With the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine, people were ordered to stay indoors in order to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

This unexpected announcement compelled an immediate change in our daily lifesyles.

It has become a trying time for everyone, including the celebrities we see on TV. Wilbert Ross, a member of the Hashtags, is among the many people who rushed home to their province from faraway.


Photo from Instagram (hashtag_wilbert)

Ross, who brings joy to the madlang people on It’s Showtime, has had quite an experience that led him to practice self-quarantine.

A shocking announcement

“Mga three days ako sa Manila, tapos nagstart ‘yung community quarantine...bumalik agad ako sa Davao after ng announcement,” begins Wilbert, recalling the time President Rordrigo Duterte announced the Metro Manila lockdown on March 12, 2020.

Like many residing in the metro, the Hashtag member immediately felt overwhelmed with the news. When asked what he felt, he says, “Takot. Takot [para] sa family ko. Nakakatakot kasi mag-isa lang kasi ako sa Manila. I don’t have them with me. Natatakot ako for ilang months na wala akong ginagawa. At the same time nagdadalawang-isip ako, kung uuwi ako kasi galing akong Manila, baka magdala din ako ng sakit sa kanila.”

 


Photo from Instagram (hashtag_wilbert)

It was a tough call for Wilbert, since this situation also meant the cancellation of many work-related plans. “Cancelled lahat ng rackets ko, cancelled yung release ng second single ko, (pina-replay) ang Showtime, as in wala, zero, because of this.”

It didn’t take long for him to decide. 

“Nasa condo lang naman ako, nagdecide ako umuwi.”

Practicing self-isolation

“Dumaan ako sa crowded airport ng Clark,” says Wilbert, prior to arriving in Davao del Sur. “Apat kaming magkakapatid. Nandito ang nanay ko. Isang pamangkin na two years old. Sa kabilang bahay kung saan ako natutulog, nandoon din yung parang tita ko.”

The Hashtag member was all the more determined in isolating himself after a health worker checked up on him at home.

“Pinuntahan ako ng health worker sa baranggay namin, nirecord ako, sinabihan ako na bawal nga daw lumabas. Baka raw ireport ako pag may nakakita sakin na nag-gala. Pero bago pa yun sinabi ko na sa sarili ko na mag se-self-quarantine ako."

 

 

At this time, his everyday quarantine activities—being separate from his family—remain simple. 

“Daily routine ko nasa isang kwarto ako, tambakan ng mga gamit. Doon ako natutulog palagi. Doon ako kumakain sa kwarto. Binibigyan ako ng pagkain doon every morning, lunch, dinner,” he says, and remarks that her youngest sister would bring over his food while he’s staying in his room.

He also makes it a point to separate his things from those of his family, and when he decides to eat outside the house. “Sa bahay namin pag lunch and dinner kumakain ako sa labas. I have my own table, chairs and utensils.”

“As much as possible iniiwasan kong gumamit ng bagay na ginagamit nila. May sarili akong sabon, mga ganun. After ko...iniispray-han agad nila. Basta nililinis agad nila.”

Now that he’s spending time alone, he redirects his focus on self-improvement. “More on home workout. Bumili ako ng dumbbells para may ginagawa naman ako, and more on pag may naisip na mga melodies and lyrics, nagsusulat ako ng kanta. And nag-aayos ng social media, ayun.”

With his love for music in particular, he has always been composing songs, even before he has self-isolated. “Ginagawa ko siya kapag bakante ako. Gumagawa na ako bigla. O hinahantay ko na may idea ako ng theme sa song or melody.”

“Goal kong maging fit, medyo gumanda ‘yung katawan ko and makatapos ng ilang kanta din,” he says, as to what he hopes to accomplish once the self-quarantine ends.

For Wilbert, is it hard having to spend time apart from his family that lives very close by?

“Yeah, sobra,” he reveals. Even so, his family shows him support in different ways. “Sobrang request ng pagkain siguro. As much as possible, kung ano yung gusto ko binibigay nila. Tinatanong nila anong gusto mo, may [pagkain] dito. As in pinprovide nila...pinaparamdam nila. Yung workout, binilhan ako ng nanay ko ng dumbbells.”

With such a stressful situation, Wilbert chooses to bravely face the reality of current events. 

“Mahirap kasi siyang ihandle talaga. Sa social media makikita mo mga posts, updates, mga stranded...siguro hayaan na lang, wala e, nandito na tayo, try nalang ibaling sa iba yung atensyon, wag masyado isipin, and do our part as miyembro ng comminuty.”

“Narealize ko ‘yung mga tao kasi sobrang workaholic,” he says, having had time to reflect during his self-quarantine. “Hindi na nagbibigay ng time sa family. Sobrang nakakalimutan na mag-pray. Mangumusta ng mga mahal sa buhay. Ayun, nakakamusta natin mga mahal natin sa buhay, nakikita natin sila, nakakausap, ung iba na mga hindi masyado nagpe-pray, they have more time to talk with God.”


As we eagerly await for the pandemic to subside, Wilbert shares some safety tips: “Maging responsableng mamamayan ng Pilipinas. Sundin kung anong sinasabi ng mayor, ng pangulo, ng lahat. Try mo isipin ang safety ng family mo. Ikaw na mismo ang maging responsibile sa pag-aalcohol sa paghuhugas sa pagbibigay ng distansya sa kanila kung mahal mo talaga sila. Be considerate.”