philippines-coronavirus-lockdown-home-quarantine
(L) Taken in Mandaluyong City on March 17. Photo by Renelyn Lastimosa. (R) Taken in Makati City on March 17. Photo by Celine Enriquez.  
Coronavirus

Photos of What Life in the Philippines Has Been Like Since the Coronavirus Lockdown

Filipinos share what they see out their windows and how much their neighbourhoods have changed.
26 March 2020, 4:03am

Like in most parts of the world, many Filipinos are confined to their homes due to the coronavirus pandemic. The country’s largest island Luzon, including the capital Manila, has been under strict community quarantine since last week. Other provinces in the islands of Visayas and Mindanao have also implemented similar rules. With public transportation suspended and people instructed to work from home, life is much slower.

For now, at least to many people, the outside world is only visible through the four corners of their windows. VICE asked readers about what they see from their homes, how much their neighbourhoods have changed, and how they are coping during this strange time.

Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila — Renelyn

mandaluyong metro manila lockdown

Streets are empty along the highway EDSA. Photo taken in Greenfield District, Mandaluyong City on March 17, 2020.

How has your neighbourhood changed since the lockdown?
We immediately felt the implementation.

Where we live, we see EDSA, a major highway in Metro Manila that is usually congested. But now, we only see four to five cars at a time.

On Monday, March 16, a day after the implementation, we went to the market and bought groceries. We noticed that it was still very chaotic and people were panic-buying. No measures were followed, even the social distancing. A few days later, we went back and people were asked to line up outside the market. We could only enter if we were wearing a mask. Small establishments in our area are all closed except for Dairy Queen.

What new policies did the government establish?
A curfew from 8 PM to 5 AM. All establishments, even those that sell food and medicine, are closed by 7 PM. There are also military or police personnel in borders between cities.

Do you think people really stopped going out?
From our balcony, we see a few people in the park walking their dogs. They go for a run or sit far away from each other.

mandaluyong manila lockdown

My partner and I goofing around, lifting each other to pass time, on Day 4 of community quarantine in Metro Manila.

How has this impacted you?
Professionally, since we mostly travel for work, we have lost income. Personally, it has strengthened our relationship and also given us more time to read books and finish personal projects. We also save more now because we can't eat out, shop, and watch movies in the cinemas.

How do you spend your days?
We try to keep a routine. During weekdays, we wake up at 8 AM. My partner Pam has translations and other consultancy work online. It’s the same for me; I do my meetings online. I am also finishing a diploma for social innovation through online courses. We make sure to talk to our parents regularly and check on them, Pam's parents are in Lebanon and mine are in the province. Every afternoon, we follow a workout routine with the Nike Training Club app and at night, we watch a Netflix series. We also cook good gourmet vegetarian meals.

On weekends, we sleep a lot, watch more Netflix, read books, and cook. We also go out to the balcony a lot, looking at people and counting cars.

Makati City, Metro Manila — Yuki

makati coronavirus lockdown

Greenbelt Mall on March 17, 2020.

How has your neighbourhood changed since the lockdown?
I live in the Makati’s central business district, near Greenbelt Mall.

From being a busy area, you can now barely see any pedestrians or vehicles on the road.

What new policies did local authorities establish?
Recently, our village applied a strict one-way access to all non-residents and issued quarantine passes for everyone who wishes to go out.

makati coronavirus lockdown

Makati City’s business district on March 17, 2020. Photo by Celine Enriquez.

Do you think people really stopped going out?
Based on what I've observed, the volume of people going out has significantly dropped.

How has this impacted you?
I have a fashion brand and can really work from home. All our artisans do as well. Still, logistics, like when it comes to delivery, have been hampered. That is the biggest impact on the business side.

My husband has adopted a work from home system for his office as well, so we are both observing home quarantine and praying for the situation to get better.

makati coronavirus lockdown

Makati City on Sunday, March 15, 2020, during the first day of Metro Manila's lockdown. Photo by Rem Lucio.

Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila — Bart

mandaluyong city coronavirus lockdown

Commuters in EDSA-Crossing, Mandaluyong City at around 8 PM on March 16, 2020.

Where do you live and how has the area changed?
I am from Quezon City but I am currently stuck in Mandaluyong City due to a total closure in the condo where my girlfriend resides. Moving around here is limited.

Only one person is allowed to leave the unit to buy stuff daily. For us, who do not have a quarantine pass, we can’t get out.

mandaluyong city coronavirus lockdown

Passengers catching a bus in EDSA-Crossing, Mandaluyong City at around 8 PM on March 16, 2020.

What new policies were established?
The local government and building management here are more strict since the condo where my girlfriend resides has a couple of positive cases of Covid-19.

How do you spend your days?
Currently, I am working from home. Days are quite boring and we spend it by watching the news and just doing our own office tasks.

Talisay City, Negros Occidental — Bea

talisay coronavirus lockdown

The view from my window on March 25, 2020.

How is your community doing?
People are resorting to prayers and asking for a miracle, trusting everything will turn out fine. I live in a gated subdivision with three gates before my house. We also have the convenience of having our own grocery and mall just outside. However, I am concerned for everyone who needs to work and live day to day to get food for their families.

We can’t get anywhere without doing anything and I am afraid we really are not doing enough. I’m not doing enough.

How has the area changed since the lockdown?
Smaller cities like Talisay, Silay, and Victorias, I hear, have good control in terms of the government establishing new rules. Restaurants are cautious about people entering for takeouts. There’s also now a one-way traffic for people coming in.

bacolod coronavirus lockdown

Photo taken on March 16, 2020.

When was the photo of people outside taken?
My friend took the photo on Monday, March 16, when they announced that Bacolod City, our province’s capital, will be on lockdown. They sent people to supposedly check every person entering Bacolod, but authorities were unequipped. They didn’t have good protocol in place, didn’t have enough digital thermometers, and forgot about the first rule of social distancing.

Things were better the next day. There were two lanes and people in civilian clothing — shorts, slippers, masks, and gloves — were accompanied by military men. They also checked our temperatures when we passed. That was the last time my dad and I crossed to Bacolod, as my dad stopped working and closed his shops in the city.

How do you feel about the situation?
As a citizen of this country, it makes me really sad that I have zero trust in the government. It seems that they are merely passing their responsibilities to the local government, who also have no clue how to handle the situation.

Still, I am hopeful. I organise sports events and although I am not quite sure how the outbreak will affect this, I just hope things turn out for the best. At the end of the day, that’s a matter of perspective.

How do you spend your days?
Right now, I spend days being grateful that of all places to get stuck in, I’m stuck in my house with my mom and dad, who love me, and two of my three sisters.

Cadiz City, Negros Occidental — Aldrich

cadiz city social distancing coronavirus

A Tuesday that feels like a Sunday, on March 17, 2020.

What new policies did the government establish?
Enhanced community quarantine. Cadiz City imposed an 8 PM to 4 AM curfew for business establishments and pretty much everyone.

Do you think people really stopped going out?
People still go out but a significant few compared to pre-Covid-19 days. The city decided to cut public transport by half (they are now in shifts). That’s 2,000 tricycles per day instead of 4,000.

cadiz city coronavirus lockodown

Struggling to get a ride home at night after a curfew was established, on March 19, 2020.

How has this impacted you?
As a freelance film director, colourist, and editor, I've lost some freelance jobs. I even passed my film’s video editing to someone else just to cope with these changes.

But the impact on my life is nowhere near those experienced by people in the public transport industry.

How do you spend your days?
I have a day job and work from Monday to Wednesday, 7 AM to 6 PM. Most coffee shops here practice social distancing, so I do go out for coffee. If there’s no work, I assist my mum and sister with cooking. I also edit and colour grade stock footage which I sell on Blackbox.

Interviews have been edited for length and clarity.