About the author: Sykie Celiz, age 20 at the time of publication; her diary was “as told to” the journalist Carmela Fonbuena.
About the diary: Published as Manila lockdown diary in The Guardian, May 22, 2020, with the following introduction:
Millions of people in the Philippine capital, Manila, have spent more than two months under lockdown. The densely populated city, once notorious for its heaving traffic, has been transformed into a ghost town. Residents who do not perform essential work have been asked to stay at home and are barred from leaving their neighbourhoods. Rights groups have warned over the brutal manner in which the restrictions have been enforced. In one instance, curfew violators were put in dog cages, while others have been forced to sit in the midday sun as punishment. President Rodrigo Duterte has told police they can shoot anyone deemed to be causing trouble during the lockdown.
Last week, the government announced an extension of the lockdown until 31 May, making it one of the strictest and longest quarantines in the world.
The authorities have started to ease some restrictions, but there is still no public transport, and have warned of a return to strict lockdown if cases rise.
Among the millions of residents in the capital who live hand-to-mouth, relying on daily work to survive, many fear their families will be unable to cope.
Sykie Celiz, 20, whose diary is below, is one of many wondering when things will return to normal.