Last person on earth | Inquirer Opinion

Last person on earth

When the pandemic put the world on hold, I was left in the dark to figure things out for myself. I grappled for a sense of structure in my days. But my hands came out with the tiny shards of my plans falling apart. Picking up these pieces produced wounds with pain reminiscent of the challenges I had to go through during this era.

Years passed and these wounds healed. I was left with scars that reminded me of these horrible moments. I may live a normal life now—going after career success, traveling with friends, and shopping with family, among other activities I never thought I will be able to do again. But the early days of the quarantine never left the premises of my mind. On its third anniversary, I was brought back to the time when it was first declared in March 2020, the moment when I thought I was the only human left on earth.


We were in the office in our usual state of corporate chaos—papers haphazardly piled high, printers roaring in protest, and hundreds of conversations going on at once.

Then the radio boomed with the broadcaster’s baritone voice, “Beginning March 17, the entire Luzon will be on an enhanced community quarantine to contain COVID-19. A strict home quarantine will be observed in all households …”


The place went abuzz. “What happens in quarantine? What should we do? Will there be much difference?” We’d faced the wrath of our customers and managers, and succeeded in many transactions. But quarantine was a concept no one encountered before.

I set aside the declaration along with the fear forming in the pit of my stomach. There was a mountain of work to attend to, looming deadlines to beat, and expectations to satisfy. I went on, unbothered by the notice. “It will pass,” I said to myself.

That day was a usual blur of activities. I worked to finish documentation and polish everything like I always did. I was so engrossed in the tasks at hand, I didn’t realize it was 8:45 p.m., way past the mandated curfew time. I looked around and no one was there. Everyone had gone home—except me.

When I left the office, I was greeted with silence. It was as if I entered a new realm—a world alien to what I knew until then. There was no tricycle or jeepney in sight. I did not own a car. There was no one to hitch a ride with. What choice did I have?

I started walking.

What used to be a bustling place of city lights and movement was now an eerie emptiness and darkness. Stores were closed. The street was empty. It was so quiet, my whisper could have been a shout. It was so dark that I forgot what it was like to live in the daylight. “Hush,” I told myself. I whimpered like a child in the jungle of life. My hometown was devoid of life, as if it was invaded by unknown beings. What happened when I was engrossed in my own little world? What will happen to me now? Will someone abduct and put me in prison for not following the president’s order?

I went on. No one. Nothing. Another thought entered my mind, “Am I the last person on earth?”


Every step took me farther from the life I was used to, the one I took for granted. One step forward, then another. I was getting near home. I was also getting close to the dim future of limitations and bubbles. Dread crept into my veins as I desperately tried to reach for the normalcy I grew up with. The effort was futile. There was no amount of whining that would turn back time. The only option was to move.

Who would have thought that a virus would shake up the world? Did I expect that it would meddle with my ordinary life? I did not. No one saw it coming.

I have been complaining about my ordinary days. I took a lot of things for granted—the freedom to go out without fear, the bliss of exploring possibilities, and the moments I can travel to unknown places.

Now that fate made a major reroute, I realized I should be thankful for the abundance I was given. I was greedy for being discontented and the pandemic had to happen for me to know.

Little by little, the situation started to go back to the way it was before the pandemic. It was a relief that I was slowly gaining back the things I had before. I did not need to grapple in the dark to go on in life. Hope was seeping through my window, guiding me in my journey.

But who would forget the time when you had to walk to reach home? Not me.

Once upon a time, in my desperation to go home, I decided to walk in a ghost city to reach my family.

Was I the last human on earth? Definitely not. Never was.


Ana Sherlene Angeles, 28, is a loan processor, writer, and custodian of memories. Despite her busy corporate life, she dreams to create tales that would transcend space and time.

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