With another record-breaking number of coronavirus cases, 15,310, reported in the Philippines this past Good Friday, life in our island province of Guimaras is looking good. The majority of the new cases are from Metro Manila. However, with a population near 24 million people, that’s no surprise. Therefore, I present to you today’s post, “Guimaras Paradise Compared to Manila COVID Chaos.”
“GUIMARAS PARADISE COMPARED TO MANILA COVID CHAOS”
My lovely Filipina wife of over 21 years has several relatives living in Metro Manila. One of her sisters in Quezon City reports that “pandemic fatigue” has set in. While Metro Manila is again in the strictest of lockdown classifications, Enhanced Community Quarantine, officials seem somewhat more lax in enforcing their draconian regulations. At least in the barangay where my sister-in-law lives as long as they have an “essential” reason for leaving their home such as buying groceries or medicine.
Minors and seniors over 65 are not allowed to go outside. Curfew is from 6 pm to 6am. Only one quarantine pass per family is doled out. Essential businesses may only operate. In contrast, our island province of Guimaras, with a population of around 163,000, is under a Modified General Community Quarantine. We may still pee, pick our nose, and scratch our butts in public. Indeed, our Guimaras is a “paradise” compared to the Manila COVID chaos.
Frankly, most of us expats don’t see any real changes in our daily lifestyle aside from wearing facemasks when going out in public. However, while the majority of local restaurants close around 7 or 8 pm now, we’ve heard rumors of some resorts staying open later.
The beaches are open to residents and those living in our region, Western Visayas, Region 6. Outsiders still have to have a COVID-19 test before entering Guimaras. Our niece went out last weekend at a local beach with some friends. The coronavirus doesn’t seem to be a problem without any new cases of the virus being reported some days. No one seems to be in a panic. The police aren’t running the checkpoints that we used to see some months ago.
Pre-pandemic fun at Raymen Beach in Guimaras
We attended a Christening for a foreigner and his Filipina girlfriend last Sunday, Palm Sunday. The couple lives in Buenavista, Guimaras. The Mass was held outdoors. The service was in the local language so I stood in the back near some other expat friends in attendance, all of us dutifully wearing our face masks.
Several babies were baptized at the end of the long mass. In fact, it lasted so long, almost two hours, I thought I was back at my old Pentecostal church back in the States. We had a great lunch at the couple’s home. While my wife and I don’t do godmother (ninang) and godfather (ninong) duties anymore, we made an exception for this Swedish foreigner. I like the man. He seems like a good man and isn’t a skirt chaser or drunkard.
Retire to Guimaras
Most foreigners cannot even visit the Philippines now. We have some expat friends that are still stuck in the States. With the surge in COVID-19 cases, it’s difficult to say when travel to the PH may resume.
However, we’re glad we’re in Guimaras away from the chaos in Manila. Life is good. If you’re looking for a good retirement destination, I would recommend moving to Guimaras at this time once travel is open.
We life a simple life, a peaceful life.
And that’s how I like it.
Sunset over our home in Guimaras
Lead picture is a family photo at Raymen Beach in Guimaras circa 2012.