DAVAO CITY - It was a leap day, February 29, when Ravisa Ocusan arrived at Davao International Airport from the United Kingdom, where she's been a nursing aide for more than three years.
Ravisa was excited to meet her family and her 8-month old baby in Pantukan town, Davao de Oro, but unknowingly, she was carrying a faceless enemy that has already affected thousands of people worldwide.
A few days later, after paying a visit to her family, in-laws, as well as her relatives in Tagum City, she felt the symptoms of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
"Actually, may asthma talaga ako. Pero hindi ko in-expect na yung ubo ko ay masakit talaga siya sa lalamunan at hindi ako makahinga ng maayos. Grabe yung sipon ko at sumasakit yung ulo ko, pero wala akong lagnat," she said in a phone interview with ABS-CBN News Davao.
With fears over coronavirus, the 21-year old overseas Filipino worker (OFW) decided to go to a hospital for a check-up on March 9, but when the doctor learned her travel history -- UK with layovers in Qatar and Manila -- she was advised to undergo a swab test and quarantine the next day, as she was considered a person under investigation (PUI).
While waiting for her result in the quarantine room of the Davao Regional Medical Center in Tagum City, her symptoms gradually disappeared and her condition started improving.
Ravisa was expecting to hear a positive response five days from the test, but instead she received stunning news when the doctor told her that she was positive with COVID-19.
"Sabi niya na, 'Huwag kang mabibigla kasi positive ka.' And then after nung sinabi niya, umiyak talaga ako. Sobrang shocked ako. I think 5 hours na umiiyak lang talaga ako. As in, binuhos ko talaga ang emotion ko," she recalled.
What pains Ravisa was the fact that she was already isolated from her family and loved ones for several days, yet she was uncertain if she could still see them knowing that the virus has no known cure until now.
At the time when she needed comfort the most, there was no one inside the quarantine room, except for health workers clad in personal protective equipment who regularly give her food and vitamins.
She recalled there was no television, but there was internet connection so she was able to communicate with her family. Ravisa worried over her family and the people she encountered before isolation.
"'Yung nasa isip ko talaga, 'yung anak ko, kasi naka-bond ko siya eh. Siya yung unang nakasama ko. At alam ko yung COVID-19, nakakahawa. What if yung anak ko, magiging ganito," she said.
Aside from worrying if she would survive from COVID-19, the uproar on social media against her added to her depression.
She said she received mean comments to below-the-belt bashing as being the first COVID-19 patient in the Davao region.
Instead of completely losing hope, she strengthened her Islamic faith by praying and staying strong amid the terrifying disease.
WHERE DID SHE POSSIBLY ACQUIRE THE VIRUS?
Ravisa went to her hometown for a three-week vacation, but almost regretted doing so, after she knew she contracted the virus.
She suspected that she got the coronavirus from the passenger beside her during her Qatar-Manila flight.
"I think nakuha ko yung COVID-19 sa plane. Kasi yung katabi ko sa plane na Pinay from Qatar to Manila, umuubo kasi siya eh. Hindi ko alam bakit everytime umuubo siya, papunta sa akin, tumitingin siya sa akin. Hindi kasi ako naka-mask, kasi sa UK, wala nang mask ang available that time. So feeling ko talaga, nakuha ko yung COVID-19 sa katabi ko sa flight," she said.
When asked how she recovered from COVID-19, Ravisa said boosting her immune system through vitamin intake, staying healthy and optimistic, and keeping her strong faith paved the way in fighting the disease.
Ravisa was finally discharged last Monday and was advised to observe social distancing and frequent handwashing, and eat healthy food.
"Tumatag talaga yung faith ko. Kasi hindi ko na-realize noong una na ganito pala kaimportante, parang wala lang sa akin, 'yung family ko. Noong dumating 'to na problema, parang na-appreciate ko lahat. Parang naniniwala na talaga ako, na pray lang talaga," she said.
She admits she is still worried over the health condition of her family, who remain under home quarantine.
Fot those patients with COVID-19 or suspected to have been infected with the disease, she has this to say:
"Just fight and don't give up. Hindi naman 'yan ibibigay sa atin kung hindi natin kaya. Pray. Huwag na lang natin pansinin yung mga sinasabi ng ibang tao. Kasi normal lang din naman yan. Stay positive. Ang focus mo is ang family mo. Ang importante is prayer and be strong."