Cabin Fever

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Many Cordillerans and lowlanders, at this time – to Ah Kong’s delight –  are severely afflicted by a new and feverish fever that if said residents were to go to hospitals and have themselves checked up for such lingering disturbance, our front liner doctors and nurses will most happily oblige them with a smile – by not attending at all to their suspected “disease” complaint.

Ah, who diagnosed this fever presently afflicting many Cordillerans and lowlanders at these time, found such “disease” has symptoms of: sleepiness or sleeplessness, restlessness, lethargy, social isolation, sadness, distrust with anyone they are with, decreased motivation, talking to one’s self, trouble concentrating, lack of patience, sadness, idle gossip and food craving.



Signs of the above symptoms are: itchy feet, eyes with faraway look and buttocks seemingly full of ants or with thorns embedded in them.

Manifestation of the signs indicate anyone afflicted with the strange fever is gripped with the compelling urge or desire to go out of their houses, even in a very adverse condition and also even when police officers of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) have developed sore throats by constantly telling folks for thousand times, “Don’t go out of your house without a compelling and valid reason, for gosh sake!”

We’ll discuss the signs of the symptoms, one by one.

In itchy feet, many, weary of the monotony of remaining so long cooped up in their houses, longingly pine to set foot on the roads leading to Baguio as they did regularly before and take a beeline towards the city, its market, Burnham Park, or other parks, for that matter.

Sadly, friends, it ain’t gonna happen as you’ve done regularly.

For alert yet polite police officers of BCPO, strategically posted in every nook and cranny of the city will be there, to make sure one can only enter the market on scheduled dates.

As for being a wanderlust to go to Burnham Park or other parks, heck, one’s gotta have a real and valid reason to compel a BCPO police officer to say, “OK, pwede.”

Now, our poor Cordilleran and lowlander ladies blame being cooped up like chickens to be fattened up the reason for their having developed itchy feet.

These alluring ladies profess to Ah, through E-mail, that their physical constitutions are being irretrievably ruined into thousand pieces by being cooped up and only itchy feet can save them from their disasters.

They say they don’t mind the symptom of food craving, visiting the refrigerator always but they don’t want either to   look like fat chicken nuggets after so much eating.



Lillian Arli-is, a Cordilleran lady in her mid-50’s but who looks like a “purty” girl in her 30’s by the look of her picture she sent to Ah, merrily reveals with a giggle, “Ha! Ah Kong, where before many of us were only afflicted with itchy ears and itchy mouths to while away the hours.”

“Now, added to our sickness of being of being tsismis, we are also grossly preoccupied where our itchy feet want us to go – where we shouldn’t even go. Can you beat that? No, you can’t beat that!”

Nah! Ah can’t beat what Lillian is revealing. It just brings to his mind there’s probably no propensity of the human mind more constantly operative, than the love of theorizing, or idle gossip, as Lillian brought this subject around, anyway.

Ah laughing says that if we are to consult the oracles or diviners of tsis-mis, these precious monuments of intellectual acumen, which remain with us, show proof of the readiness even the most sublime intelligence can be wasted by such unprofitable effort.

Then we shall be astonished at the number of idle gossip spun like cobwebs from the nimble hand of gossiping, and then swept away, to again make room for others equally absurd.

Annals of tsis-mis chapters furnish us in this respect, a useful lesson in the evidence which tsis-mis afford of the facility with which the human imagination erroneously triumphs over sober principles of reason, leading judgement blindfolded and into the most monstrous absurdities.

We go to the second sign of the symptom which is: having eyes with faraway look. This sign most particularly affects unmarried gals, bachelors and a smattering of married men who still dream they are single.

Now, in Ah’s jumbled opinion (and Ah thinks the gals will approve), eyes are not only the most potent of beauty’s features, but the most luminous interpreters of a mortal’s passions and thoughts.

For example, what the head thinks, the eyes are generally competent to expound. What the heart often feels, no language but the eyes can tell.

To effect the diversity of the importance of the eyes, nature has endowed eyes with as various powers. Eyes can look pleased or irate, mild, wild or fierce, inviting or threatening, fearful or bold, dull or bright, according to the whims of the owner of the eyes.



Ladies and gentlemen, we have the vacant eye, the sleepy eye, the sparkling eye, the piercing eye and the heavy eye; the laughing eye, the gloomy eye, the melting eye, the fiery eye, the disdainful eye and the piteous eye.

We have the frenzied eye, the bold eye, the complaisant eye, the languishing eye, the horrible eye, the timid eye, the sneaky eye, the roaming eye, the winking eye, the courting eye, the sheep’s eye or the leering eye.

Thus, while eyes look into everything, eyes both examine, consult, decide, advise, solicit, inquire and reply; and while eyes depend on fact for their knowledge, eyes often tell us more than we know.

Eyes preside not only in private and public meetings. The language of the members of the esteemed Baguio City Council, for example, would often be inexplicable without the illustrative aid of eyes. Just ask Ah’s good friend, City Vice-Mayor Faustino Olowan, about this, and he will surely tell you.

And eyes deprived of their soul-thrilling intelligence, love scenes would lose their very essence and their name.

Hence, again, don’t be surprised one whit why unmarried gals, bachelors and a smattering of married men who still dream being single, are afflicted with the second sign of the symptom, eyes with faraway look.

No wonder when Ah   answered the e-mails of said persons, one of the young ladies, Berta Belanyo, 20, half Cordilleran and lowlander explained why their eyes have a faraway look – looking towards the city, “Nu ammom, manong Ah Kong, our hearts are filled with laughter whenever we see the city lights; the prettiest place on earth is Baguio City, at night. And we kind of like the streets of Baguio. Now, do you have any complaints about that, Ha?”

Of course, no complaint, Ah told the ladies, but queried further, “But that doesn’t cure your symptom of eyes with faraway look?”

And the ladies shot back, “You, Ah Kong, are really vain! The reason for our darting eyes is to see and separate the wheat from the chaff (meaning the married and unmarried men) to ensure for our future married bliss! You thick-headed specimen of a creature!”



As for third sign of the symptoms, of seemingly having ants or thorns in the buttocks, or what our kailyans say in the dialect, “Adda sibit ti obet na,” or “nasibitan ti obet na,” is the most difficult symptom our kababayans face nowadays.

This symptom is manifested by the acts of a person not being able to keep steady, sit, and do something worthwhile.

Many of our kababayans afflicted with this feverish activity would stand from their chairs, stare out the window, or open their doors, stare outside, go back inside the house, sit for a while, stand pace around the room and redouble said activities again.

Many would even be murmuring to themselves; Ah has evidence that some were even talking to house posts. Talking to plants, yes, it can be. But talking to house posts is another matter of feverish disturbance.

Stuck in confined quarters for extended period of time, many don’t know it, but they are onto a new fever, experienced in the past by people cooped   in closed quarters for a long time.

Cordillerans and lowlanders, however furnished with perception, even if cooped on every side strives to disclose the secrets of the future, or, saying, “What’s in store for us with Covid-19 harassing our every step. We know not what tomorrow bring forth.”

Anticipation of the joy of most wanting to go out from their houses, is a burden too heavy to be borne, but this mysterious disturbing fever will always be with us until we have hammered to submission this threat prevailing over the land.

Until then, we are stuck with cabin fever.

And at this point in time, no pharmaceutical company, much as it is compelled by profit, is ever interested one bit to take up the challenge and develop a vaccine for Cabin fever.


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