[Updated] Sorsogon-Related COVID-19 Articles

I am tracking the news about Sorsogon with regards to COVID-19:

Image and translation by Victor Dennis Nierva, MAGBIKOL KITA FACEBOOK PAGE

I also follow the Facebook page of the province of Sorsogon. Though I cannot find the updated FB page for Sorsogon City. There are several, but seems to be outdated.

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Ending the 4th Week of Quarantine…

My office nook beside our bed.

It’s been a busy week for me, mostly spent working remote and video conferences. On my first 2 weeks working remote, I only knew of two places that I could work remote – in the living room and in our bedroom. On my 4th week, I found 3 places in the garage, especially when I am trying to avoid the sun. Otherwise, I love to work in the garage, especially when the breeze hits my face. It’s just refreshing.

In am used to working remote, but not this long. Yesterday, my head hurts – out 10 hour of remote work, I spent around 9 hours on the call! By the time I was on my last call, I was exhausted. Also, I have to contend with my daughter’s shouting, the dogs barking, and sometimes members of the family forget that I am working remotely. Good thing that I have a virtual background so my colleagues couldn’t see what’s happening behind me.

One of my nooks in the garage.

And just before sundown, if I don’t have a call, I would play with my kids. My daughter would take the goalie position, and I would kick the soccer ball to test her reflexes. So far, I haven’t broken anything yet.

My youngest is getting the hang of playing outside. And earlier this week, we realized she knew how to open the screen door and go outside to the garage. Soon, it will be opening the gate.

Last night, I also had a chance to visit Wikipedia. Several years back, I was an avid editor for local pages. Then, I noticed that the list of barangays in the city haven’t been updated for a while now. And I found a government site containing information about barangays in the country. So I edited the entries for Brgy. Bato, Balete, Barayong and Basud. I also updated the description of some items in the page. For example, the Sts. Peter and Paul hospital already closed down recently, but in the page it was still described as located in Brgy. Balogo. There was also this hospital in Brgy. Polbacion, Bacon district that closed down a couple of years ago. Those were removed from the page.

I made kilawing baluko, but nobody tried it. The worst part, I made it during lunch time on a working day. I couldn’t eat it with a can of beer.

Outside our home is quite busy, and violent. Two government officials were shot: one is a barangay councilor from Brgy. Sugod and was dead on arrival;  and another town councilor from Donsol. As of yesterday morning, the infected patients in Sorsogon has risen to 11. The good news, more and more mobile vendors are passing by our street – we can now buy swahe, tahong nan baluko. My wife has been busy as well with her patients in the hospital. I am now less worried when she goes to work. At least now, the hospital she works in has rapid test kits for their patients. That gives me peace of mind.

Yesterday, I also asked my daughter to remove the weeds in our backyard. After getting bitten by ants, she wanted to quit. Though eventually she didn’t and planted 6 pieces of balenghoy cuttings. I asked her to water it the next day (today) but it rained. I was planning to join her remove the weeds on our front lawn, but it rained cats and dogs for a few minutes early in the afternoon! And I thought it’s already summer!

There’s a discussion of extending the quarantine, which personally I prefer. Not just because I get to spend time with my family, but imagine w/o mass testing (according to DOH, mass testing is only for PUIs and PUMs on April 14 and beyond), there’s no security that you won’t be standing beside an asymptomatic person. Perhaps another month after the peak and with real mass testing I will be more confident to go out.

For now, I will just stay home with my family. Make the best out of this quarantine.

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Visiting the (Under Construction) SSC’s College of Engineering, circa December 2018

The road to the SSC‘s Engineering Department. This is located on the left side going to Bacon district, between Sitio San Lorenzo and diversion at Brgy. San Isidro.

 

One of the buildings still under construction, circa Dec’18.

 

The author’s bike parked at the end of the road. The college of engineering is being built near an unnamed river.

The author’s MTB, is an old 2015 Trinx DVR100 (not in production anymore). Most of the parts are still stock parts, except for the handlebar (MountainPeak), hubs (Ragusa), tired (26″ x 2.25″), casette (Shuriken) and RD/shifters (LTwoo A5). Most of the time it’s used for cycling than hitting the trail.

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Going Into the 4th Week of Quarantine…

Screencapture of our team’s video call. We do this every week.

Since we went into a quarantine, I make it a point that I have a video call with my team back in Manila. We started working remote a week before the announcement, and our boss set the expectations that most likely the government will announce a community quarantine – and it did. So here I am, in Sorsogon for a different reason and got carried away by the tide of Covid-19. Not that I am complaining, rather, I am thankful that I am with my family. And I am now able to spend more time on my Sorsogon blog (I moved all my summer-related articles for next year!).

 

Aside from my remote work (much longer than a regular working day), I would cook for the family. We don’t have a house keeper on Sundays, and my youngest’s nanny is still in the hospital taking care of her daughter, so I prepared breakfast (busted poached egg on a sliced bread with slice of ham and lettuce) and lunch (shrimp cooked in tomato sauce). I ruined a medium rare steak for lunch, but for some reasons my daughter liked it. Though I think it was a low quality beef. I really need to get my beef directly from the butcher. Soon…

My daughter would wash the dishes, and today she also washed pans and pots (she didn’t before). On our first week, I coached her on some volleyball drills in the front yard. That was really tiring and still yet to follow through with a next session. She also watched how to remove remaining rice husks – she wanted to try but stopped her, lest she spills the rice grains than the husks. But she stayed there for a couple of minutes and watched how the house keeper did it. I am also looking forward when my daughter plants kamoteng kahoy in the yard. Most likely this will be tomorrow or on Tuesday.

My youngest is just busy walking in the living room, or in the garage. She’s a happy kid, so she’s not really hard to take care of. She loves lying down on the floor, and would always bring her favorite pillow with her. Of course, she couldn’t avoid hitting her head on something, falling on the ground, and getting bitten by mosquitos (a lot!). Also lately, she’s becoming more clingy with her mom. I think this is a sign of normal development of a kid. She’s just adjusting to our home just fine.

My wife also started reporting to the hospital, aside from taking care of our youngest. In a few instances, I would join her so that she can drive me to the supermarket (I know, technically it’s not allowed). That’s our (risky) date.

I learned how to ground pepper using mortar and pestle. I can’t find any pepper grinder in SM Savemore. I do enjoy doing this the old fashioned way.

But last time, we were not comfortable anymore – people are still out on the street, it’s like a less busier Sundays. For one, our house keeper who goes to plasa could buy the veggies for us. We don’t need a lot since we have a small refrigerator. Furthermore, mobile vendors are plying our place – taho, kutsinta, biko, puto, seafoods (we missed the crab vendor earlier today!). Instead of losing weight, everyone is gaining. And yesterday, a vendor delivered a couple of LPG tanks and they will deliver medium-sized eggs tomorrow.

Our family is getting used to this setup. The more difficult part once this outbreak settles down, because soon I have to go back to Manila without them.

This is my nook most of the time. Even with the bed beside it, I still end up working longer hours.

My afternoon office nook, enjoying the breeze. This is mixing business with pleasure.

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Dealing with Emergency during ECQ

Earlier today, the daughter of our house keeper started to throw up. It was normal for her, though she wouldn’t eat anymore. And tonight, my wife found out that she threw up almost 10 times already and is dehydrated. She doesn’t have a fever yet, but she looks weak. So my wife suggested that we bring her to the hospital to hydrate.

Our house keeper chose Sorsogon Provincial Hospital.

I was a bit worried since we decided to bring her to the ER around 8pm, just 1 hour away from the curfew. I was a bit hesitant, even suggesting that my wife drives them since she’s a doc. But my wife asked me, are you going to let me drive back alone? That simply settled it.

My worry was the checkpoints, imagining that they are manned by the police and military. There’s so many checkpoints that they shoot first before asking questions later. I was so wrong. The checkpoints are manned by the barangay tanods. When approaching the first checkpoint, I dimmed my lights and rolled down the window. My wife explained that we are bringing a patient to the hospital. They simply waved us to pass through.

The drugstore infront of the provincial hospital is still open even during the curfew.

I almost missed the policemen in the corner of Magsaysay and Alegre Streets. They were sitting on the rotonda. But they never bothered; one just stared on our vehicle but didn’t react. I turned right to Alegre Street and headed straight. There was another checkpoint – also manned by the tanods of Brgy. Burabod. They suggested I take the highway instead of passing through Flores Street. And so I did.

When I turned right to AH26, I pressed on the gas. We were in the provincial hospital in no time. We never got off the car, and stayed on the center gate of the hospital to be sure that they are taken cared off. Within 10m, the nurse approached us and asked if we were from Manila – she just wanted to be sure that we didn’t infect the patient. She was all business, until I broke the ice – I said, send my regards to doc…. She laughed and relaxed. Afterwards, we left them.

The new wing of Dr. Fernando Duran Sr. Hospital is well lighted at night.

On our way back, I was explaining to my wife what my anxiety was – she reminded me that I didn’t want to join her earlier. One of those lapses….

Strange though, the 7-11 branch at Brgy. Cogon is still open! But not the branch near Shopping Center.

The drive back was a breeze. We saw a couple of teens, not wearing masks, in front of Camp Escudero; a middle aged man in a mask near Mila’s Store along Magsaysay Street, and other folks on the street that didn’t resemble a tanod. But who knows. We even saw a teen ager in a parked tricycle in the check point with no mask on.

The courteous behavior of the tanods are commendable as well. I guess the exec order from Gov. Chiz Escudero helps. On one hand, it may be because the tanods are also residents of the barangay, and they know the sentiments of their fellow residents.

I do admire these folks in the frontline – medical personnel or not, tanods or janitors – they keep the society going.

Mabuhay po kamo gabos!

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Nakuha na Tabi Nindo an Covid-19 Food Supply?

The supplies that are distributed house-house by Brgy. Bibincahan (salamat tabi, kap nan mayora!). IT has 2 packs of instant noodles, 1 can of sardines, and 1 pack of meds. The rice weighs around 5kgs, I think.

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[Updated] Sorsogon’s Executive 21-2020 – Unified ECQ Pass

You can check the details from PIO’s Facebook page. In essence, it gives a unified pass for every 50 pax in the barangay. However, details are still missing and according to the PIO it’s up to the barangays to decide on the details.

As of morning of March 23, although the streets have less traffic, but not completely.

I am living at Brgy. Bibincahan and also monitoring their FB page. But currently, the only update regarding this matter is to simply wait for the pass to be available.

Some of my quuestions:

  1. How will the single pass be shared across 50 residents? [Answer – It’s up to the 50 residents]
  2. What’s the allowable period that residents can go out? [Answer – it’s up to the 50 residents]
  3. What are the assumptions in allocating the use of the single pass to 50 residents? With these assumptions, how frequent 1 family can go out to do necessary activities per week? [Answer – According to the one I asked from the barangay, they are just following the directive.]
  4. What if 1 resident has emergency but it’s not his schedule, can he use the pass? [Answer – call the barangay hotline if there’s an emergency!]
  5. What happens to residents who need to buy food every day because they lack the money to stock up, or they don’t have refrigerator to store fresh food? [Answer – no answer.]

I did see some suggestions in FB to let the the 50 residents figure it out if the barangay can’t. Of course, doing so via mobile is easy, that if everyone has internet connection; but what if it’s not the case?

This is easier said than done.

———-

Update as of 318PM:

Our barangay kapitan, together with her team dropped by our street and gave us our barangay pass as per provincial executive order. I asked them how we have to deal with sharing of a single pass for approx. 50 residents – UP TO US. And she was candid enough to tell us, they are just following orders. Not that she was indifferent, but likely her team also ran out of options and was simply handed out the directive. And her team, I could feel the emphaty, but they are at the end of the wits how to deal with this. 

The kap explained that it’s very strict now in the city center. You cannot shop if you don’t have the pass. Even doctors who came from the hospital and would like to go straight to the supermarket will not be exempted. However, gov’t workers can still go to their respective offices; my auntie has to work every Monday as part of the skeletal staff of the local state college.

Why I am confident of her team willing to assist, even though it’s not easy. We reported that one house, its residents are retirees – she easily volunteered that her can buy them their food if they can’t get out. It was a quick answer from her.

Our pass keeper has been in our neighborhood since I was growing up. I am confident he knew the residents in our street. But still, for the government to burden the population during this time of needs, is simply ridiculous! 

Some say that during the time of needs, that’s when you meet people who would rise to the challenge – and I think kap and her team is one of them.

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Videos of Sorsogon City – March 21, 2020

 

 

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