THE CITY of General Santos is a mere three hours travel if you take public transport and lesser, if you go by car. No matter, when the pandemic (and the quarantine rules to halt it) hit full throttle in early March 2020, out-of-town travels became out of the question as the first few months of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) saw the boundaries close while protocols were sorted out and fine-tuned. For one, every locale had their own interpretation of quarantine rules so Davao and Gensan experienced the enforcement of different protocols. We were just lucky enough though, to visit my mate’s relatives in Gensan a full month before, and we have not gone back since.
As ECQ restrictions eased a bit in mid-October, only then were essential workers, aid and food deliverers finally allowed to come in and out of the city. One of the reasons for this was the growing demand that the economy should now be given a chance to recover. As such, my younger brother in Media, who lives in General Santos City with his family, would come to Davao to visit our father, but only for a few hours before he hit the road again.
At least, this was how I perceived the way things happened last year. For the most part, our tiny family had close-ranked, primarily instigating measures at keeping safe, going out only when necessary and as much as possible, ordering our supplies online or just within subdivision perimeters.
The one thing consistent however, had been to socially distance from everyone, so much that it had been quite a while before we got to visit my dad and the rest of the clan in Bajada. As a matter of fact, we missed out on visiting him on his birthday in April last year so all of us just sort of Zoomed in during the occasion. That was likewise the time when we were finally able to firmly schedule two-week intervals between clan visits, unless quarantine rules changed again.
As for the possibility of returning to General Santos again for a visit, we can only wish that it be soon. As we have seen from online pics of the children there in the family compound, everyone had already grown in the two years that we’ve been gone. Worth mentioning of course are the babies born during the lockdown whom we’ve still to cradle. A day or two ago, we had for the second time chanced on a visit to Davao by my mate’s sister and took that opportunity to exchange gifts, of baby things, clothes, plants, vegetables and fruits between us. For the moment, that might be the closest we can get to Gensan, but no worries, it’s alright. There’s a Tibetan saying, the oxen may be slow, but the earth is patient.
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