandemic started because of the actions of a few individuals. In South Korea, the coronavirus outbreak got out of control because of one person.
In the same manner, small acts of at least one person can help improve our situation. If one person makes sure to implement strict measures in the community, no one is going to get infected. It takes one person to make a difference and that power can either be used for good or not.
In fact, I’ve recently experienced it first-hand. Like I said, I started vegetable gardening. I painted old water bottles with a bright blue color and it has caught the attention of some people in my neighborhood. They were curious about my garden. They wanted to do the same too so I gave them some of my extra seedlings. My vegetable garden is not just helping me – it’s helping the community too!
Plans After the COVID-19 Pandemic
I am staying hopeful in this pandemic by believing that this too shall pass. There are so many things I want to accomplish and places to go to. I know that I can’t do any of those for now, but that does not mean I can’t do something else. This pandemic has made me do things that I never would have done if the situation was different. Whatever life is throwing at me right now, I am simply going to do my best to move forward to my goals.
After all, we make big things happen one day at a time.
This is a contribution to ComCo Southeast Asia’s “Write to Ignite Blogging Project”. The initiative is a response to the need of our times, as every story comes a long way during this period of crisis. Igniting and championing the human spirit, “Write to Ignite Blog Project” aims to pull and collate powerful stories from the Philippine blogging communities to inspire the nation to rise and move forward amidst the difficult situation. This project is made possible by ComCo Southeast Asia, co-presented Eastern Communications, and sponsored by Electrolux, Jobstreet, and Teleperformance.