It felt lonely on the first night of a two-week lockdown — the third and latest anti-Covid measure the government has imposed in the National Capital Region (NCR) and its environs.
At the corner of Gil Puyat Avenue and Bautista Street in Makati City, a food delivery rider killed time sitting on the pavement with his phone, probably scrolling for orders.
Along EDSA near Guadalupe, a 24-hour drugstore looked forlorn without customers.
On Shaw Boulevard in Pasig, a woman by her lonesome was focused on her phone, perhaps reading a message from a loved one.
Further down the road, a popular, brightly-lit chicken restaurant was devoid of diners.
And along Hillcrest Drive, the familiar logo of a motel chain seemed to cast a long shadow over the future.
Going home to Ortigas, three food outlets remained open, ready to serve if I get the munchies.
The morning after, while doing my daily walk, I saw the normally busy F. Ortigas Jr. Road almost deserted.
Under the footbridge, I spotted a man having a meal. I knew him by face — he’s been a regular presence in the neighborhood, begging passersby for alms. “Baka may spare coins kayo diyan,” I remembered him saying.
Did I hear it right, “spare”?
He could be someone who used to have a job and was suddenly rendered a casualty of the pandemic.
The Philippine Statistics Authority said 4.14 million Filipinos have been unemployed amid the worst health and economic crisis in recent history.
This new lockdown, reported Daily Tribune’s MJ Blancaflor, is “expected to increase the number of poor people by 177,000 and the unemployed by 444,000, according to government estimates.”
Moreover, the economy will “lose about P105 billion for each week Metro Manila is under hard lockdown, since establishments deemed ‘non-essential’ are barred from operating during the two-week enhanced community quarantine.”
I tried my best not to feel the lockdown blues — thankful that I could still earn a living, and keeping the faith that, as the song goes, things can only get better.