This article argues that local constructions of risky and safe spaces, as articulated by the notions ‘loob’ (inside) and ‘labas’ (outside), informed popular and political responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines, leading to an overemphasis on staying at home and, conversely, a general avoidance or fear of outdoor spaces that was at times reinforced by public health authorities. Practices and policies related to the pandemic response rendered this binary opposition between ‘loob’ and ‘labas’ visible, from regulations concerning the use of personal protective equipment to restrictions of access to outdoor spaces. While this emergent form of bodily proxemics was contested and negotiated over time, its tenacity throughout the pandemic underscores the importance of understanding how people spatialize risk in times of health crises.
Lasco, G., Tan, M.L., & Yu, V.G. (2022). ‘Loob’ and ‘labas’: Spatial constructions of safety and risk amid the COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines. Health & Place, 79, 102929. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.healthplace.2022.102929