Updated: Dec 16, 2021
As someone who loves to take photos of street scenes in Cebu, having to stay home for another month and a half—on top of two months already spent at home because of policies enacted in line with the national Enhanced Community Quarantine—was nothing less than hellish. Life throughout the ECQ periods was filled with overwhelming silence, only at times broken by noises that I could never associate with joy, but of coping and struggle with the beginning of the so-called “New Normal.”
The origin of the silence is easy to explain—when almost no one is allowed outside, there’s no outdoor chatter among neighbors, barely any vehicles rolling by, and no kids playing on the streets.
The noise, on the other hand, was a whole different beast. As someone who lives in a village of low-rise condo buildings, the silence was at times broken by children who have settled for playing in the building hallways, neighbors fighting somewhere over some trivial matter, and barking and howling dogs (particularly at night).
But for me, the worst noise was of someone knocking on the door to borrow a quarantine pass. This happened throughout the second round of ECQ in Cebu City and for about a month after that.
See, compared to the total population of Cebu City, there were only relatively few document-sized quarantine passes that began circulation in June, and many who needed to be outside for valid reasons resorted to borrowing from their neighbors. So while the passes are a legal way of being outside while everyone was ordered to be in their homes, they are also a means of getting COVID-19, particularly with pass-sharing being encouraged, in addition to my neighbors tending to stay outside for longer than they should be.