By Gabriela Baron
Eating out with friends? Going to the gym? Taking public transportation? What a concept.
People have been sharing their photos of the last activity they enjoyed before ordinary life was disrupted by COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions.
The trend started on Saturday (May 16), when the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) invited people to share their pictures of everyday life in Britain, before the pandemic forced the government to issue “stay at home” orders.
Filipinos, who were on lockdown for over two months, also shared their last normal photos on Twitter. A lot of them have become so accustomed to this “new normal,” that memories of having a date with their significant other, dining out with family, or simply riding a jeepney are now tinged with a hint of surrealism.
— akr (@akimalon) May 16, 2020
— Rienzie Biolena (@rbiolena) May 17, 2020
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One netizen shared that his “last normal” photo was taken at his school when he had lunch with his classmates.
“That photo was taken last March 7. At that time wala pa kaming (we had no) clue. It was the day din na nag-start dumami yung cases (It was the day COVID-19 cases in the Philippines started to rise),” Bryan Azarcon said.
Little did they know, it was also their last day in class.
“We had no clue na last day na pala namin ‘yun (that it was our last day). Sabi nga nung mga umabsent ko na friends, sana hindi na lang daw sila umabsent since last day na nun. Sayang daw tuition (My friends who were absent said they shouldn’t have been because it was a waste of tuition),” he added.
Schools in areas under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) remain closed. Even in areas where schools are allowed to open, the Department of Education reminded that physical distancing will still be required.
Another person posted a snap of himself and his friends drinking out in a club they originally planned to make their new hangout place before the pandemic hit.
“Our barkada (clique) usually goes out to try new places! That night we wanted to try going to a jazz bar in Cubao. We loved the bar so much na (that) we wanted to make it our regular bar na pero (but) quarantine happened a week later,” Ian said.
While liquor bans are starting to get lifted in some areas, bars and night clubs are still not allowed to open, while restaurants and dining establishments are allowed to operate take-out and delivery only.
Meanwhile, a physician from National Children’s Hospital shared his pre-pandemic photo taken during his younger brother’s birthday celebration. It showed a completely different landscape from today’s situation, where most healthcare workers are opting to separate themselves from their families and loved ones.
“This picture happens to be my brother’s birthday celebration, they came here after my 27-hour duty from the hospital just to celebrate his birthday with me. After this photo, President Duterte announced about the community quarantine. We hurriedly ate our food and told them to go home,” John Bendrix Tolentino said.
Tolentino said he now communicates with his family through text, Facetime, and Zoom. He said that what he misses is their physical presence.
“As in ‘yung gusto ko physically present sila dito with me. Di ko sila ma-hug (I want them to be physically present here with me. Because I can’t hug them right now.) I cannot even go home ngayon (now) even if I want to, because currently I am rotating at the COVID ward of our hospital and my parents pose a high risk of contracting the virus because they have co-morbidities due to their illnesses,” he said.
“The coronavirus pandemic has changed how we live. What was ordinary just a couple of months ago seems almost unrecognizable,” Alice Cuddy wrote in the BBC article.