I got COVID back in September. I just thought I wanted to share my story, here on this blog, so that I’ll have something to remember this weird, weird month by.

Back in August when the surge started, I thought that it was only a matter of time before I got sick. In the Philippines, getting COVID was like jaywalking — both could be prevented if only the government designed our roads and our healthcare system better. And they want us to believe that the fault lies in us, not with them, who actually has the power to improve the situation.

When I got sick, I was very, very fortunate to have experienced only moderate symptoms. I had difficulty breathing, persistent chest pains, and loss of smell. I also had a fever that lasted for a few days.

I still can’t believe how lucky I had been. I make it a point to remember every day to be grateful that I survived COVID even though I have asthma. So many others lost their loved ones to this dreadful virus.

The disease also made me realize how much we have to depend on others for survival. I had friends sending me meals and snacks every day, and my family made sure I ate healthily.

I’d like to thank two offices for helping me get better:

  • The Office of the Vice-President’s volunteer-driven Bayanihan E-Konsulta, which provided free consultation and sent me a COVID Care Kit, and 
  • Taguig City Government (Safe City Taguig) for taking care of the RT-PCR test and sending a package with a week’s worth of groceries

My heart is breaking as I write this because I am well aware that thousands of other patients had not been as lucky. As far as I know, Taguig City is the only Philippine city that offers free mass testing for all symptomatic individuals, and I hope that changes very soon. An RT-PCR test is not cheap (around $60), and not many people can afford that.

I also get emotional when I think about all those who have not made it, those whom we’ve lost to the pandemic. For what it’s worth, I’m drawing strength from other survivors of this disease to improve our situation. I’m going to do what I can to demand better service from the government. In the meantime, I’m trying to take better care of myself, and those around me. 

I hope you are in a position to do that, too. I hope you’re staying sane and healthy, wherever you are in the world.