Manila lock down. This was what everyone called the event that was going to take place from March 15 to April 14. When it was announced, I was resigned to the thought that I would be stranded in Manila and I would not have a chance to go home to Baguio. I did not want to take the bus since taking public transport could expose myself to the unknowing carrier; that's what I called those who carried the virus with no visible symptoms. Everyday in the past week, I wondered if I was one of them.
The lockdown would start in two days and as I finished my shift from work, I wondered if I really wanted to travel to Baguio. I called Papa the previous day, he said that Baguio had zero confirmed cases but had a couple of People Under Investigation. Not all PUIs were tested because there were limited testing kits. PUIs already exhibited symptoms and had been admitted to the hospital. At the time of the lockdown, the number of PUIs was climbing. Since it took around fourteen days for symptoms to manifest in an infected person, many people walking around the city could be among the unknowing carrier of the disease. Once again, I asked myself, how would I know that I was not carrying the disease?
That question lingered in my mind as I asked whether I should go home to Baguio. My parents belonged to the high risk group: those who were old. I could be healthy enough to fight off the symptoms of the virus but it would be devastating for them if I turned out to be positive and passed it on to them.
So many what ifs came to mind but then I realized that all these scenarios would be irrelevant if I did not find a way to get out of Manila. Since Public Transportation was out of the question, the only option was to hire a car and a driver to take me home. Another what if: the driver, how would i know if he was not infected? My stomach started to churn. I was anxious but thankfully, my mind was still willing to cooperate and it guided me towards the next step.
I had to look for the contact details of the car-hire company. It was 5:00 AM and it was too early to call our admin assistant for the contact details. I would call her as soon as the sun had risen.
While waiting, I brought out the bags from my closet. I started packing, just in case. I already had clothes in Baguio so I did not pack much. I chose the essentials. I ended up packing underwear, shorts, charging cables for my phone, bottles of essential oils. I decided to leave my office clothes, all my shoes, and my camera equipment. I walked around my home to see if there was anything else that I needed to bring. I decided to pack as much of my skin care products. I didn't have much because I was due to order a refill the coming month.
Packing was quick. I did not have anything else to do. I sat at the balcony to wait for the sun to rise.