Teo Landahl went on vacation to the Philippines on March 9, to greet a friend who lives there. Then the corona pandemic struck and the islands closed, one after the other.
Actually, he would have returned to Gothenburg on March 31, but that was not the case. Flights were canceled and countries closed their borders as the infection spread. There was no help from travel companies, airlines or embassies. He remained on what is often described as a paradise.
- They had said they would open this island, Siargao, on April 1st. But it has been postponed to fourteenth now, he says.Took it easy
Personally, Teo Landahl took it easy, but he says that some tourists panicked.
- People have acted completely crazy, bought trips for tens of thousands of kronor and quarantined in Japan or some other country instead. An acquaintance found a ticket that cost SEK 20,000 and that trip would take about sixty hours.
He then experienced how other countries, such as Italy, Denmark and Austria, sent flights to take their citizens home. But not Sweden.
- And even though we have a state-owned airline that is bankrupt. Send a plan and tell them that it is lifting from Manilla in say ten days, so that people have a chance to get there in time, he thinks.April Fool?
Instead, he and the other Swedes received a message from the embassy on April 1 stating that there were few places left on a flight to Milan a few days later.
- Milan ?! Italy? It is completely closed and we would stay there, he says, laughing.
He says he is right now where he is, and is not keen on paying huge sums for an unsafe trip home.
- On the other hand, it is disgusting to see how hard the infection has hit all Filipinos who lose their jobs now that tourists' income has ceased. There are no safety nets, no A-cash. You starve if you don't have a job, and you see the panic in their eyes. It's a hell in the middle of this paradise, he says.