Wear a mask, dude.

Show Me Your Quarantine View

Photos from Manila to Europe

As we wrap up week #5 of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in the Philippines, I’ve been keeping sane by connecting online with relatives, friends, and travelers I met in my adventures. I started a little social media project called, “Show Me Your Window/Balcony Quarantine View,” and I was moved by the entries I received.



As I expected, I’m not the first to come up with this idea. I found similar features in magazines. To make my version a little different, I asked each person to include their reflections during the quarantine. They did not disappoint.

METRO MANILA

My best friend Paolo, a.k.a. Picasas, is working on new artworks while stuck in quarantine in Parañaque.
…while Paolo’s wife, Marionne, creates sculptures and mixed media art in their home studio.
Meet my friend and hiking buddy, Doc S. “Gear up and slay” was her battle cry before entering the COVID/PUI ICU ward. We are mighty proud of you, Doc S! Thank you for all that you do.


L: Jay is counting the days from Mandaluyong City. “This view is from my condo window. I’m staying optimistic that this will be over soon and I will be able to enjoy my normal things differently again.”
R: Photographer Kai shared his San Juan sunset view. “Another day done.”

Supermom Em wrote: “We had only been in our new place 5 days when the quarantine was announced. I had found the place (or the place found me?), signed the lease, purchased beds, and had an interior design consult all in one weekend.
My broker asked: When do you plan to move in? I whipped out my phone and counted 2 weeks. She chuckled. It was the best decision I ever made.
In the next ten days I had the walls painted, bought furniture, installed blinds, hired professional cleaners, packed and unpacked our things, and finally settled in with my two toddlers.
This was my 6th move in 7 years. After solo parenting for more than a year, I feel incredibly grateful that everything aligned for me to move and finally be home safe during a global pandemic.
In the 5 weeks we’ve been here, a routine happily created itself. I like being the first one to wake and to watch the sky as I do my morning meditations. On weekends while my kids nap, I open the windows, light some incense and get on the yoga mat. I make Dalgona coffee on Sundays as an end-of-week treat and take it with me to the balcony. On most days, when the nanny takes my kids for their bath, I stop whatever I’m doing and pay attention to the sunset.
I got this from my good friend Andrea See and I pass it on whenever I get the chance: ‘For those who are working on trust, and/or healing from betrayal, being let down, or loss, Medical Medium prescribes a powerful way to rebuild on a soul level with Sunset Medication.
‘Trust is the soul’s precious currency. It’s the gold that allows us to take risks, to reach out and grab opportunities. Trust is what lets us live and love. Distrust, mistrust, suspicion, skepticism, wariness, misgiving, fear, sadness, anger, lack of confidence: these shades of doubt are all signs of a trust debt. And we all risk being overdrawn—if we don’t take care to replenish our trust reserves.’
Here’s what to do:
As often as you can—whether that’s once a week, three times a week, or every day—pay attention to the sunset. (Don’t sun-gaze, though—that will damage your eyes.) You don’t have to be on the beach witnessing the most beautiful sunset of your life. You don’t even have to be able to see the sky. You could be at your desk at a cubicle in a high-rise, with a calendar reminder on your computer as the only clue about what’s happening outside. No matter. Just turn your mind to the setting sun. For those few moments while the sun is going down, be present. There will be sadness, like a dear friend is letting you down. Your soul will be stirred.
Why am I not telling you instead to set your alarm every morning for the sunrise? It would certainly be a good meditation. It just wouldn’t be the meditation to rebuild trust. Focusing on the sunset is key, because you’re facing the darkness. It takes great faith to meet the fading light. When you turn your mind to the sunset, you attune your body to the earth’s rhythms.
When the sun rises the next morning, whether you’re awake to see it or not, your soul is aware that something you trusted came through for you. And it will begin to heal.”




Cassie the dog posted, “Another day, another miracle. All my hoomans are home and safe. I hope you all are, too!”


L: Jen said, “After my kids finish their school work online, a favorite activity for my family during the quarantine is to cool ourselves in our inflatable pool. The kids love it!”
R: Fellow animal lover Bambi is finishing a Yoga course from her condo in BGC. Her rescue cats keep her company.

Spencer from Mandaluyong: “Dark silence. This was shot from the 40th floor of my condo. I just used the night mode from an old Huawei P20 Pro. I’ll just quote from a book I used to read. It said, ‘Glorify who you are today, do not condemn who you were yesterday, and dream of who you can be tomorrow. Move forward with no second guessing, no guilt trips, no hesitation. Your purpose in life is to recreate yourself anew in each moment.'”
Art teacher, cartoonist, and toy collector Ruben wrote: “‘I think I have a bad feeling about this’ is the expression of Han Solo in Star Wars, but he always manages to get through different obstacles. I’m old-school at 48 years old, so I’m referring to the classic Trilogy of Star Wars. As I go through quarantine, living alone and away from my sons, it’s always been toys that help me get through frustrating times. As a fan of pop culture, looking at them just makes me happy. I would spend days going to Greenhills before the outbreak, just admiring the displays that I can’t afford. During this quarantine, I decided to fix the unit I’m renting here in Mandaluyong and start fixing my toys and books. I still have a lot to bring out. With the extended quarantine, I’d be able to do it, I guess. It’s like having a lot of people in my house during this time. It also inspired me to start doing comic strips again. I used to draw political cartoons, but with the strips I’m doing now, it’s more to uplift and encourage people. I still rant on Facebook about politics, but my IG is different—less toxic, just fun.” Sir Ruben was my high school teacher, and I beam with pride whenever I see his cartoons. Check out his works and toy collection here.





L: Val of GirlTalkPH said, “Being on quarantine made us agitated and anxious. After days of being in our room, my husband and I decided to go up the rooftop for some fresh air. It was such a freeing experience. We could see nature again—the sky, clouds, and most specially the sunset. For 30 minutes every day, this has become one of our quarantine habits that helped quiet our minds and feed our soul.”
R: Eric and James are cooped up with their dogs in Pasig. Eric wrote, “Summer outing, quarantine edition. Suddenly you realize that it’s not the destination that makes a vacation, but the quality time and the people you spend it with.”

RA’s Blank Space in Parañaque: “I went back to painting in March due to depression and anxiety disorder, prior to quarantine period. I was on medical leave for two weeks, and was forced by my company to go on leave until the end of ECQ. I converted our sala to an art studio since maaliwalas and maluwag yung area. Using old materials, I painted on large papers I bought more than two years ago and new ones during the ECQ. I focused on painting again to relieve my anxiety and be productive at the same time. Maybe I can make a career out of it if I lose my job after this pandemic, haha! My reflection during this period is to have time for things we love and relearn things we used to do.”


L: “For us humans, COVID-19 is serious and scary. But for dogs like Logan, it’s happy and exciting because their parents are home all the time.” –Javi, San Juan
R: Cristina’s dog Percy is her quarantine buddy in her Taguig condo. “No goodbyes, just see you soon,” she posted on social media.

Jella shared this photo from Alabang. “Working from home while home schooling! This is our reality during ECQ.”
From Lau of Parañaque: “Relief has finally arrived after three weeks in quarantine. Yes, three weeks! And it only contains 2 kgs of rice, 2 twin packs of coffee and 1 pack of biscuits. We’re lucky that we have enough resources to last us at least two weeks without the need to go out and buy. I can’t help but feel bad for our neighbors from the low income bracket who could only rely on the government and other people’s help. Hopefully, everyone (the public officials and the voters) learns from this experience.”

OUTSIDE MANILA: LUZON, VISAYAS, AND MINDANAO

Donna from Cavite wrote: “I will get a lot of flak for this but I will say it. The good things happening right now are just as real as the bad things. People shouldn’t be shamed for having moments of happiness and gratitude during trying times. If you’re happy about the opportunity to sit down and share meals with your family every single day because of the quarantine, that should be celebrated. Post it and immortalize this rare month of togetherness and bonding! If you’re grateful for this time to rest, revisit forgotten hobbies, start new ones, celebrate them! If you’re excited to see your garden flourishing under your constant care now, let us know your gardening secrets! If you’re overdosed on hugs and kisses from your little ones at home because you’re with them 24/7, oh please share the joy! There should be no shame in celebrating the pockets of gratitude and joy and happiness during times of hardship and suffering. If someone is sinking in quicksand, you don’t help them by jumping in and sharing in their misery. You stay on hard ground and reach out and pull them out. We save each other by reaching out and helping any which way we can. We get through tough times by counting and sharing our blessings. I encourage everyone to find their pockets of joy during these trying times. This, too, shall pass. In the meantime, what are you grateful for today?”


L: Ria, who runs a dog- and cat-friendly resort in Laguna, said, “Our dogs are the true winners of this lockdown.”
R: Cinematographer Paolo R. took this photo in Antipolo. “Yung 5-6 hours na byahe including traffic everyday (Antipolo-Makati-Antipolo), pila nalang sa grocery ngayon.” Translation: What used to be a 5-6 hour commute with traffic is now just the waiting time at the grocery.


L: “Our isolation room when Daddy is off to work,” wrote Jerome from Cavite.
R: Film director and restaurateur Mikey wrote, “My view from my balcony overlooking my garden at night. I moved to Laguna to escape the craziness of city life. I consider myself lucky because in scary times like these, I’m stuck in my own little corner of paradise.”

Anna runs a farm in Paril, Cebu City. “In a time of great uncertainty for most people, we have to go on as usual,” she said. “We wake up and make the usual drive up the mountain to our farm. Traffic is lighter than usual. You can see the worry and fear radiating from people in the city as they tend to their preparations but it’s almost non-existent in the rural areas. People are outside. Working. Interacting. Smiling. All the anxiety and fears that we may have brought up with us from the city melted away as soon as we stepped off our truck and heard our friend Joseph shouting, ‘Hurry! Hurry! One of the sows is giving birth!’ There is nothing more representative of hope and life than a newborn baby. And luckily enough for that day, just when we needed it the most, we were given hope. All 10 of them.”
Raphael is in Mindanao with his family. “We are all where we are meant to be at this moment. For us, it’s the family farm in Talakag Bukidnon, where time stands still.”



AROUND THE WORLD

Postcard from my travel buddy Martina, who is in Hanau, Germany. “Buddha and me,” she said.
Alex, who I met in Taiwan, is back in England. “My view’s not bad,” he said. Can you see Edinburgh Castle? Not bad at all.
Tom and Cherry, originally from Michigan, are cooped up in their vacation house in Florida.


L:: I met Tinae in Bali a few years ago. She sent me this photo from Bara beach. “I’m doing self-quarantine alone on the beach in a tent. This is in Bira, South Sulawesi. Crazy, ya! But I chose this than being alone in my flat where I will go crazy.”
R: “Italian countryside view” from Giovanni

My former officemate Curtis sent this photo from Singapore. “Self-quarantine for five days of medical leave due to sore throat and minor coughing in our HDB flat’s customized ‘quarantine suite’— the barricaded laundry room. We took out everything except the washing machine, then put an $80 Ikea carpet, a new inflatable bed with Ikea bedsheets, a curtain (not in pic), aromatherapy and my favorite dried flowers. Five days medical leave here means ZERO contact with household members and no going out anytime. Good thing I love the color blue so the pipes are a welcome sight every morning. Plus, got books that I planned on reading but haven’t flipped open even once.”




From Wollongong in Australia, Alfredo sent a photo of his cat Lexie, contemplating why there is somebody always at home. “She was adopted in 2018 when she was a little over six months old,” he said. “Now that many people are struggling in self-quarantine, she reminds me of how many animals have always been in forced quarantine in zoos for the benefit of people. How do you like it now that you can’t get out?”
Musician Tuan shared this photo of his mom’s sprawling garden in Paris. The Eiffel Tower is just a bike ride away, but it’s closed for an indefinite period due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nicole, mompreneur and owner of Salon Mer in Oakland, California, wrote: “Having to temporarily close my salon in an effort to keep our communities safe and healthy, I have been forced to face the mental/emotional fears and challenges I previously avoided because I was too distracted with busy life. Now the world has slowed down and this isolation has navigated me towards self care, self acceptance, self forgiveness, and self worth. Finding my strength and power is the foundation to keep pushing through.”
My high school friend Deney sent me a photo overlooking Berkeley Hills, California. As a frontliner, he drives cryogenic materials to hospitals and other industries. “This photo was taken en route to Santa Rosa, CA,” he said. “The sun’s about to peer on the horizon as I take my needed break on the side of the road, and do a walkaround vehicle inspection of my Big Rig, exposing myself to the elements… and possibly the invisible enemy.” Stay safe and take care, Deney!
My good friend Aprille from Sydney sent this photo of her colorful view: “After over a month in quarantine, it has given me a new appreciation for the little things. Something I previously took for granted was the view from my balcony. It used to just ‘be there.’ But after taking the time to slow down, I have come to appreciate watching the tram go by and the beautiful colors in the sky as the sun sets. These are the things we often take for granted during the business of our everyday lives. I’m grateful for being forced into lockdown. It has given the world a chance to slow down and really stop and appreciate the world.”

What’s your quarantine view in your part of the world? Share links to your photos in the comments section.

And while I still have your attention, have you considered donating to organizations that send food and PPEs (personal protective equipment) to our frontliners (such as doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, grocery workers, sanitation workers, and delivery personnel) in the Philippines? They are putting their lives at risk to care for COVID-19 patients and serve people who need daily essentials during this pandemic. Here are groups you can support:

Kaya Natin! Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership
Ateneo de Manila University Disaster Response and Management (Dream) Team
Manila Protective Gear Sewing Club
Frontline Feeders Philippines
Caritas Manila
UNICEF
Red Cross

Stay safe, everyone!