Covid-19 Chronicles: Metro Manila is now under General Community Quarantine (GCQ)

 01 -30 June 2020

It is now June.  We're into our 3rd month of Quarantine/Lockdown in Metro Manila.  The GCQ downgrading meant that restrictions were eased up even though there were still plenty of confirmed cases in the region.  People have to work.  Businesses have to open.  Everyone has to find a working balance to survive. 

However, despite all these difficulties, we had to stay happy.  We had to stay calm and collected for our peace of mind :)

The buzzing topic this month is not just about the GCQ status.  It's already June and by this time, kids should be in school or at least preparing to be in school.  But in this new normal, there were reasonable apprehensions about face-to-face classes with most parents refusing to send their kids to school even if the Department of Education planned to continue with the opening of classes.  The Department of Education's decision regarding this matter was this:  Classes will continue, but there will be no face-to-face interaction.  Instead, schools, teachers and parents will need to prepare for online or distance learning.   

While it eased some parents' minds since their children will no longer need to physically go to school and expose themselves unnecessarily to COVID-19, the next big question was "How will they cope with the new online learning system when not everyone has access to Internet and laptops and gadgets?"  

When online enrollment was scheduled to begin today, in preparation for the opening of classes on August 24, the Internet in Manila was most likely on fire from all the chats going on between parents and teachers.  I could attest to that chatter when our Group Chat on Messenger started buzzing with a series of questions and discussions on the topic.  We were all given instructions to follow with online enrollment and for those with no internet connections, there were alternative means like having to physically go to the school to personally fill out forms but on a schedule basis to avoid crowds.

Fortunately for us, we had a computer and an Internet connection at home so I was able to accomplish Dylan's enrollment online.  I knew it was tough for some parents who didn't have the same resources that we had and who probably didn't even know how to maneuver their way through Google Docs to fill out their children's enrollment forms.  It was funny though that as I finished Dylan's enrollment, I realized that Dana still hasn't gotten her belongings from her locker in school.  :)

Thankfully, to address the problems of gadgets and internet connection, Mayor Isko of Manila promised to provide each family with enrolled students in Public School with one tablet and a prepaid Internet connection to help them with online learning.  So, in Dylan's case, he would get one since he is currently enrolled in public school.  For those families with up to three siblings enrolled in public school, they would have to share that one tablet.  It may be tough but at least it's better than nothing.  Public school teachers will also each get their own laptops and internet connections.  

As for Dana,  her school also put up a notice on their FB page about the opening of enrollment and that they'll also have blended learning - both online and with the use of modules.  With this, we decided to buy a new laptop for Dana.  There may come a time when the three of us, I, Patrick and Dana, may need to use the PC simultaneously.  We can't have that especially when classes start.  In anticipation of the many printing activities for the new school year, I also bought additional printer ink, bond paper and other school supplies before prices increase hahaha  I also bought Dylan a new table because he was getting big now for his small one :)

In our spare time, we tried to keep ourselves occupied.  Aside from binge-watching on Netflix, we also bonded over Monopoly and DIY projects.  Here were playing Monopoly and Dana had her first DIY Project - adding a shelf to her wall :)  I too sorted some of the tools that were scattered in different areas in the house :)

On June 18, I had to go to Dylan's school to claim the Hygiene Kit and some Relief Goods given by the City of Manila.  The school arranged schedules for all parents of eligible kids to avoid crowding.  Though it was still scary to be out and about, it was also good to be out and about, if you know what I mean haha

I thought I was already early since I was in school around 730AM but look at all those people!  It took about an hour to get to the front of the line :)

This was what we went to the school for - alcohol, gloves, Vit C, a mask, soap, rice and canned goods.  Thank you Mayor Isko!

There was one time when I left the house in the early evening because that was the only time a seller was available for a meet up.  It was surreal walking around in the graying light in the evening.  This was the first time since March that I was out this late.  There was hardly anyone outside.  There were no vehicles either.  There were some people on bikes that drove by but it's quite peaceful :)  I've never seen this area be like this ever!

In the midst of this pandemic, we discovered something good though!  DIY Samgyupsal! :) I found a supplier of samgyupsal ingredients online and Den happened to send me an electric grill with hotpot so we couldn't wait to try it out.  We ordered beef and pork cuts, lettuce, ssamjang and gochujang, and cheese!  It was so much fun! :D

Regarding our COVID-19 stats, here is an infographic from the City of Manila.  Our confirmed cases have reached 2132 and currently we have 1326 active cases.  This is pretty scary.  

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