MANDAUE CITY, Philippines — The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has forced most countries to adapt to changes to protect each one’s well-being from an infectious virus that has ravaged and infected millions in the world.
In Cebu Island — Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu cities and Cebu province — Cebuanos have also adapted to the changes that will lessen the chances of being infected by COVID-19.
Read: In photos (Part 1): A glimpse at Cebu amid the COVID-19 pandemic
Face masks, face shields, and social distancing have been the norm of Cebuanos going out in the island in the second half of the year.
This has become especially important when Cebu City became the hotspot of COVID-19 in the country in June. The city, whose quarantine status was downgraded at the start of June to a relaxed general community quarantine, saw a shift back to the strictest quarantine status — the enhanced community quarantine on the second half of the month.
Celebrations like fiestas have to do away with the partying and gatherings, which will attract a crowd of people — measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
The Kalag-Kalag or the All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days celebrations were not spared. The virus prompted the government to close all cemeteries on those days that Filipinos particularly the Cebuanos in this case would on normal times visit the cemeteries to remember their dearly departed loved ones.
Schooling has also been affected with the virus with the government temporarily banning face-to-face classes and turning to online and hybrid classes. This was evident when classes started in October.
The virus is infectious and deadly and it does not choose whether one is rich or poor. This can be gleaned from the people infected by the virus — even the mayors and government officials were not immune to the virus — some were infected and some, unfortunately, passed away.
Despite this, Cebu island’s local governments moved to open businesses especially those in the tourism sector to jumpstart the economy, which was put on hold by the COVID-19 threat.
The virus also tempered the joyous celebrations of the Christmas season. Despite the virus threat, thousands still attended the Misa de Gallo or Dawn Masses. But on Christmas Day, there were no grand celebrations.
Most people stayed in their homes with countless others choosing to contact relatives and families virtually. Sending their Christmas wishes online.
Despite all this, reports of vaccines ready for rollout and in some countries vaccinations have already started, have given hope to the world. For Cebuanos, they also hope but they also expect these COVID-19 vaccines to be available still next year.
As we look back to the second half of the year, here are some images of Cebu amid the pandemic.
CEBU CITY UNDER GCQ. Traffic starts to build up along N. Bacalso Avenue at past 5 p.m. of June 1, the first day that Cebu City has been placed under the more relaxed general community quarantine (GCQ). The lowering of the COVID cases in the city prompted the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) and President Duterte to downgrade its quarantine status from the strictest enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) since March 28 to GCQ from June 1 to June 15.| CDN Digital Photo Gerard Vincent Francisco
BACK IN THE STREETS. More commuters are back on the streets after Cebu City is placed under general community quarantine (GCQ) starting June 1 to June 15. With still only buses as transport, commuters along F. Ramos Street in Cebu City have to wait for a while to get a ride to their destinations. CDN Digital photo | Gerard Vincent Francisco
ENJOYING THE SUNSET IN MEDELLIN. Amid the fears brought about by the pandemic, a young woman finds time to cherish another beautiful sunset in Cebu, particularly in Medellin town in northern Cebu in this June 3 photo.| CDN Digital photo
TURNING TO BICYCLES. On June 6, people riding bicycles pedal along Colon Street in Cebu City. As the quarantine measures led to the temporary halt of most public transports especially PUJs or passenger utility jeepneys which ply the city routes, Cebuanos have turned to bikes or bicycles to get to their workplaces or to get to their homes from work or simply as a means of alternative exercise in this time of the pandemic in Cebu City. | Gerard Vincent Francisco
COVID CLOSE CONTACTS ISOLATED IN MANDAUE. On June 6, Mandaue’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office personnel locate and transfer 28 close contacts of a COVID-19 patient to the city’s isolation center. Mandaue in June was also placed under the general community quarantine status at the beginning of June. | Photo courtesy of Mandaue City PIO
HONORING COPS WHO DIED OF THE VIRUS. On June 14, two Cebu City policemen were reported to have died of the coronavirus COVID-19. They were among the first policemen to have died of the virus. To honor this fallen policemen, the flag at the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7) headquarters was flown at half-mast. | Photo from PRO-7 PIO
CEBU CITY BACK TO ECQ. Border control in the neighboring cities, such as this checkpoint at the border of Cebu City and Talisay City as seen in this June 18 photo, is again tightened as Cebu City is again placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from June 15 to June 30. The shift from the more relaxed general community quarantine (from June 1 to June 15) to ECQ has been enforced with the IATF citing the rising COVID-19 cases in the city and widespread community transmission in the barangays as among the reasons for the shift back to ECQ. | Cebu City PIO
LAPU-LAPU MAYOR RECOVERS FROM COVID-19. Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan returns back to work after being isolated for at least 10 days after he tested positive for COVID-19 in the early part of June. Chan announced that he was infected on June 12 and he had since been in isolation in his home. On June 25, after he was cleared and was declared by doctors to be free of COVID-19, the mayor rolled up his sleeves and went back to work. | Photo courtesy of Lapu-Lapu City PIO
TIGHTENED SECURITY AT CHECKPOINT. An armed policeman continues to man a checkpoint in Barangay Suba, Cebu City in this June 27 photo. With the city under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the police are also strictly implementing the health and safety protocols against the virus. | Gerard Francisco #CDNDigital
TIGBAKAY GAMBLERS, QUARANTINE VIOLATORS. Fifty three men, who were caught engaging in tigbakay or illegal cockfighting in a mountain barangay in Tabogon town in northern Cebu, are arrested on June 29 and readied to be brought to the detention cell in the town’s police station. Despite Cebu province under general community quarantine since June 1, engaging in tigbakay is still illegal and holding events that attract a lot of people is also prohibited. Aside from that these men also violated health protocols like the wearing of face masks. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO | Police Lt. Col. Randy Korret
BIKE LANES IN MANDAUE. On June 10, Members of the Traffic Enforcement Agency of Mandaue (TEAM) have started to identify bike or bicycle lanes on city roads. The Mandaue City government has agreed to put bike lanes in some areas in the city as its way to help keep bicycle riders and cyclists safe on the road with bicycles becoming a favorite transport of residents. This developed as the quarantine status in Cebu Island still bans most public transport on the streets.| Photo courtesy of Jamaal James Calipayan
CEBU CITY’S COVID-19 RECOVERIES. Despite the surging cases of the virus prompting the Inter-Agency Task Force and President Duterte to place Cebu back to enhanced community quarantine from June 15 to 30, Cebu City still has 34 COVID-19 patients on June 19, who have recovered from their infection. They were allowed to leave the Cebu City Quarantine Center after they were cleared of having the virus on June 19. |Photos courtesy of Cebu City PIO
CIMATU ASSESSES COVID SITUATION IN CEBU. Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu (right) arrives in Cebu on June 23 to assess the COVID-19 situation in Cebu City. Cimatu is the IATF chief implementor, who is tasked to oversee the COVID-19 response after a surge of COVID-19 cases are recorded in the city. Cebu City has since reverted from the relaxed general community quarantine (GCQ) in the first half of the month to the strictest of the quarantine measures the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) starting June 15. Cebu City implemented its first ECQ on March 28, 2020. The city was placed under GCQ from June 1 to June 15. | Photo courtesy of OPAV
SAF DEPLOYED TO CEBU. Members of the Special Action Force (SAF) secure Barangay Basak San Nicolas in Cebu City in this June 29, 2020 photo. One hundred fifty members of SAF were deployed to secure COVID-19 hotspots in the city on June 26, 2020. Cebu City has reverted to enhanced community quarantine status from general community quarantine (GCQ) status after the surge of COVID-19 cases were recorded in the city.| CDN Digital photo
FIESTA CELEBRATED DESPITE ECQ. The residents of a sitio in Barangay San Nicolas in Cebu City celebrate their fiesta with a procession and other activities where a huge crowd gathered on June 27. This prompted an investigation of the incident where barangay officials were being asked to explain why this event was allowed to be held despite the city being under enhanced community quarantine.| CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
FIESTA CELEBRATION PROBED. The police and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) have stepped in the investigation of the fiesta celebration held in Sitio Alumnos, Barangay Basak San Nicolas last June 27 despite Cebu City being placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). | Photos courtesy of Barangay Basak San Nicolas
FIRE STATION LOCKED DOWN. Mandaue City Fire Station is on lockdown after one of its firefighters died of COVID-19 on July 5. The fireman took a rapid test and swab test on June 28 after he manifested symptoms of the virus. The rapid test result, which which came out on July 3 was negative of the virus, but the swab test result which came out on July 5, the day he died, showed that he was COVID-19 positive. Earlier on July 3, the Cebu City Fire Department announced that three Fire Sub-stations — Mabolo, Pahina and Parian Fire Stations — were also in lockdown after 12 firefighters were positive of the virus. The three fire stations served as the isolation centers of the infected firefighters. CDN Digital photo | Brian J. Ochoa
ECQ VIOLATORS MADE TO CLEAN SRP. Violators of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Cebu City are made to clean up part of the South Road Properties (SRP) coastal area in this July 7 photo. Cebu City, which has reverted from the relaxed general community quarantine (GCQ) to the strict ECQ on June 15 to 30, continues to be under ECQ after Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu recommended the extension of Cebu City’s ECQ status for another 15 days in July.| Photo courtesy of PROBE
A HEARSE AND COFFIN TACTIC. With Lapu-Lapu City still having cases of the virus, Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Chan and Police Colonel Clarito Baja, the city’s police chief, use the coffin and hearse tactic to shock and make the Oponganons be aware of the dangers of not following health protocols against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). On July 7, Mayor Chan and Baja watch over a coffin symbolizing COVID-19 casualties with a hearse parked nearby at the foot of the Mandaue-Mactan bridge (Lapu-Lapu City side). They earlier paraded the hearse with a coffin bearing the message “stay at home aron dili ka masulod sa lungon (so that you will not be in a coffin)” and “namatay sa COVID kay wala mag facemask (died of COVID because of not wearing a face mask)” along Lapu-Lapu’s streets. Contributed photo | Norman Mendoza
JOINT COVID PATROL IN TALISAY. Members of the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology conduct a joint patrol in the interior villages of Talisay City on July 16. The joint patrols are conducted to ensure that residents in Talisay City observe modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) safety and health protocols to avoid contracting the virus. The patrols were made as Talisay City was placed under MECQ from July 1 to July 15. Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia has appealed to the IATF in Central Visayas to downgrade the MECQ status of Talisay City. An appeal which the IATF heeded as they approved placing Talisay City on GCQ from July 15. | Photo courtesy of Talisay City Police
DOLPHINS IN ALEGRIA. A netizen, Sofia Redula, shares with CDN Digital photos of her dolphin-watching experience in Alegria town in southern Cebu on July 26. Cebu province has been open to visitors after it was placed under modified general community quarantine since June. | via Immae Lachica #CDNDigital
OPENING UP TOURISM IN OSLOB. Registered boatmen in Barangay Tan-awan, Oslob town in southern Cebu on July 31 prepare for the reopening of whale-shark watching activities as tourism enterprises resume operations in Cebu province, which is under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ). CDN Digital photo | Morexette Marie B. Erram
CEBU CITY BACK TO GCQ. After being placed under the strictest quarantine status in June, Cebu City is now again back to the more relaxed general community quarantine status in August. With this development, more private vehicles are now on the streets resulting in traffic around Fuente Osmeña Circle in Cebu City on August 3, the third day of the GCQ in the city. | Screenshot via CDN Digital Live Video by Alven Marie Timtim
SAF SENDOFF FROM CEBU CITY. Members of the Special Action Force (SAF) gather at the Barangay Tisa National High School in Cebu City on August 11, for their send off ceremony. Secretary Roy Cimatu, the IATF implementer in Cebu, and retired general Mel Feliciano, the deputy implementor of the IATF in Cebu, graced the send-off ceremony for the SAF personnel in Cebu which will return from Cebu to their headquarters in Luzon COVID-19 free. The 150 SAF members were deployed to Cebu City on June 26 to help enforce the second enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) measures. Cebu City reverted to ECQ from a general community quarantine (GCQ) on June 15 after a surge of COVID-19 cases were recorded in the city. In July, the city was placed under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), a downgrade of the ECQ status. In August, the city was placed again under the more relaxed general community quarantine (GCQ) status as COVID-19 cases in Cebu City continue to go down. With this development, the SAF members were ordered to return to their headquarters in Luzon. | CDN Digital | Alven Marie Timtim
CORDOVA TOWN RESTARTS TOURISM OPERATIONS. With Cebu province under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), Cordova town in Mactan Island also reopens its tourism operations on August 3o with the launching of tour packages including a visit to the mangroves in Nalusuan Island. A month ago, Oslob town also reopened its whale watching activities.| Photo courtesy of discover.cebu.gov.ph
CELEBRATING MASSES RESUME IN BASILICA WITH CEBU CITY UNDER GCQ. Churchgoers queue at the entrance of Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño on Sunday morning, September 6, 2020. With the virus threat, the basilica for the first time on May 25 closes its doors to churchgoers after five of the church employees were found positive for the virus. With Cebu City’s quarantine status being downgraded further to modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) this September, the Basilica del Sto. Niño again open its doors to churchgoers. However, strict health protocols and social distancing were also implemented.| Photo courtesy of Councilor Philip Zafra
COVID-FREE FRONTLINERS. Medical frontliners and emergency responders in Lapu-Lapu City on September 15 express their happiness after their COVID-19 test results show that they were negative for the virus. They were recently swab tested at the City Health Office and the Lapu-Lapu City Hospital. Contributed Photo | Mayor Junard Chan
PREPARATIONS TO OPEN TOURISM INDUSTRY. Four hundred eighteen boatmen in Lapu-Lapu City undergo swab tests on September 12 as part of the city government’s efforts to reopen its tourism industry. The results on September 22 showed that 22 boatmen and island hopping operators (19 from Olango Island and 3 from Barangay Maribago) were proven positive of the virus and they were isolated at the Sta. Rosa Community Hospital in Olango Island and the Lapu-Lapu City College, which is the city’s quarantine facility in Barangay Gun-ob and there close contacts were traced. | Photo from Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan
PREPARING FOR THE START OF PUBLIC SCHOOL CLASSES. Teachers at the Mandaue City Central School prepare for the opening of classes on October 5. However, there would not be any face-to-face in person classes but only online classes, modular distance learning classes, broadcast based instructions and hybrid instructions, which is a combination of the other learning methods. | Mary Rose Sagarino
TV-BASED INSTRUCTION. Teacher-broadcasters of Department of Education Mandaue do their best to create a good show for their learners on October 4. With the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) threat, face-to-face classes are temporarily banned and the norm for classes are online classes, modular distance learning, broadcast-aided instructions (TV and radio), and blended learning, which is a combination of these modalities.| CDN Digital photo by Mary Rose Sagarino
CONTACT TRACERS HIRED. The first batch of contact tracers undergo training in Cebu City on October 5. The Department of Interior and Local Government Cebu City has hired 600 contact tracers for Cebu City composed of graduates of criminology and medical courses. The DILG-Cebu City said that contact tracing was a way to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the city. For Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue City, the contact tracers hired by the DILG were 300 contact tracers for each city.| Photo courtesy of Cebu City Public Information Office
WAITING FOR PARENTS TO PICK UP LEARNING MODULES. Teachers prepare and wait for parents of students to pick up the learning modules of their children at the gymnasium in Barangay Paknaan in Mandaue City on October 9. According to the Department of Education Mandaue (DepEd Mandaue), there is a slight increase in the number of enrollees in public schools in the city due to the pandemic or from their September 30 data, 68,841 this year as compared to 67,003 in school year 2019 to 2020. | CDN Digital photo by Mary Rose Sagarino
INSPECTING GUN-OB CEMETERY. Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Chan inspects the Humay-Humay Public Cemetery on Tuesday, October 26. The city government has allowed Oponganons to visit their loved ones in cemeteries days before the All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days celebrations, where cemeteries in the city will be closed to the public as a precaution against the virus. The public was given from October 15 to October 26 to visit their dearly departed loved ones. According to the caretaker of the cemetery, that they had already recorded 8,500 visitors as of October 26. | Lapu-Lapu City PIO
FEW VISITORS AT CARRETA CEMETERY. Carreta cemetery in Barangay Carreta, Cebu City is nearly empty of visitors on October 26 or nearly a week before the Kalag-Kalag or All Souls’ Day. The Cebu City government has allowed visits in the cemetery but not from October 30 to November 3 when the cemeteries will be closed as a precaution against COVID-19. The city government instead allowed visits to cemeteries in the city from October 15 to 29 to avoid having a crowd in the cemeteries, which can possibly spread COVID-19.| Contributed photo
BEACHGOERS TOLD TO GO HOME. Several beachgoers were denied entry at the different public and private beaches in Lapu-Lapu City on Sunday, October 25, after these reached their full capacity. The city’s rescue and disaster team personnel had to send these beachgoers back home. Beaches were open to the public with Lapu-Lapu also being under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).| Photo courtesy of Nagiel Bañacia
11.11 SHOE SALE IN LAHUG CONTROVERSY. A shoe sale along Samson Road in Barangay Lahug, Cebu City on November 11 attracts at least 1,000 people with the queue to enter the store reaching up to Gorordo Avenue in Cebu City. The police later dispersed the crowd because health protocols were no longer observed. The Cebu City government later investigated the incident which led to the closure of the shoe store not only for the owner’s failure to control the crowd but also because the store had no business permit and no special permit from the Department of Trade and Industry to hold the sale for their products. The Cebu City Emergency Operations Center has encouraged those who were at the sale to undergo self-quarantine as a preventive measure for the possible spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).| Photo courtesy of Michael Pugoy Arong
UPGRADED BANTAYAN AIRPORT OPENED. One of the first planes that ferry the first tourists arriving by air in Bantayan Island lands at the Bantayan Island airport. The opening of the airport on November 27 is expected to bring in more tourists to Bantayan Island, which is one of the tourism destinations in Cebu Island. With this development, Cebu province is trying to start its economic engine with tourism industry being one of Cebu island’s economic drivers. | Morexette Marie B. Erram
TREE OF HOPE. Despite the pandemic, Cebuanos still see a sign of Christmas with the lighting of M Lhuillier Tree of Hope at a ceremony at the Fuente Circle. The lighting on December 3 was led by (from left) Vice Mayor Mike Rama, Mayor Edgardo Labella, and the President and CEO of M Lhuillier Financial Services, Michael Lhuillier. | Contributed photo
START OF DAWN MASSES. The Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral is filled with churchgoers on the first day of the Misa de Gallo 2020 on December 16. The Cebu City government has allowed the holding of the dawn Masses as long as the church will implement strict health protocols. CDN Digital photo | Delta Letigio
MANDAUE CROWD. The huge crowd on the first day of the Misa de Gallo at the National Shrine of St. Joseph Church in Mandaue City prompted the city government to implement stricter measures to control the crowd in the succeeding days of the dawn Masses. | Contributed photo
NINTH DAY OF MISA DE GALLO. After that first day where churchgoers going home fail to follow social distancing rules after the Misa de Gallo at the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu, it was a different story on the last day of the dawn Masses where the churchgoers observe social distancing measures. | photo from EOC
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