Thursday, June 18, 2020


To say that Covid19 disrupted my life is an understatement! It made a huge mess of all my plans, wreak havoc to my sanity, created chaos financially and I thought I cannot go back to my one and only refuge amidst uncertainties – my family.

It was in March 6 when I flew to Sydney. I remembered leaving the house very early, the sun wasn’t up yet. When On my way to my 10am flight, there was this feeling of extreme sadness. This was the first time that I will be away for a very long time, 54 days to be exact. And admittedly, I was very afraid of this virus spreading around, especially when I had to spend a 12-hour layover in Singapore (at that time had several hundreds of cases already) and then another 8 hour flight to Sydney.

You might ask why did I crazily pushed through with the trip despite the virus? One, I am by nature fatalistic. I got the round trip ticket for free (I won an online contest sponsored by Flyscoot). To my mind, the universe would not give me this opportunity if it was not meant to be? Two, hubby and I made a pact that starting 2020 we will start traveling, one country at a time. It was a conscious effort to shift and give importance to that one thing we are most passionate about – adventure!  This is supposed to be a milestone year for us, and adventure number one is that land down under! Three, in March before I left, there were only 3 confirmed cases. I did not expect that it will become a global pandemic! No… As a matter fact I still believed that the hubby can still follow me in Sydney one month after. But then I was wrong.  A serious health crisis was unfolding. Countries were closing boarders one after the other. And there I was, in Sydney, getting confused and longing to be home.


Arrived n Sydney March 6, and yes after more than 24 hours of travel, the first thing I did was to take a bath. I was so praning of the virus that even there was a risk of me falling asleep in the shower (hey I have only 30 minutes of sleep since I left Manila), I let the water wash away the fear. The biggest fear was, transmitting the virus to my family and friends in Sydney. Every single day from March 6, this is all I can think of, that it took a lot of effort to immerse myself in the sceneries and just enjoy the places we explored. A tinge of guilt in the possibility that I could be a virus spreader and harm them all.


14 days after, what a relief that as far as symptoms are concerned, I don’t have any. And just as my anxiety was starting to dwindle down, Sydney announced their lockdown restrictions. Only essential travels were allowed. Even our planned Mt. Kosciuszko trip was cancelled, including Our Tasmania escapade. The bonggang lakwatsa has now become a lockdown misery. Days of supposedly touring around has now been downgraded to Netflix bingeing and 24-7 social media monitoring of what was happening in the Philippines.  Anxiety level slowly going up again, as I read news of a senator spreading a virus, VIPs getting priority testing, frontliners succumbing to the disease – heartbreaking news one after the other, when I am 3,763 miles away from my family. There is definitely a flattening of the curve - the curve of my excitement as a tourist has just plummeted down. 

It also didn’t help that I got exposed on how Sydney addressed the Covid19 emergency: senior citizens given 2 shopping hours in the morning, regulating things you can buy at the grocery to discourage panic buying, to reprimanding a council representative for violating lockdown protocols, all expense paid 14-day quarantine in hotels for returning Australians, and lastly – free Covid test for ALL, with or without symptoms, of which I availed for free even though I am not an Australian. I can’t help but compare the two countries as far as addressing the pandemic. Yes, we are not a first world country… We are not that rich, but I was deeply saddened by what’s happening in the Philippines.

I tried very hard to micro-manage through FB messenger.  I would regularly wake the husband daily at 10am (which was 8am Sydney time). We would discuss carefully how to do the bi-monthly market run. I would regularly ask if they had taken their vitamin C, or have they boiled the turmeric for their afternoon tea. I joined several viber groups in the village, so I can check up on supplies available for them. These things, with my "over-dosing" in vitamin C, lemon drink, sun bathing and warm water-salt gargling made me busy in Sydney.

Thankful that I had a strong family support while in Sydney.  I can’t imagine what lockdown life would be for me, if this happened lets say a year ago, when I was touring Osaka alone. My Sydney fambam made me feel at home by cooking Pinoy dishes every single day, and still going out for much needed exercise, and to smell the fresh air. 

To my mind, I have only but ONE GOAL – to stay healthy and to stay alive. So I can go back to my family, virus free.

By first week of April,  I felt depression creeping in. Due the extension of the ECQ, my husband’s flight was cancelled, my own trip back to Manila was also cancelled. My sadness, i expressed in social media.

I don’t know when will there be a flight back so I visited daily the websites of Cebu Pacific and PAL. According to CebuPacific website, next available flight will be on May. Due to financial constraints, I decided to wait for that flight, even though the PH consul has already informed me through an email that there will be a PAL sweeper flight scheduled for April 18. I decided to pass up on that sweeper flight, and 3 days after, CebuPacific May flights disappeared!  The next scheduled flight will be in June.  By June 6, my tourist visa will already expired. Time is running out and I had to make a decision. Grab the next sweeper flight or wait for the cheaper CebPac flight (as of June,  the next Sydney-Manila flight is on September).

I had a heart to heart talk with the husband. Because if he will make a decision, he would choose for me to stay in Sydney as long as I can , because he feels it is the safer country. I found this reasoning puzzling. When the husband finally said (exact words) “sige na mahal, uwi ka na. Masyado ka ng nalulungkot dyan” – I finally broke down. Cried buckets because I felt so relieved that I will be soon going home!

But preparing for the trip back was so STRESSFUL! To a certain point, I understood fully the husband’s apprehension why he wanted me to stay put in Sydney.

Protocols for returning tourists were unclear. Is there a mandatory 14-day quarantine? In a government facility or home quarantine? Where to secure a travel pass? I have sent lots of email and facebook inquiries on this, but no CLEAR protocol was given, and some government agencies did not care to reply.


Because I have a clear goal – to finally go home. No one can stop me!  Despite the odds, I boarded that PAL sweeper  flight last April 29.

Flight was 2 hours delayed. I witnessed a heated argument between an Australian airport crew and a Filipino passenger regarding the transfer from terminal 1 to terminal 2. Sydney airport was like a ghost town, shops were closed. And I thought, what has happened to the world. During the entire 8hour flight, I wore a surgical mask on top of my n95. And yes, I had a hard time breathing. There were only 86 passengers so social distancing was practiced.

But the real ordeal happened when I touchdown terminal 2. It took us an hour before we were allowed to get off the plane. Another 2 hours of waiting, and papers to be signed.  Another hour for the rapid test and results. My result was negative (I knew it would be, because the swab test in Sydney was also negative).

At last!  After 4 hours, I was allowed to go out of the airport and finally go home!


It was surreal to see how your country is battling the pandemic, when you are actually experiencing it on a daily basis, and not from what you see in social media.

The travel from NAIA to Quezon only took us 30minutes. And I remember seeing not more than5 vehicles in the entire travel. EDSA was a ghost town. There was no traffic, but It was eerie. The abandoned street was lifeless.

Since I arrived last April 29, I still have not set foot outside of our village. We do a monthly grocery run. We do weekly Kadiwa inside the village. The husband works at home. My eldest has still a few lessons to complete online. While my youngest is busy preparing for the his online graduation.

I achieved my goal. I am finally at home. But the anxiety still exists. Worry about survival and life in the coming months occupy my  thoughts.

For lockdown number 2 – a different mindset is needed.


I don’t concentrate on big, longterm goals now.  I live for the day. To just be thankful for the things me and my family has been blessed with.  My husband has a stable job. I can also work from home. We did not have a hard time adjusting to this work from home scheme, and never felt trapped in the four walls of our house. The internet connection is stable – for work to be done and online classes to continue.  Despite exposing myself in all those travels I did, I remained Covid-free, and my entire family is healthy.


We are in a war. We are fighting for the survival of life - physically and mentally. What has this Covid19 pandemic taught me so far:

 - Focus on helping other. The facebook post wherein I shared my travel experience generated a lot of engagements. There were around a hundred comments and PMs combined. I try to reply to their queries as detailed as I can be and share with them valuable information I know of. Just to ease their stress. Husband and I also decided not to charge our tenants for two months, as our way of helping them out.

I - Invest in passion projects.  Gardening is not new to me. I have maintained a small veggie garden for quite some time now. Life in quarantine has inspired me to level it up a notch. I have started a larger veggie patch across the street.  From an empty lot filled with talahib I now call it my farmville. I am also doing facebook videos to document my gardening adventure.

G - Gratitude. It is important to start and end your day with gratitude and prayer. To be thankful for health, love of family. For the blessing of food. 

H - Health is wealth. Exercise. Be active. I do a lot of stretching and breathing. Covid attacks the lungs, so I better strengthen it.  Walking and biking are also on my exercise list, although admittedly, I miss brisk walking in Sydney’s cool weather.

T - trash negative thoughts. I stopped focusing and obsessing on negative news. It is ok to be informed. But to dwell on it too much is unhealthy. I try to start the day with a healthy discussion with the husband over coffee, read some news midday, and read inspirational stories just before I sleep. Or watch comedy shows on the internet. To stimulate a good night sleep

This ride will end sooner or later, we really don’t know how long this will take, we all just have to hold on for dear life while putting your faith that the safety straps wont let you fly off.  

What makes this mom move forward? The HOPE that "whatever goes up, will eventually go down".  The curve will not stay up there forever.  One day it will go down. Life may be a little different in the future, but this mom chooses to fight and stay positive for her family!


This story is an entry to ComCo Southeast Asia’s “Write to Ignite Blogging Project”. The initiative is a response to the need of our times, as every story comes a long way during this period of crisis. Igniting and championing the human spirit, “Write to Ignite Blog Project” aims to pull and collate powerful stories from the Philippine blogging communities to inspire the nation to rise and move forward amidst the difficult situation. This project is made possible by ComCo Southeast Asia, co-presented by Eastern Communications and sponsored by Electrolux, Jobstreet and Teleperformance. 


  1. a contrast of two quarantine scenarios...contrasting views on testing, contrasting healthcare conditions...
    1st world vs 3rd world...

    1. nakaka-SAD ang situation ng country natin. Pag nasa ibang bansa ka, di mo maiwasan mag compare. Pero kahit anong gawin, andun pa rin yung kagustuhan mong makabalik, at yung LOVE mo sa Pinas, kahit minsan ang hirap hirap niyang mahalin di ba? Sana lang, yung taga Pinas, ma inspire din naman sa ginagawa ng ibang bansa at huwag basta sabihin na lang na, "first world country sila, di tayo uubra"!

  2. Sabi na sa iyo dito ka na lang sa Sydney eh. :)
    Hope to see you and Ads in the future!

    1. kainis si Covid19 di ba? 54 days in Sydney ni hindi kita nakita. ano ba naman yun??? and to think you are just a few minutes drive from where I stayed. Pero humanda ka diyan! Pagkatapos ni Covid babawi kami ng lakwatsa. May part 2 ang Sydney adventure!

  3. Beautiful Article. FIGHT ! Learned a lot on how the pandemic is being handled in the Philippines & in Australia. Big difference !

    1. FIGHT Agila! Yun naman ang mayroon tayong mga Pinoy. Hindi sumusuko kahit maliit at di masyadong mayaman na bansa. Yung fighting spirit di matatawaran!

  4. Thanks for sharing your Aus vacay! Great recap! Its literally a roller coaster of sorts (Fiesta Carnival proportions? Lol) but still a happy memorable one. It will be quite a while before most of us would dare venture out of the country or even, cross-provinces for leisure. Meanwhile, lets stay home, sit back, work, eat, relax and do a repeat Beat COVID!

    1. OMG! Fiesta Carnival X Enchanted Kingdom proportion! Buti di ako nahimatay while wearing a surgical mask under my N-95, at nalaman ko after bawal pala yun. Kaya pala mahilo hilo ako. But I really appreciate your help, in contacting NAIA, for flight protocols. Kahit nakunsumi tayo dahil parang walang alam yung sumagot sa iyo hahahaha! At wala daw WIFI sa airport, kaloka! Basta, after nito travel uli. Shall we go to Canada??? :)

  5. It’s so amazing how people are so scared of the pandemic worldwide. Everywhere in the world, every place becomes a ghost town. Though this pandemic is a new phenomenon, people quickly accepts its danger to human life. I’m wondering people are scared to death to the pandemic wherein they eat foods that are unhealthy and ,sometimes, they know those foods will lead to death. Filipinos, specially, love to eat fat though it’s bad for the heart; eat sweets though bad for pancreas, even do dangerous things in the name of adventure. Anyway no one knows when last breath will take place. But it’s far from the mindset because “it’s my life anyway” mentality. Guidelines to avoid the pandemic here in the US were strictly observed at first. But when they could no longer take being imprisoned at home and not be able to do what they used to, they started rallies and ignore the guidelines. Violent protests are everywhere; burning properties and looting some establishments even hurting or killing people. Anarchy is starting to grow.

    All these are only a tip of the iceberg of what is really going to come in the world. What is it? End time. Perilous times are coming! Our time is becoming more evil even without notice. And it’s becoming a norm that people believe and do. Gone are the days when right is right, and wrong is wrong. Now right becomes wrong, and wrong becomes right. Why? Because of human nature where SELF is the king.

    People are so complacent with what is good, honorable, right, pure, beautiful and respected. It’s time to change heart and life - time to repent before it’s too late. Consider what is life really mean, and purpose for what we are created for. It’s time for refreshing of what God intended for us TO BE.

    keep safe.... Bert from Texas :)

  6. who would have thought that a virus that can be killed by a hand sanitiser or just by washing your hands will become a pandemic.
    had the government or some party(ccp) idiot in wuhan been quick to contain the virus in their area, had they been true to the world of what was going on and reported the true state of the matter, maybe there is no pandemic at all.
    worse the ccp is doing everything to hide all the facts. it has already sanctioned Australia for spearheading an inquiry on Covid 19.
    my stand on this? wether this is a man made virus or not: someone, somewhere should be made liable for this fiasco that already claimed hundreds of thousand lives. if possible, they should be made to pay in reparations countries that were affected. all these countries must unite to make the culprits pay.
    i have my version of what i learned from this stupid pandemic
    F, fu.k ccp and all their puppet regimes for making lives hard for everybody!
    I, instigate a worldwide enquiry of the virus and it origin and make the culprits pay
    G, global actions against ccp and the ch..ese government for its atrocities within ch..a and the rest of the world
    H, help in anyway to stop the spread of the virus, adhere to social distancing.
    T, total ban on buying ch..a made products that were produced via unfair labor practices, cheap labor and sub standard labor practices.

    as to how the problem is resolved in RP?
    let me just quote miss leah.. (please correct me if i am mistaken on how she really said this) PI Pilipinas! ang hirap mo mahalin!

    my say on all of these? i am grateful i am covid free as of this day and wake up to live another day..

    1. and during my early days in Sydney, I observed na the Asians (mostly Chinese) pa yung mga naka gloves and mask, and the Aussies were not wearing masks.

      Eh pano natin ma FIGHT the Chinese? Eh mukhang si Ph eh dun na papunta, magiging province na ng China. :(

      Oh well.... I agree, be grateful that we are still covid free and still alive and kicking as of today :).

  7. Kakaiba talaga ang tapang ng mga nanay! I can imagine your fear and stress boarding that plane and returning to a place where Covid cases are rampant. Hypochondriac ka pa naman. But i guess pag na set mo ma ang mind mo sa isang bagay walang makakapigil sa iyo! We are glad that you are finally home :)

  8. Naiyak ako while reading this, grabe ang mental struggle mo but at the same time ibang klase ang strength mo to overcome your fears. Bawi tayo sa susunod, pag natapos na ang pandemic, gala tayo and be happy �� !

    1. ganun pala yun. magnified lahat kapag super takot ka hahahaha :) but that same fear, will propel you to do things na normally you can't. Di ko talaga alam pano ako naka survive wearing an N-95 with surgical mask pa for 8 straight hours. Buti di ako na hypoxia. Hays.... no sleep from Sg to Sydney. Same with Sydney to Manila - walang tulog at magnified lahat! As if kung gising ako makikita ko yun virus hahaha :) Yes! Pag natapos na ito - I shall return!

  9. GOD wants us to emphasize that this time of pandemic, GOD is in control--no matter what!! To FIGHT is good but HE desires for us to do more than that, ACT! ACKNOWLEDGE that you are a sinner in need of a Savior. CONFESS your sins, ask for forgiveness and invite JESUS in your heart to be your LORD and SAVIOR. TRUST in the LORD with all your heart lean not on your own understanding and HE will direct your path. When you accept JESUS in your heart, rest assure that HE will ALWAYS be with you no matter what circumstances you are in...pandemic or no pandemic, in the midst of any storm or fire, whatever it may be. SECURITY is in HIM alone!!