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This article reflects on the roles anthropologists have played in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines, and identifies the challenges – from the methodological to the political – they faced in fulfilling these roles. Drawing on the author's personal and professional experiences in the country, as well as on interviews with other anthropologists, this article identifies three major roles for anthropologists: conducting ethnographic research; bearing witness to the pandemic through first-person accounts; and engaging various publics. All these activities have contributed to a greater recognition of the role of the social sciences in health crises, even as anthropologists struggle to gain the same legitimacy as their clinical and public health counterparts. The article concludes by making recommendations that can better prepare local anthropologists in responding to future health crises.