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RO: Pe 14 martie s-a declarat stare de carantina in Manila si la doua zile dupa, incepand cu data de 16 Martie, s-a declarat stare de carantina avansata (enhanced quarantine). Palawan-ul a fost considerat si el ca fiind parte din zona ce intra sub incidenta carantinei asa ca … iata-ne aici 😊

EN: On March 14th the quarantine state was declared in Manila and 2 days later, starting March 16th, they declared enhanced quarantine. Palawan was also considered under quarantine so… here we are.

RO: De pe 14 pana pe 16 am avut voie sa iesim, ca de obicei, din case. Restaurantele inca erau deschise, aveam access la plaja, ne puteam plimba in voie, transportul terestru si aerian inca functiona … singura diferenta era ca dupa ora 20 pana dimineata la ora 6, s-a instaurat curfew iar iesitul pe strada a fost interzis. Turistii au fost sfatuiti sa paraseasca Palawanul pana pe data de 14 martie asa ca dupa aceasta data toti cei ramasi in Port Barton au fost fie cei care nu au incaput in avioanele ce plecau regulat din Puerto Princesa, fie cei care au decis sa ramana pana pe 15 Aprile, cand s-a anuntat ca va fi ridicata caranina.

EN: From the 14th to the 16th we were allowed to go out as per usual. Restaurants were still open, we had access to the beach, we could walk around freely, terrestrial and aerial transport was still functional… the only difference was that after 8 PM and until 6 AM they imposed a curfew and going out on the streets was forbidden. Tourists were advised to leave Palawan until the 14th of March so the ones remaining in Port Barton after this date were the ones that either didn’t catch a seat on the planes leaving Puerto Princesa regularly or the ones that decided to stay until April 15th when they announced the quarantine to be lifted.

RO: Dintr-o data toate restaurantele s-au inchis, toti s-au reprofilat pe “home delivery”, hotelurile si hostelurile au gandit pachete speciale pentru carantina. Astea toate intr-o singura zi! A doua zi, totul a fost inchis, nimeni nu a mai avut voie sa iasa pe strazi, au fost puse puncte de verificare in aproape fiecare intersectie (checkpoints), armata a iesit si ea pe strazi in numar mult mai mare (de mentionat faptul ca exista o masina de armata si inainte de toata nebunia. Copii de 20 de ani cu armele pe umar, plimbandu-se pe plaja si salutandu-te respectuos). Din ziua aceea, la fix 8 PM o sirena incepea sa sune fix ca in Purge … ceva absolut terifiant … si la cateva zile dupa sunetul sirenei e fost precedat de Imnul National.

EN: All of a sudden all restaurants closed, everyone switched to home delivery, hotels and hostels came up with special quarantine packages. All this in one day! The second day everything was shut down, no one was allowed to go out, there were checkpoints in each intersection, the army was out on the streets in a larger number (to be mentioned is the fact that there was a military vehicle around even before this madness began. 20-year-old kids with rifles on their shoulder walking on the beach and politely greeting us). At 8 PM sharp a siren started ringing just like in Purge if you’re familiar with the movie… absolutely terrifying.

RO: Am discutat cu persoane care detin restaurante si unitati de cazare in Port Barton si mi-au spus ca nu au primit nici un fel de document oficial prin care sa se prezinte situatia, sa se explice regulile, sa se dea solutii pentru turistii pe care ii aveau in “custodie”. Toate informatiile erau aflate de la cineva care stia pe cineva care avea o ruda la Barangay (Primarie). La inceputul carantinei avansate, erau in jur de 200-300 de turisti imprastiati la toate hotelurile din zona. Singurii care au avut grija de ei au fost cei care detineau hotelurile (majoritatea expati) si care au incercat sa faca tot posibilul (realmente TOT POSIBILUL) ca oamenii sa se simta cat mai confortabil, cat mai putin ciudat si nu in ultimul rand cat mai SAFE. Era evident ca nu mai e atat de fun in the Philippines…  Costurile cazarii au fost reduse substantial, mancarea oferita a fost si ea redusa in termenii pretului, au fost introduse activitati (yoga, seri de film, seri tematice). Pentru ca accesul la ATM a fost limitat, platile au fost si ele organizate in transe. TOTUL pentru ca turistii aflati aici sa simta ca-s intr-o vacanta mai aventuroasa care se va termina curand 🙂

EN: We discussed with restaurant and hotel owners from Port Barton and they told me that no one ever received an official document presenting the situation, explaining the rules, offering solutions for the tourists they had “in custody”. All of the information available was from someone that knew someone who had a relative at the barangay (city hall). In the early onset of the enhanced quarantine, there were around 200-300 tourists scattered in the hotels in the area. The only ones who took care of them were the hotel owners (mostly expats) and they were the ones who did everything in their power (and I mean LITERALLY EVERYTHING) for the people to feel as comfortable as possible, so that they won’t feel weird and last but not least to keep them as SAFE as possible. It was obvious that the Philippines weren’t as fun anymore… Accommodation costs were substantially reduced, meals were also discounted, they added activities (yoga, movie nights, themed nights). Because the ATM access was limited, payment was organized in installments. EVERYTHING so that the tourists remained here would still feel on vacation and that all will be over soon.

RO: Asta a durat aproape doua saptamani. Pe 26 Martie, toti turistii din Port Barton urmau sa plece. De mentionat si aici ca puteau pleca si inainte, zborurile care inca mai operau fiind zboruri speciale (din El Nido si Puerto Princesa) spre Manila, puse la dispozitie de Ambasade si Departamentul de Turism al Filipinelor. Majoritatea celor care au decis sa plece sunt din Marea Britanie. Insa mai avem turisti din Spania si Franta, ramasi de buna voie. De aici pana in prezent, s-a mai efectuat o extindere a carantinei pana pe 30 Aprilie si un ordin al Presedintelui de a riposte cu focuri de arma asupra celora care nu respecta carantina. (masura luata si implementata mai degraba pentru cei din Metro Manila).

EN: This lasted for about 2 weeks. On March 26th all the tourists from Port Barton were about to leave. To be mentioned that they were able to leave before this date, special flights were still operating (from El Nido and Puerto Princesa) to Manila, facilitated by the Embassies and the Philippines Department of Tourism. Most of the people who decided to leave were from the UK. But we still have tourists from Spain and France that stayed willingly. From this point and until the present time, the quarantine was extended until April 30th and President’s order to shoot was issued for those not abiding by quarantine rules (a measure taken more likely for those in Metro Manila).

RO: In ceea ce ne priveste, am trecut de la extaz la agonie si zilele noastre din ultima perioada au fost cand bunicele, cand proaste, cand foarte proaste si combinatii intre ele 😊

EN: When it comes to us, we’ve gone from ecstasy to agony and our days lately have been either ok-ish, either bad, either very bad or a combo of the above.

RO: In primele zile ne-am dat seama ca nu avem provizii, stare alarmata de faptul ca toate lumea cumpara in exces (da, se intampla si aici 😊 ). Restaurantele care erau inchise si nu voiau sa mai deschida isi vindeau stocurile iar cei care aveau putere de cumparare, cumparau aproape TOT. Lucru asta se intampla pentru ca in mare masura stocul era format din produse care nu se gasesc in sat sau poate chiar nici in Puerto Princesa (feta, iaurt, branza de calitate, seminte de chia, quinoa, lapte de soia sau de migdale, unt de calitate, ulei de masline, vin). A mai existat si o alta categorie, aceea a celora care, desi au inchis pravalia, nu voiau sa vanda nimic (in continuare nu o fac) pentru ca spera ca dupa ridicarea carantinei totul sa reintre in normal… Am refuzat sa intram in jocul asta, ne-am dat un pas inapoi si ne-am gandit ca nu vom muri de foame, chiar daca va trebui sa mancam orez si kangkong luni bune de aici incolo. In prima saptamana am primit niste provizii de la Mabuti, restaurantul pe care il frecventam cel mai des, provizii formate din cateva sticle de lapte de soia, pesto, paste, ulei de masline, lapte de cocos, cateva legume, seminte, iaurt si feta, vandute la un pret imbatabil 😊 Ulterior, unii au inceput sa faca paine acasa pentru ca mai apoi sa o vanda iar altii au inceput incet-incet sa isi vanda din proviziile perisabile.

EN: During the first days, we realized we didn’t have supplies, an alarming state, given the fact that everybody was buying in excess (yes, it happens here too). Restaurants were closed and weren’t willing to reopen so they would sell all their supplies to the highest bidder who would usually buy EVERYTHING. This happened because their supplied was mostly comprised of things you can’t find in the village or maybe even in Puerto Princesa (feta cheese, yogurt, good quality cheese, chia seeds, quinoa, soy, or almond milk, good quality butter, olive oil, wine). 

EN: There was another category, of those who, although closing up shop, didn’t want to sell anything (and they still aren’t selling) because they hope that after the quarantine has been lifted things will go back to normal… We refused to play this game, we took a step back and realized we weren’t going to starve even if we had to eat rice and kangkong for months on end. During the first week, we got some supplies from Mabuti, the restaurant we went to most often, supplies containing a few bottles of soy milk, pesto, pasta, olive oil, coconut milk, some vegetables, seeds, yogurt, and feta, sold to us at an unbeatable price. Ultimately, some started making bread at home to sell it and others slowly started selling their perishables.

RO: Undeva in jurul datei de 20 Martie s-a anuntat primul caz de COVID-19 in Port Barton (un Australian venit pentru cateva zile, testat in Puerto Princesa si lasat sa plece in Australia pana sa iasa testul cu pricina). Motiv de panica si agitatie mare. Drept pentru care, timp de 3 sau 4 zile nu am fost lasati sa iesim absolut deloc, nicaieri, indiferent de motiv. Am incercat sa mergem la Primarie, sa intrebam ce putem face, cat dureaza perioada, care sunt urmatorii pasi insa nu am reusit sa trecem nici macar de prima intersectie. Au fost momente cand oamenii au fost opriti pe strada cu pustile atintite spre cap si momente in care am simtit ca armata era speriata de orice contact am putea noi, strainii, sa-l avem cu ei. Acesta a fost si momentul cand am dat un mail Ambasadei Romaniei din Manila pe care am vrut s-o instiintam de prezenta noastra pe teritoriul tarii si sa aflam ce putem face daca lucrurile se precipita. La numai 3 ore dupa acest mail, intr-o zi de Sambata am primit un telefon de la Ambasada care ne-a lamurit in toate aspectele. Am avut inclusiv posibilitatea de a fi inregistrati pentru urmatorul zbor spre Manila pentru ca mai apoi sa avem posibilitatea sa iesim din Filipine, spre Romania. Dupa cateva zile de gandit si intors problema pe toate partile, am decis sa ramanem. Suntem trecuti in evidenta Ambasdei si am fost rugati ca saptamanal sa dam un telefon si sa facem un update asupra starii de spirit 😊

EN: Somewhere around March 20th, the first case of COVID-19 was announced in Port Barton (an Australian fellow that was here for a few days, tested in Puerto Princesa and allowed to go back to his country before the test arrived). You can imagine the panic and havoc that caused. Therefore, 3 or 4 days in a row we weren’t allowed to go outside at all, no matter what the reason. We tried going to city hall to ask what we can do, how long this will take, what the next steps are but we weren’t able to pass the first intersection. There were moments when people were stopped on the street at gunpoint to their head and moments when I felt like the army was afraid of any contact they might have with us foreigners.

EN: This was the moment I emailed the Romanian Embassy in Manila to let them know of our presence here and to find out what we can do if things get worse. Only 3 hours after sending this email, on a Saturday, we got a call from the Embassy clearing up all of our concerns. We even got the opportunity of being booked to the next flight to Manila to then leave the Philipines and go back to Romania. After a few days of mulling it over, we decided to stay. We are in the records of the Embassy and we were asked to make a phone call weekly and update them on our state of mind.

RO: Dupa cele 4 zile, astrele s-au aliniat si Barangay-ul s-a pus de acord ca fiecare casa sa primeasca  un pass nominal prin care cel desemnat (in cazul de fata Matie Opra 😊 ) sa iasa pentru cumparaturi intre ora 8 AM si ora 9 AM. A doua zi am aflat ca tuturor strainilor care au iesit corespunzator le-au fost confiscate permisele de iesire (?) si apoi redate la cateva zile dupa (?). Ramane un mister de ce s-a intamplat asta 😊

EN: After those terrible 4 days, the stars aligned and the barangay concluded that each household should get a nominal pass through which the designated family member (case in point Matie Opra) to go shopping between 8 and 9 AM. The second day we found out that the foreigners that went out accordingly got their passes confiscated and given back to them a few days later. It remains a mister why this happened 🙂

RO: La fix o luna dupa insturarea carantinei (adica azi, 15 Aprilie, ziua cand trebuia sa si iesim din carantina si cand am si scris articolul) am constat urmatoarele:

  • Carantina s-a extins cu inca doua saptamani. Era de asteptat, nu ne-a luat prin surprindere vestea.
  • Mancam mai bine ca inainte pentru ca avem control asupra mancarii, cantitatii si calitatii ingredientelor.
  • Nu ne lipseste absolut nimic din punct de vedere alimentar. Pietele sunt bine aprovizionate si nu este nimic ce ne-am dorit si n-am putut avea (in limitele conjuncturii, bine-nteles)
  • In ceea ce priveste legalitatea si modalitatea in care stam in tara, dupa perioada de ridicare a carantinei, avem voie ca in 30 de zile sa ne reinnoim viza.
  • In perioada acesta, in care filipinezii sarbatoresc Pastele Catolic, am fost instiintati ca nu mai exista checkpoint-uri si ca putem iesi chiar si la plaja (totodata, circula vestea ca avem voie oricum sa ne plimbam intre checkpoints, adica din intersectie in intersectie)
  • Desi avem o gradina imensa in spatele casei (teren ce apartine familiei la care locuim) nu o folosim mai mult decat o foloseam inainte. Avem doar confortul psihologic ca exista 😊
  • “Priveste cerul” n-a fost niciodata mai folositor ca acum 😊
  • Facem sport de 3 ori pe saptamana (adica la fel ca inainte) si cateodata jucam Badminton sau folosim SlackLine-ul. Nu simt ca am slabit, nu simt ca m-am ingrasat, cu siguranta insa mi-am pierdut tonusul. Atat fizic cat si moral.
  • In primele saptamani am gatit in fiecare zi si m-a epuizat (nu vreau sa lezez pe nimeni care face asta cu succes in fiecare zi, de ani de zile, cu job si 3 copii si nu vreau sa sune ca ma plang) insa am avut sentimentul ca totul depinde de mine, ca sunt responsabila ca cei din jurul meu sa aiba ce sa manance. Ca acum, mai mult ca niciodata trebuie sa fiu creativa si serioasa si ca daca nu eu … atunci nimeni. La un moment dat am pus “Stop” si ne-am regrupat. Am inceput sa imi fac timp si pentru mine, sa gandesc un soi de continut de carantina pentru Social Media si sa-mi tin mintea activa si cu altceva decat cu retete. Tot timpul am gatit de placere insa acum, in lumina situatiei prin care trecem, am considerat ca locul placerii a fost luat de nevoie. Mai cu seama ca traim la tropice, intr-un loc izolat. Asta inseamna, mancare sezoniera, lucruri care se strica, alimente care nu incap in frigider, mancare care nu poate fi gatita in cantitati industriale pe mai multe zile, insecte, furnici, temperaturi crescute, aragaz cu butelie si lista poate continua la nesfarsit.
  • Pentru ca suntem toti in aceeasi situatie, inseamna ca toti stam in apropierea casei, asta inseamna GALAGIE. Toti sunt, in acelasi moment, langa toti. Vorbesc, canta, urla. E o zarva de nedescris 😊
  • Speram la un internet mai bun, acum ca aproape toti turistii au plecat dar nu, e la fel de prost ca inainte.
  • Nu se mai comercializeaza bautura deci fericiti cei ce au niste stocuri sau prieteni cu restaurante 😊 In lumina asta, un detinator de Sari-Sari ne spunea ca poate anticipa ce urmeaza dupa tipul de alcool pe care muncitorii filipinezi il consuma. Daca beau San Mig Pilsen inseamna ca au bani, daca trec pe Red Horse inseamna ca vor sa se chercheleasca repede si sigur dintr-o bere. Daca trec pe Tanduay (rom), inseamna ca n-au bani si ca treaba e groasa. Daca n-au nici una, nici alta… atunci sa te tii 😊
  • Multi au ramas pe cap cu muncitori pe care trebuie sa ii plateasca, bone care n-au mai ajuns acasa, invitati care n-au mai plecat si tot asa.
  • Am primit o singura data o punga cu 3 kg de orez, 2 plicuri de cafea 3 in 1 si niste zahar 😊 ah, si o bagheta de paine din partea Primariei pentru ca am facut o donatie catre frontlineri.
  • Pentru ca data cand public articolul este la mai mult de o saptamana de la scrierea lui, intre timp crestinii filipinezi au terminat de sarbatorit Pastele si s-au intors la locul lor de la checkpoints. Purtarea mastii este obligatorie iar nerespectarea carantinei se sanctioneaza cu amenda sau munca in folosul comunitatii.
  • Multi localnici au inceput sa spuna ca ar fi mai bine sa ramana lucrurile asa, sa fim “doar noi, chiar si expatii din sat”, sa nu mai existe turism si lucrurile sa fie “ca inainte” (inainte, acum 10-15 ani, probabil)
  • Apropo de turism, proprietarii de hosteluri si pensiuni, restaurante mari si mici, tururi sau alte activitati, se gandesc serios sa se intoarca in Europa si sa-si gaseasca un job din care isi pot sustine chiria in Palawan.
  • Cainii, lasati fara mana darnica a turistului iubitor de animale ce hraneste fiecare gura de patruped, au devenit mai nervosi, mai “urlatori” si mai agresivi.
  • Pe 21 Aprilie am primit vizita unui oficial al Primariei prin care am fost luati in evidenta, pentru prima oara, in San Vicente (lucru care ma mira si nu prea 🙂 ). Noi ne-am ocupat sa ne inregistram si sa oferim copii dupa pasapoarte atunci cand oficialii din San Vicente ne-au cerut-o, inca din primele zile ale carantinei. Am fost intrebati daca am primit pana acum alimente. Am raspuns ca n-am nevoie si am multumit…
  • Unele parti din comunicatele oficiale au fost interpretate dupa intelegerea celor care au citit paragrafele cu pricina. Asa a ajuns ca “deplasarea sa se faca numai in interes de serviciu” sa fie citita “deplasare nu se face nici macar in interes de serviciu”, interpretare la care am fost martora.

EN: One month after the quarantine was set (today, April 15th, the day quarantine was supposed to be lifted) we came to the following conclusions:

  • the quarantine was extended another 2 weeks. It was to be expected, it didn’t catch us by surprise
  • we eat better than before because we have more control over the quantity and quality of the ingredients 
  • We don’t lack anything groceries wise. The markets are well stocked and there’s nothing we’d want and couldn’t get
  • Regarding the legality of our stay in this country, we have 30 days to renew our visas after the quarantine is lifted 
  • During this time when the Filipinos are celebrating catholic Easter, we were informed that there will no longer be checkpoints and that we can go out, even to the beach (some say we are allowed to walk between checkpoints anyways, meaning from an intersection to another)
  • Although we have a huge back yard (land that the family we live at owns) we don’t use it more than before. We only have the psychological comfort it exists 🙂
  • “look at the sky” hasn’t been more useful than now 🙂 
  • we work out 3 times a week (same as before) and sometimes we play Badminton or use the SlackLine. I haven’t lost or gained weight, but I definitely lost my tonus. Both physically as well as morally 
  • During the first weeks, I cooked every day and it exhausted me (I don’t mean to offend anyone who successfully does this daily for years now, juggling a job and 3 kids, I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining) but I have the feeling that everything depends on me, that I am responsible for everyone around me to be fed. I feel that now, more than ever, I have to be creative and serious and if not me… than no one does. At some point I said “stop” and we regrouped. I started making time for myself as well, started thinking about some sort of quarantine content for social media, and keep my mind active with something other than just recipes. I’ve always found joy in cooking, but now, in light of this situation we’re going through, I felt like the joy was taken over by need. Especially since we live in a remote, tropical area. This means seasonal food, perishables, things that don’t fit the fridge, dishes that can’t be cooked in large amounts, insects, ants, high temperatures, stove with gas tank and the list can go on and on.
  • Because we are all in the same boat it means we’re all around our house which means NOISE. Everyone is around everyone at the same time. They talk, sing, yell. It’s a racket 🙂
  • We were hoping for better internet now that all the tourists are gone, but it’s as bad as ever
  • Alcohol is no longer sold so lucky those who have some stock made or have friends with restaurants 🙂 In this light, a sari-sari owner told us he could anticipate what comes next by the type of alcohol the Filipino workers would drink. If they drank San Mig Pilsen that meant they had money if they switched to Red Horse that meant they wanted to get drunk fast from a beer. If they went to Tanduay (rum) that meant they had no money and things we’re serious. If they didn’t have any of those, then you should brace yourself… 🙂
  • Many people got stuck with workers they need to pay, sitters that never made it home, guests who never left and so on
  • We received a bag with 3 kg of rice, 2 packs of coffee, and one pack of sugar, like once. Oh, and a baguette from city hall because we donated the frontliners 🙂

RO: Anticipam ca se va mai extinde o perioada carantina sau daca nu, dupa o gura de aer, vom intra din nou in izolare. Presedintele a declarat ca intentioneaza sa tina oamenii in case pana cand se va inventa un medicament sau vaccin si pana cand acesta va fi disponibil in zona.

EN: We anticipate that the quarantine period will be extended or, if not, after a short breather, we’ll go back to isolation. The president declared that he intends to keep people in their homes until a medication or vaccine will be invented and will become available in the area.

RO: Cat priveste viata celor din jurul meu, localnicii, aceasta nu pare ca s-a schimbat considerabil. Au aceleasi obiceiuri, copiii sunt acum alaturi de restul familiei. In mod evident, cei care lucrau pentru straini nu mai au venituri insa asta nu a fost o problema niciodata. Nu in zona rurala. In Manila totul e inghetat, nimic nu mai functioneaza. Incet incet au dat drumul transporturilor de marfa, lockdownul a inchis pana si fabrici care produceau echipamente medicale si dezinfectant. Cebu Pacific si Philippines Arlines au la sol aproape intreaga flota si prevad vremuri grele pentru aviatie. Recomanda ca biletele sa fie amanate si nu anulate si spera ca turistii sa revina curand in zona. Sa vedem daca asta se va si intampla …

EN: As far as the life of those around me goes, the locals, it hasn’t changed considerably. They have the same habits, the children are now with the rest of the family. Obviously, those who worked for foreigners have lost their income but this was never a problem. Not in rural areas. In Manila everything is frozen, nothing works. They slowly released merchandise transportation, the lockdown closed even factories that were producing medical equipment and disinfectant. Cebu Pacific and Philippines Airlines have docked almost their entire fleet and I foresee hard times for aviation. They recommend for tickets to be postponed and not canceled and they hope that tourists will come back soon to the area. We’ll see if that ends up happening…

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Miha
April 29, 2020 at 23:55 Reply

Uitasem sa citesc articolul. Cred ca ar trebui date mai multe remindere pt uituci.
Se va relua totul. Eu sunt linistita din punctul asta de vedere. Pandemii au mai fost si nu au oprit oamenii sa se stranga ciorchine oriunde in lumea asta

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