(UPDATE) Paco Church went viral overnight for capturing Tuesday night's mood in a public service announcement -- in-person masses the next day will be cancelled because the government at the last minute delayed Metro Manila's shift to a looser quarantine.
Wednesday, Sept. 8, is the Feast of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, which is widely observed by Filipino Catholics who frequently seek the intercession of the mother of Jesus Christ. It even merited a special greeting from politicians earlier this week that went viral for the wrong reasons.
Because of the "ever-changing (pabag-bago)" decisions of the government, the Sept. 8 high mass will be celebrated virtually. In-person masses will resume once the Inter-Agency task Force on COVID-19 makes up its mind, it said in Filipino.
As of early Wednesday morning, 11 hours after the card was posted, it got 16,000 reactions of which 13,000 are "ha-ha". It got roughly 9,300 shares and 1,000 comments.
There were similar posts from at least two other churches, who advised parishioners that masses will stay virtual for the meantime.
Metro Manila was supposed to shift to GCQ with provisions for granular lockdowns from Wednesday, the IATF said on Monday. But on Tuesday night, it took back its decision citing the lack of rules for the localized quarantines.
In-person masses are banned under MECQ, the second highest quarantine. It is allowed at 10% capacity under GCQ with granular lockdowns. GCQ with granular lockdowns is different from plain GCQ because it allows stricter quarantines on the street and barangay levels that have high COVID case numbers.
The Philippines' Mother Church, the Manila Cathedral, also shifted to virtual masses Wednesday. In his homily, Father Reginald Malicdem, the church rector, likened how nearly two years of quarantines would feel like the country was in darkness, made worse by "incompetent indecisive and corrupt leaders". He urged the faithful to pray to the Blessed Virgin.
On Tuesday night, Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto told his constitutents that city authorities have not been furnished enough details on the IATF's change of mind. Manila Mayor Isko Moreno posted in all caps: HINDI TULOY.
Elsewhere on social media, food and beverage businessmen posted about scuttled plans to reopen dine-in services on Wednesday. A shift to GCQ with granular lockdowns would have allowed 20% indoor dining and a higher capacity for outdoor dining.
Restaurants have been closed for diners (take-out and delivery are allowed) while religious gatherings are mostly virtual for over a month. The MECQ started in early August to stop the spread of the Delta variant.
Due to Delta, the Philippines notched record daily case loads while the cumulative total since the start of the pandemic breached two million.