By Daryl Dean Dabatos
It's almost 6 p.m. and for more than a month, this has been the view I've been seeing every afternoon, a beautiful sunset.
I am staying in one of the beachfront resorts on Boracay and day by day I feel lucky being safe in a paradise rather than risking my life in the busy streets of Tondo, Manila. Boracay has been keeping me safe under these difficult circumstances.
It is a double-edged sword as I count the sunsets while I count the days away from my family and from the life I used to experience. It is totally different where instead of roads we traverse on sand, instead of pollution we breathe the ocean breeze, and instead of noise we have serenity. Whether you are in Boracay or somewhere else around the globe, we are all victims of the Pandemic as our life turned upside down.
Walking along the shore of this beach on Boracay and seeing it almost empty is heartbreaking. Times are trying. Situations can be stressful. While praying for all my family’s and friends’ safety in the Metro, and also for myself as the quarantine’s effects are also deeply felt here in Boracay. The journey so far has been beautiful until I began seeing people struggling and pleading for help since some locals lost their jobs and are struggling to survive each day. They were greatly affected as they rely on their income from tourism. Boracay seems to be fine in the eyes of many but many aren’t aware as they don’t see all the suffering from stress and isolation.
Today I met a local by destiny. I came to visit them in a small barong-barong in Manocmanoc. Our conversation was deep and emotional. They were working as fire dancers in one the resorts in Station 2 but when the hotel decided to close temporarily, they were laid off with no help or support as they were only part-time performers. It was heartbreaking as they were jobless while raising a 10-month-old baby. They live day by day with hunger while hoping and waiting for help from the LGU and their neighbors. I shed a few tears while she was narrating her story and in the end I felt that I needed to offer my help, and hope that this too shall pass. This experience is a realization that during this trying time, we should lend a hand and help one another while understanding that there is a different life behind those beautiful sunsets. I know I may not have a lot but I know I have more to share. Thank you for opening my eyes and this too shall pass.
A month ago seems like yesterday and I will forever cherish and share my amazing story being here. The sun may set and say goodbye today but tomorrow it will rise again. God loves us.