It’s that time of the year again when the Chinese celebrate another Valentine’s day known as the “Qixi Festival.” (Check out: Chinese celebrates more than 1 Valentine’s Day)
This holiday marks the yearly meeting of the Cowherd and the Weaver Girl, who are separated by the Milky Way and allowed to see each other once a year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month.
Spending months away from our beloved friends, family, or significant other, we find ourselves trapped in their shoes, just longing for that day when we can see them again.
With this being said, we asked some Chinoys to share how they go beyond the distance and stay connected with their loved ones during this quarantine.
My younger brother, mother, uncle, and I left for Baguio City on March 14. The choice to leave was extremely abrupt, only finalizing the decision just the night before. Our original plan was to stay for a couple of days, but as the situation in Metro Manila worsened, we’ve kept on extending our stay. Hence, my brother and I have not been able to physically be with our dad.
Five and a half months have already passed, and we’re still quarantined in Baguio City, unable to meet him. Thankfully, in an age of technology and social media, I keep contact with my father by calling or messaging him every week or so.
The quarantine has taught me that it is essential to stay in contact with your loved ones, no matter how far away you are from them.
I have been separated from my siblings for some time now since we each have our own respective families. The only time we get to see each other is during family celebrations, which is now taken away due to our country’s current condition.
Although the distance away from them is quite bearable since I’ve been living apart from them for 21 years, I still feel anxious for my two older sisters who are both serving as front-liners abroad. Thus, I make sure to call them once in a while to see if they are doing well in their respective field.
This quarantine made me have a deeper faith with God as I have entrusted him with my siblings’ safety. Although we do not talk frequently, I believe that He is continuously protecting them from the pandemic.
The last time I saw my friends was in March. It was a school day, and we were just finishing our remaining school requirements before graduating and heading off to college. If I had known earlier that this would be the last time I could see all my friends, I would have really cherished every single second with them before we part ways.
Luckily, the existence of technology allowed for the distance to be (slightly) bearable. Not only do we chat in messenger, but we also have zoom calls and game nights whenever our schedules allow us.
Although it feels different to continually see them through a screen, it was more than enough for me. These past few months taught me that we shouldn’t be afraid of the distance when it comes to relationships as real friendships are not defined by the amount of time spent together, but rather the significant moments we spent with one another.
The last hangout I had with my friends was just a few days before the lockdown. Since then, we have continued to communicate with one another through apps like Messenger and Zoom.
To gap the distance quarantine has brought us, I always make sure that I talk to all my friends every week and chat as if we are there in person. Sometimes my friends would even set an E-numan or group eating session, which I gladly participated in.
Quarantine may have separated us with the people we want to be with, but we can continue to live our days and communicate with one another through the power of technology.
Paco & Sasha, 33 & 35
I was driving to Manila to surprise my girlfriend when the news of the NCR lockdown broke out. Since I was in Sto. Tomas, Batangas at that time, I had to stay put and book a hotel, as no one knew how long the lockdown would be.
I called her up and told her about the surprise, how I was left with a few clothes, and how I had no place to stay if ever the lockdown extends.
She understood and asked her friends, who lived in Sto. Tomas, for possible places I could stay in. It was her way of showing affection, as she isn’t the mushy type (even if she tries).
The next day I drove back to Bicol. I’ve not been with her physically since. Nevertheless, the love continues despite the distance since we continue to video call each other every day to talk about our day.
Roselle and Dex, 18
The last time my boyfriend and I saw each other was on July 10, 2020, when he came to visit. To adapt to this new situation, messaging apps such as Messenger, Telegram, and Whatsapp have become our primary means of communication.
It is our routine to greet each other in the morning, to exchange messages throughout the day, to squeeze in a short (sometimes long) video call (if we are both available), and to have nightly video calls before we go to bed. Additionally, we randomly send each other care packages or food to show our effort and to create a pseudo date.
We found that our long-distance relationship during this pandemic has actually further strengthened our relationship because of our frequent communication and presence in each other’s daily lives. We have learned to become more understanding and more patient with each other’s shortcomings as we put communication and respect at the forefront of our relationship.