Philippines Tourism News: Staycation in NCR, Now Allowed

girl in hotel staycation

As The Philippines overcomes COVID-19, ZEN Rooms will keep you updated with the latest Philippines tourism news so that you know when it’s time to pack your bags and when it’s time to stay home and stay safe. From GCQ news to Philippines travel restrictions and re-opening of destinations, follow this blog for the latest travel news in the Philippines in 2021. 

Featured Philippine Tourism News:

Finally, Staycation! DOT Allows Staycation in NCR Hotels

The Department of Tourism has finally allowed DOT-accredited staycation hotels in Metro Manila with Safety Seal certification to accommodate staycation guests.

“Individuals of all ages may check-in for staycation. However, to ensure safety of all guests, only those 18 years old and above who are fully vaccinated shall be allowed to book their stay,” the DOT said.

For unvaccinated guests, the DOT said a negative RT-PCR test result is required.

The updated list provided by the DOT includes the following hotels:

  1. Grand Hyatt Hotel
  2. Okada Manila Hotel
  3. Shangri-la at the Fort
  4. Nobu Hotel
  5. Joy Nostalg Hotel & Suites Manila
  6. EDSA Shangri-la Manila
  7. Solaire Resort
  8. Hyatt Regency
  9. Nuwa Hotel of City of Dreams
  10. The Peninsula Manila
  11. Aruga by Rockwell
  12. Sheraton Manila Hotel
  13. Hilton Manila
  14. Hotel Okura Manila
  15. Conrad Manila
  16. Diamond Hotel Philippines
  17. Discovery Primea
  18. Discovery Suites
  19. Fairmont and Raffles Hotel
  20. Makati Diamond Residences
  21. Marco Polo Hotel
  22. New World Hotel Makati
  23. Sofitel Philippines Plaza
  24. Holiday Inn & Suites Makati
  25. Century Park Hotel
  26. Novotel Manila Araneta City
  27. The Bellevue Manila
  28. Acacia Hotel Manila
  29. Belmont Hotel Manila

Source: Philippine Star, Philippine News Agency

New Alert Level Systems to Start on Oct. 20

October 20, 2021

The alert levels system for COVID-19 response would be expanded to more areas beginning on Oct. 20 up to the end of the month, Malacañang announced.

The alert levels system is meant to replace the community quarantine classifications in order to do away with large-scale lockdowns and allow more businesses to operate.

Under this program, only households or areas with clustering of COVID-19 cases will be placed on strict lockdowns.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the expansion of the program to more regions was still part of the pilot study, in preparation for its possible nationwide rollout.

Roque said the lower number of COVID-19 cases and improving health-care utilization rate in Metro Manila led to the decision to test out the system in more areas.

Beginning on Oct. 20, here are the new alert level systems:

ALERT LEVEL 4

  1. Negros Oriental
  2. Davao Occidental

ALERT LEVEL 3

  1. Cavite
  2. Laguna
  3. Rizal
  4. Siquijor
  5. Davao City
  6. Davao del Norte
  7. Metro Manila

ALERT LEVEL 2

  1. Batangas
  2. Quezon Province
  3. Lucena City
  4. Bohol
  5. Cebu City
  6. Lapu-Lapu City
  7. Mandaue City
  8. Cebu Province
  9. Davao De Oro
  10. Davao del Sur
  11. Davao Oriental

There is no area in the country currently on alert level 1, and to qualify for this, provinces or cities must have fully vaccinated at least 70 percent of their senior citizens, persons with comorbidities and eligible population.

On alert level 2:

  • Previously restricted business establishments are allowed to operate at 50% of indoor capacity provided that they cater only to vaccinated individuals and their workers are fully vaccinated as well
  • 70% of outdoor capacity provided that their workers are fully vaccinated

These rules apply to restaurants and eateries; cinemas; fitness studios and gyms; personal care establishments; all contact sports; film, music and television productions; venues for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions; permitted venues for social events; visitor and tourist attractions; amusement parks and theme parks; recreational venues such as internet cafes and amusement arcades; venues with live voice or wind-instrument performers such as karaoke bars and concert halls; and funfairs and kid amusement industries.

On alert level 3:

  • Karaoke bars, concert halls, funfairs, kid amusement industries and all contact sports except those under a bubble-type setup, are not permitted to operate.
  • Other establishments are allowed to operate at 30% indoor capacity provided that they cater only to fully vaccinated customers and with fully vaccinated workers
  • 50% outdoor capacity provided that their workers are fully vaccinated.

On alert level 4, cinemas, karaoke bars, concert halls, funfairs, kid amusement industries and all contact sports are not allowed to operate.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

PH named Asia’s top beach, dive destination anew in 2021 World Travel Awards

October 19, 2021

The Philippines once again stood out amid the pandemic after the 28th World Travel Awards recognized the country as this year’s leading beach and diving destination in Asia.

DOT said this is the Philippines’ fifth time to be named Asia’s Leading Beach Destination and the third time in a row since 2019 to win as Asia’s Leading Dive Destination.

Some of the country’s top beach destinations such as Boracay in Aklan, Siargao in Surigao del Norte, and El Nido and Amanpulo in Palawan, have already opened to local tourists and are ready to welcome foreign travelers once international borders reopen.
 

Puyat said the Department has been identifying potential destinations in the Philippines that may be developed for dive tourism.

Dive circuits have already been enhanced by the DOT in the country’s top diving spots such as the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park in Palawan, Anilao in Batangas, Malapascua and Moalboal in Cebu, Balicasag, Panglao and Anda in Bohol, and Puerto Galera in Oriental Mindoro.

The Department also assured that the safety of visitors remains prioritized with the strict implementation of health protocols in destinations that have opened their doors to guests.

Data from the DOT showed that more than half or about 65.53 percent of tourism workers in the country have already received their COVID-19 jabs as of Oct. 16.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Travelers from Romania barred from PH

October 16, 2021
 

The government’s pandemic task force has barred the entry of travelers from Romania up to the end of the month and has updated its list of “green” or low-risk countries whose fully vaccinated travelers may skip quarantine upon arrival in the country, Malacañang said on Friday.

The new list of green countries from October 16-31 includes Hong Kong and China.

GREEN LIST COUNTRIES

  1. Hong Kong
  2. China
  3. Algeria
  4. American Samoa
  5. Bhutan
  6. Burkina Faso
  7. Cameroon
  8. Cayman Islands
  9. Chad
  10. Comoros
  11. Republic of the Congo
  12. Cook Islands
  13. Eritrea
  14. Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
  15. Gibraltar
  16. Kiribati
  17. Madagascar
  18. Mali
  19. Marshall Islands
  20. Federated States of Micronesia
  21. Montserrat
  22. Nauru
  23. New Zealand
  24. Nicaragua
  25. Niger
  26. Niue
  27. North Korea
  28. Northern Mariana Islands
  29. Palau
  30. Poland
  31. Saba (Special Municipality of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
  32. Saint Helena
  33. Saint Pierre and Miquelon
  34. Samoa
  35. Sierra Leone
  36. Sint Eustatius
  37. Solomon Islands
  38. Sudan
  39. Syria
  40. Taiwan
  41. Tajikistan
  42. Tanzania
  43. Tokelau
  44. Tonga
  45. Turkmenistan
  46. Tuvalu
  47. Uzbekistan
  48. Vanuatu
  49. Yemen

Fully vaccinated inbound travelers from green countries may skip quarantine upon arrival if they have a negative swab test result within 72 hours prior to departure from the country of origin. However, they are enjoined to self-monitor for symptoms until the 14th day.

Fully vaccinated Filipinos from these countries also have the option to stay in a quarantine facility until the release of a negative result of their RT-PCR test taken upon their arrival.

Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated individuals have to undergo quarantine until the release of the negative result of their RT-PCR test taken on the fifth day.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

No more facility-based quarantine for vaccinated foreigners, Filipinos from ‘green’ countries

October 14, 2021

If you’re fully vaccinated, whether you’re a foreigner or a  Filipino, you are no longer required to undergo a facility-based quarantine upon arrival in the Philippines as long as you come from “green” countries.

Starting October 14, the following will be required of fully-vaccinated foreigners entering the Philippines from “green” countries and do not apply to tourists:

  • A negative result in a reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test within 72 hours prior to departure from their country of origin.
  • Upon arrival in the Philippines, self-monitoring for any symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days.

The green countries as of October 8 are:

  • American Samoa
  • Burkina Faso
  • Cameroon
  • Cayman Islands
  • Chad
  • China (mainland)
  • Comoros
  • Republic of the Congo
  • Djibouti
  • Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
  • Hungary
  • Madagascar
  • Mali
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Montserrat
  • New Zealand
  • Niger
  • Northern Mariana Islands
  • Palau, Poland
  • Saba (Special Municipality of the Kingdom of Netherlands)
  • Saint Pierre and Miquelon
  • Sierra Leone
  • Sint Eustatius
  • Taiwan
  • Algeria
  • Bhutan
  • Cook Islands
  • Eritrea
  • Kiribati
  • Marshall Islands
  • Nauru
  • Nicaragua
  • Niue
  • North Korea
  • Saint Helena
  • Samoa
  • Solomon Islands
  • Sudan
  • Syria
  • Tajikistan
  • Tanzania
  • Tokelau
  • Tonga
  • Turkmenistan
  • Tuvalu
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vanuatu
  • Yemen

Fully-vaccinated Filipinos can choose to take the same RT-PCR test as foreigners within 72 hours before departure and show a negative result, or choose to take the RT-PCR test at a quarantine facility upon their arrival in the Philippines and stay at the facility until they receive a negative result. 

Facility-based quarantine is still required for the following Filipinos until the release of a negative RT-PCR test taken on their 5th day of quarantine: 

  • Unvaccinated
  • Partially vaccinated
  • Individuals whose vaccination status cannot be independently verified
  • Those vaccinated but failed to comply with the test-before-travel requirements

Foreigners who fall into any of the above categories are required to secure hotel reservations for at least six days.

Unvaccinated or partially-vaccinated children traveling with their fully vaccinated guardians must observe the quarantine protocols that correspond with their vaccination status. Their guardian will accompany them to the quarantine facility. 

Philippine Tourism News Source: Rappler

Fully Vaxxed People Regardless of Age Can Now Travel: DOT

Maasin River siargao tourist spots in mindanao

Fully vaccinated individuals from Metro Manila, regardless of age, are now allowed to travel in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said.

This, after the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases released on Friday, Oct. 8, the new guidelines allowing interzonal travel for kids and fully vaccinated seniors under Alert Level 4.

Who are allowed? 

– Those below 18 years old;
– Fully vaccinated individuals over 65 years of age;
– Fully vaccinated individuals with immunodeficiencies, comorbidities, or other health risks; and
– Fully vaccinated pregnant women

According to the DOT, individuals below 18 years old and above 65 who have completed their vaccination can now take trips on a point-to-point basis in areas under GCQ or MGCQ, subject to the Department’s guidelines and regulations of the local government unit (LGU) of destination.

Puyat said the Department will release guidelines for point-to-point travel to ensure that health and safety protocols are complied with in all destinations.

The tourism chief added that RT-PCR tests will only be required for the said individuals should the LGU of destination require a negative result.

Meanwhile, the DOT urged travelers from Metro Manila to avail of its 50 percent subsidy on RT-PCR tests at the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) through this website.

Source: Manila Bulletin; Philippine News Agency

Gov’t eases restrictions for arriving, vaccinated travelers

travelers at naia
October 9, 2021
 

The government has eased restrictions for inbound arrivals and paved the way for a shorter facility-based quarantine for fully vaccinated travelers coming from other countries, Malacañang announced.

The Philippines only allows the entry of travelers from “green” and “yellow” countries or those at low and moderate risk for COVID-19.

Under the latest rules of the IATF that took effect on Oct. 8, fully vaccinated inbound travelers from these countries only need to undergo facility-based quarantine until the release of the negative result of their reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test, which will be taken on the fifth day.

After leaving the facility, they would be required to undergo home quarantine until the 10th day from their arrival in the country.

Travelers who are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or whose vaccination status cannot be independently verified or confirmed as valid or authentic by authorities will have to undergo a slightly longer facility-based quarantine.

They will have to stay in the facility until the release of the negative result of their RT-PCR test, which will be taken on the seventh day.

They will also be required to undergo home quarantine until their 14th day.

Under the previous rules, fully vaccinated travelers from green countries had to undergo a facility-based quarantine for seven days, and RT-PCR testing on the fifth day, while travelers from yellow countries, regardless of vaccination status, had to undergo a facility-based quarantine for 10 days, with an RT-PCR test on the seventh day.

The IATF has allowed more Metro Manila residents to travel point-to-point to areas under more relaxed quarantine restrictions.

The IATF said those below 18 years old and fully vaccinated individuals over 65, fully vaccinated individuals with comorbidities or other health risks, and fully vaccinated pregnant women may travel to areas on general community quarantine and modified general community quarantine.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Siargao, Palawan, Boracay win spot in Condé Nast awards

 

Three Philippine islands have landed a spot in the annual Condé Nast Traveler (CNT) readers’ choice awards for top islands to visit this 2021.

Out of the 85 destinations listed, the surfing haven Siargao Island was recognized as this year’s top favorite in Asia, while the world-famous Palawan and Boracay Island earned the third and eighth spots, respectively.

The three bested other world favorites in Asia like Indonesia’s Raja Ampat Islands (second), Thailand’s Phi Phi Islands (ninth), and Phuket (10th).

Meanwhile, the Philippines ranked 20th in the CNT’s list of Top Countries in the World with a score of 91.63.

The annual CNT Readers’ Choice Awards gathers feedback from over 800,000 readers across the globe based on their recent travel experiences in the world’s top hotels, resorts, cities, countries, islands, spas, trains, car rentals, luggage, airlines, airports, and cruises.

The results of the 2021 awards demonstrate the recent travel experiences of the readers and — given the travel restrictions forced by the pandemic—provide an idea of where travelers are “dreaming of going next” when the world reopens for international travel.

Siargao has also been chosen by TIME as among the World’s 100 Greatest Places 2021.

Palawan ranked 19th on Travel + Leisure magazine’s Top 25 Islands in the World and fifth in the Asian category this year. It was also included in CNT’s list of The 30 Best Beaches in the World in 2020.

Source: Philippine News Agency

IATF extends Alert Level system in NCR, announces new quarantine classifications

September 30, 2021
 

The Inter-Agency Task Force has decided to extend the pilot implementation of the Alert Levels System in the National Capital Region (NCR) until October 15, 2021. 

IATF also approved:

  • to increase by an additional 10% the allowable indoor capacities of dine-in services, in-person religious services, and personal care services in areas under Alert Level 4 of the Pilot Implementation of Alert Levels System, for fully vaccinated individuals.
  • the reopening of fitness studios and gyms at a limited 20% capacity for fully vaccinated individuals, provided that all gym workers should also be fully vaccinated.

Further, establishments allowed to operate under Alert Level 4, which have been awarded the Safety Seal Certification shall be allowed additional venue capacity of 10 percent beyond the prescribed venue or seating capacity. 

New Quarantine classifications in the Philippines

Modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from October 1 – 15:

  • Apayao
  • Kalinga
  • Batanes
  • Bataan
  • Bulacan
  • Cavite
  • Lucena City
  • Rizal
  • Laguna
  • Naga City
  • Iloilo Province

General community quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions from October 1 – 31:

  • Abra
  • Baguio City
  • Ilocos Sur
  • Pangasinan
  • Cagayan
  • Isabela
  • City of Santiago
  • Nueva Vizcaya
  • Quirino
  • Quezon
  • Batangas
  • Bacolod City
  • Capiz
  • Iloilo City
  • Lapu-Lapu City
  • Negros Oriental
  • Bohol
  • Zamboanga del Norte
  • Zamboanga del Sur
  • Cagayan de Oro City
  • Misamis Oriental
  • Davao del Norte
  • Davao Occidental
  • Butuan City
  • Surigao del Sur

Roque said Davao de Oro will also be under GCQ with heightened restrictions but only from October 1 – 15.

GCQ from October 1 – 31 include:

Luzon

  • Ilocos Norte
  • Dagupan City
  • Benguet
  • Ifugao
  • Tarlac
  • Marinduque
  • Occidental Mindoro
  • Oriental Mindoro
  • Puerto Princesa
  • Albay
  • Camarines Norte

Visayas

  • Aklan
  • Antique
  • Guimaras
  • Negros Occidental
  • Cebu City
  • Cebu Province
  • Mandaue City
  • Siquijor
  • Tacloban City

Mindanao

  • Zamboanga Sibugay
  • Zamboanga City
  • Misamis Occidental
  • Iligan City
  • Davao City
  • Davao Oriental
  • Davao del Sur
  • General Santos City
  • Sultan Kudarat
  • Sarangani
  • North Cotabato
  • South Cotabato
  • Agusan del Norte
  • Agusan del Sur
  • Dinagat Islands
  • Surigao del Norte
  • Cotabato City
  • Lanao del Sur

The rest of the country will be placed under a modified GCQ.

Restricted countries in the Philippines

The Philippines has imposed travel restrictions on Bermuda from October 1 to October 15 amid the coronavirus pandemic.

As of October 1, Bermuda is the only country placed on the country’s red list. This list is for countries considered as “high risk” based on the rate of coronavirus (COVID-19) infections.

The following are placed under the green list until October 15:

  1. American Samoa
  2. Burkina Faso
  3. Cameroon
  4. Cayman Islands
  5. Chad
  6. China (mainland)
  7. Comoros
  8. Republic of the Congo
  9. Djibouti
  10. Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
  11. Hungary
  12. Madagascar
  13. Mali
  14. Federated States of Micronesia
  15. Montserrat
  16. New Zealand
  17. Niger
  18. Northern Mariana Islands
  19. Palau
  20. Poland
  21. Saba (Special Municipality of the Kingdom of Netherlands)
  22. Saint Pierre and Miquelon
  23. Sierra Leone
  24. Sint Eustatius
  25. Taiwan
  26. Algeria
  27. Bhutan
  28. Cook Islands
  29. Eritrea
  30. Kiribati
  31. Marshall Islands
  32. Nauru
  33. Nicaragua
  34. Niue
  35. North Korea
  36. Saint Helena
  37. Samoa
  38. Solomon Islands
  39. Sudan
  40. Syria
  41. Tajikistan
  42. Tanzania
  43. Tokelau
  44. Tonga
  45. Turkmenistan
  46. Tuvalu
  47. Uzbekistan
  48. Vanuatu
  49. Yemen

Countries, territories, and jurisdictions not mentioned are under the yellow list and considered as “moderate risk”.

220 Areas Under Granular Lockdown in NCR — PNP

manila philippines tourism news

September 24, 2021

At least 220 areas across 82 barangays in Metro Manila are under granular lockdown, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said.

In a televised briefing, PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said these specific areas under granular lockdown affect over 2,600 households in the region.

“As of yesterday, there are 220 reported places under granular lockdown. This is within 82 barangays in nine of the 17 cities and municipalities in Metro Manila. In these 220 specific areas, 2,696 households are affected involving 8,550 individuals.

Since the pilot alert level system in Metro Manila began on Sept. 16, Eleazar said authorities have accosted over 93,000 violators of quarantine rules with an average of 11,712 per day, lower than or average during MECQ where about 12,600 are accosted every day. 

Still, Eleazar said the pilot of the alert level system in the region remains “generally peaceful.”

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Bohol, Baguio City, Abra under GCQ with restrictions; GCQ in Ilocos Norte

minesview park baguio philippines tourism news
September 23, 2021
 

IATF has placed Abra, Baguio City and Bohol under general community quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions while Ilocos Norte was placed under GCQ until September 30, 2021, Malacañang said.

In the earlier announcement of the IATF of quarantine classifications for September, Abra and Baguio City were initially under GCQ while Bohol was under the more lenient modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

Ilocos Norte, on the other hand, was initially under modified enhanced community quarantine.

During the implementation of GCQ with heightened restrictions:

  • Indoor dine-in services may operate at 20% venue or seating capacity
  • Al-fresco or outdoor dine-in services at 50% venue or seating capacity
  • Beauty salons, beauty parlors, barbershops, and nail spas may operate up to 30% venue or seating capacity
  • Outdoor tourist attractions are likewise allowed at 30% venue capacity provided that minimum public health standards are followed
  • Meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) events, and social events in venue establishments and the operation of indoor sports courts, venues, and other tourist attractions remain prohibited
  • Religious gatherings shall be allowed up to 10% of the venue capacity, but the local government unit (LGU) may increase this allowable capacity to up to 30%
  • Gatherings for necrological services, wakes, inurnment and funerals for those who died of causes other than COVID-19 and for the cremains of the COVID-19 deceased are allowed but only limited to immediate family members

In terms of movement, Roque said interzonal travel is allowed but remains subject to restrictions of the destination LGU.

Point-to-point travel to areas under GCQ and MGCQ without age restrictions is allowed, but travelers below 18 years old and above 65 must comply with the RT-PCR test-before-travel requirement and other protocols and restrictions as may be imposed by the Department of Tourism and the LGU of destination.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

BI Implements Travel Ban on 4 Countries

airplane taking off at naia philippines tourism news
September 18, 2021
 

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) started implementing the temporary travel ban of passengers coming from four countries as part of the program of minimizing the spread of coronavirus disease, particularly the delta variant.

These countries are:

  1. Grenada
  2. Papua New Guinea
  3. Serbia
  4. Slovenia

The travel ban also covered travelers who have been in the said countries within the last 14 days prior to their arrival to the Philippines.

The travel restrictions will be until Sept. 30

Meanwhile, the BI released the updated list of countries wherein passengers may be allowed entry subject to the usual quarantine protocols.

Green list countries

They are American Samoa, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cayman Islands, Chad, China, Comoros, Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Falkland Islands, Gabon, Hong Kong (Special Administrative Region of China), Hungary, Madagascar, Mali, Federated States of Micronesia, Montserrat, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niger, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau.

They also include Poland, Saba (Special Municipality of the Kingdom of Netherlands), Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Sierra Leone, Sint Eustatius, Taiwan, Algeria, Bhutan, Cook Islands, Eritrea, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Nicaragua, Niue, North Korea, Saint Helena, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Sudan, Syria, Tajikstan, Tanzania, Tokelau, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Yemen.

Morente said that countries not mentioned in the new list are considered “moderate risk” and may also be allowed entry.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Palawan included in ‘World’s Best Island’ list of U.S. travel site

hidden beach palawan philippines tourism news
September 17, 2021
 

Here’s another awesome Philippine tourism news to know!

Palawan was once again recognized globally following its inclusion in the best islands in Asia and in the world as listed by the prestigious Travel + Leisure magazine.

Palawan was named among “The Top 5 Islands in Asia” and was ranked 5th with a rating of 88.63 joining the Andaman Islands in India, Koh Samui in Thailand, Bali in Indonesia, and the Maldives.

It also earned the 19th spot in the “World’s Best Islands” list and was recognized by the magazine for being an “unrivaled diving” spot together with Thailand’s Koh Samui.

The New York-based travel magazine described Palawan as a favorite tourist destination for its “mountains as well as white sand beaches washed by the Sula and South China seas.”

“Resorts [in Palawan] range from eco-chic stays to the spectacular Amanpulo resort, accessible only by private plane. Its 58 casitas and villas are nestled in the lush hillside and along the beach; each villa has its own chef and butler,” it added.

In March this year, Nacpan Beach in El Nido, Palawan placed 18th among the “Top 25 Best Beaches in Asia” by travel website TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice 2021.

Source: Manila Bulletin
 

Ilocos Norte tourist sites reopened only for residents

September 16, 2021

After being closed for several months due to strict quarantine curbs amid COVID-19 outbreaks, Ilocos Norte has again allowed residents to travel within the province.

In an advisory, the Ilocos Norte tourism office said leisure travel to at least 18 areas in the province under general community quarantine (GCQ), the second least restrictive containment classification in the country, would be exclusive for locals.

These towns are Adams, Bacarra, Badoc, Banna, Carasi, Currimao, Dingras, Dumalneg, Nueva Era, Pagudpud, Paoay, Pasuquin, Piddig, Pinili, San Nicolas, Sarrat, Solsona and Vintar.

Subject to restrictions

The cities of Laoag and Batac, and the towns of Bangui, Burgos, and Marcos will remain under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), the second most restrictive quarantine classification.

In an executive order, Gov. Matthew Marcos Manotoc, opened all parks and recreational spaces to the public in GCQ areas, subject to the 50-percent venue capacity directive of the Department of Tourism.

Residents of all ages who have no underlying health conditions and COVID-19 symptoms or exposures would be allowed to visit these tourism sites in GCQ areas, Manotoc said.

Residents living in areas under MECQ should also present a negative antigen test result taken within 48 hours before visiting tourist destinations in the province.

Several accommodation facilities and restaurants in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte are currently offering up to 25 percent discount on all room rates with free breakfast to local tourists who will book this month.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Intramuros, Rizal Park Reopens Today, Sept. 16

intramuros philippines tourism news

September 16, 2021

Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat announced the reopening of Rizal Park and three sites in Intramuros namely Fort Santiago, Baluarte de San Diego, and Plaza San Luis under limited capacity and shortened operating hours.

Starting on September 16, Rizal Park will be open from 5:00AM to 9:00AM with a maximum capacity of 500 visitors at any given time. Park goers are advised to download the StaySafe app for faster entry into the park premises, although manual contact tracing forms will still be available at entrances for those without access to mobile phones.

Likewise, Fort Santiago will be open from 9:00AM to 7:30PM from Monday to Friday, and from 9:00AM to 8:30PM on Saturdays and Sundays with a maximum capacity of 150 visitors at any given time.

Meanwhile, Baluarte de San Diego will be operating daily from 8:00AM to 5:00PM and will accommodate a maximum of 80 people at a time. Entrance fee for both sides remain at 75 pesos for regular visitors, and 50 pesos for discounted eligible visitors such as seniors, students and PWDs. On the other hand, Plaza San Luis is free for those who want to visit but only from 8:00AM TO 9:00PM daily.

Only those within the age of eighteen (18) to below sixty-five (65) shall be allowed in both Rizal Park and the Intramuros sites.

READ: Intramuros Tour Guide: 10 Places That Will Let You Travel Back in Time

To encourage more NCR residents to get their COVID-19 jabs, the DOT through the Intramuros Administration (IA) will set up an express lane for fully-vaccinated individuals who wish to visit Fort Santiago and Baluarte San Diego. By using the express lane, fully-vaccinated visitors are allowed to accomplish the mandatory contact tracing form when inside the sites and will only need to present it to security personnel before exit. The DOT has also been promoting the use of its tourist sites to speed up the government’s vaccination efforts, partnering with the City of Manila to establish a Drive-Thru Vaccination facility at the Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park.

Meanwhile, regardless of vaccination status, all visitors shall undergo mandatory temperature checks at the sites’ entrance and are required at all times to adhere to the minimum health standards such as wearing of masks and face shields, proper physical distancing, and frequent washing or disinfection of hands.

As an added assurance to visitors, the DOT also prioritized the vaccination of its workers. “As of September 14, 99 percent of the workers in Intramuros Administration—including outsourced security and janitorial workers—have also been fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, over 96 percent of all personnel stationed at Rizal Park have already received their complete COVID-19 vaccination,” Puyat shared.

“Time and again, we are reminding everyone to strictly follow the health and safety protocols when visiting Rizal Park, Intramuros, and other tourist sites and destinations that have reopened, and get vaccinated when the opportunity comes. By doing so, not only can you protect yourself, but you are also keeping the workers who rely on tourism safe from the virus, too,” the tourism chief said.

Source: Department of Tourism

Subsidized RT-PCR test for NCR travelers resumes

 

The Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) has opened applications for travelers availing of subsidized reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests as the national government placed the National Capital Region under Alert Level 4 in its pilot Covid-19 alert levels system.

The TPB said the subsidy covers tourists with flights/trips departing from Sept. 16 onwards.

It advised applicants, however, to check with the local government unit (LGU) of their chosen destination for specific restrictions and other safety protocols before they travel.

“Under Alert Level 4, those allowed to go out may undertake intrazonal and interzonal travel (including travel for leisure purposes, subject to regulations of the LGU of destination),” it said.

The Inter-Agency Task Force placed Metro Manila under Alert Level 4 in the new Covid-19 alert levels system from Sept. 16 to 30, allowing “intrazonal and interzonal travel for persons not otherwise required to remain at their residences” to areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ.

Tourists availing of the PHP750-subsidized test at the Philippine Children’s Medical Center must register online five days before the intended travel date.

Applicants must attach the following supporting documents:

  • Copy of a valid government-issued ID
  • Copy of confirmed accommodation booking with a Department of Tourism-accredited and open establishment for leisure and staycation
  • Copy of roundtrip transportation tickets, if applicable, bearing name and booking reference number
  • Via air – roundtrip air tickets MNL-destination-MNL
  • Via sea – roundtrip ferry tickets
  • If, public transport: roundtrip bus tickets
  • If, private transport: copy of official receipt/certificate of registration and photo of the vehicle with plate number

The TPB will evaluate the documents and inform the tourist of the status of the application. 

Source: Philippine News Agency

Travel from NCR to GCQ, MGCQ areas allowed starting Sept. 16: DOT

September 15, 2021

Leisure travel from Metro Manila to areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ (MGCQ) are allowed subject to local government guidelines starting September 16 to 30 after the region was placed under Alert Level 4 in the pilot Covid-19 alert levels system.

In a text message Tuesday, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said leisure travel may resume in these areas and only “if LGU allows” as she cited some specific restrictions by the likes of Baguio that is under GCQ and Batanes already under MGCQ.

“(Travel is allowed in) GCQ to MGCQ and if LGU allows. Some LGUs are already under MGCQ but do not allow yet,” she said in Filipino.

NCR residents below 18 and over 65 years old, on the other hand, are not yet permitted to leave their residences for the purpose of leisure travel following alert level 4 guidelines.

“Travelers will also be subject to reasonable restrictions based on age and comorbidities as may be determined by their respective LGU and the reasonable regulations of their destination’s LGU,” DOT said in a statement.

Areas under the stricter modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) and GCQ with heightened restrictions from Sept. 8 to 30 are as follows:

MECQ

Apayao
Bataan
Bulacan
Cavite
Rizal
Laguna
Iloilo Province
Iloilo City
Lucena City
Cagayan de Oro City

GCQ with heightened restrictions

Ilocos Sur
Ilocos Norte
Cagayan
Pangasinan
Quezon
Batangas
Antique
Capiz
Cebu Province
Lapu-Lapu City
Negros Oriental
Naga City
Bacolod City
Zambaonga del Sur
Misamis Oriental
Davao City
Davao del Norte
Davao de Oro
Davao Occidental
Butuan City

Baguio was placed under GCQ but non-essential travel to the city has been suspended from September 3 to 19 while Batanes, under MGCQ, deferred from accepting tourists from other provinces for the meantime.

The national government piloted the Covid-19 alert levels system in NCR that was declared Alert Level 4 from Sept. 16 to 30.

Based on the guidelines, “intrazonal and interzonal travel for persons not otherwise required to remain at their residences” is allowed “subject to the reasonable regulations of the LGU of destination” on this level.

Outdoor or al fresco dine-in are also permitted at 30 percent venue capacity while indoor dine-in will be allowed at 10 percent only for fully-vaccinated individuals.

Meanwhile, staycations, indoor visitor or tourist attractions, and indoor venues for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibitions (MICE) are prohibited under Alert Level 4.

Romulo-Puyat said the high inoculation rate among tourism workers from hotels will make dining in their restaurants safer.

“The good news is that 99 percent of tourism workers employed in hotels across Metro Manila have been vaccinated,” she said.

“All in all, tourism workers in NCR, including those in DOT-accredited restaurants recorded a 94 percent vaccination rate. This is an added assurance, not only to the safety of our guests, but our tourism workers as well,” she added.

The DOT noted that only point-to-point travel would be allowed, which means “pit stops or stopovers are allowed for eating and personal necessities, but no side trips shall be made to other tourism destinations.”

Source: Philippine News Agency

IATF puts Israel, Switzerland, 6 others on ‘red list’

September 15, 2021

 

The government’s pandemic task force has placed on its “red list” Israel, Switzerland, and six other countries and territories, mandating a ban on all Philippine-bound travelers, except returning Filipinos, for a week.

Other areas on the red list are Azerbaijan, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, St. Lucia, Guam, and the French overseas department of Guadeloupe in the Caribbean.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) places a country on the red list for being “high risk” in terms of COVID-19 cases.

All passengers — regardless of vaccination status and except returning Filipinos — who came from or who had been to the red list countries within 14 days are prohibited from entering the country from Sept. 12 noon until Sept. 18 midnight.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

BI Announces Travel Ban on 9 Other Countries

September 12, 2021
 

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) is now implementing the temporary travel ban of passengers coming from nine countries that started on September 12 and will take effect until September 18.

These countries are:

  1. Azerbaijan
  2. Guadeloupe
  3. Guam
  4. Israel
  5. Kosovo
  6. Montenegro
  7. North Macedonia
  8. Saint Lucia
  9. Switzerland

BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said that based on instructions from Malacañang, as recommended by the IATF, passengers coming from said countries, or who have been there within the last 14 days prior to their arrival to the Philippines are not allowed to enter.

BI port operations chief Carlos Capulong said that Filipinos arriving from same countries under government repatriation program, or bayanihan flights, may be allowed entry but shall undergo a strict 14-day facility-based quarantine, and be required a Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test monitored by the BOQ.

Capulong said that those who had a mere layover in the nine countries are not covered by the travel ban.

Meanwhile, Capulong released the names of countries under the low risk (green list) category which do not qualify for automatic entry based on a resolution issued by the IATF.

He said they will still be subject to seven-day quarantine and eventually be released once they tested negative on the swab test.

These are American Samoa, Anguilla, Australia, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cayman Islands, Chad, China, Comoros, Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Falkland Islands (Malvinas), Gabon, Grenada, Hong Kong (Special Administrative Region of China), Hungary, Mali, Federated States of Micronesia, Montserrat, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niger, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Poland, Saba, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Sierra Leone, Sint Eustatius, Slovakia and Taiwan.

“The general travel restrictions is still in effect. Only Filipinos, balikbayans, and foreigners with valid and existing visas are allowed to enter the Philippines,” said Capulong, adding that “those holding tourists visas remain restricted from entering.”

Source: Bureau of Immigration; Manila Bulletin

BI suspends “Order to Leave” of foreigners due to COVID-19

September 12, 2021
 

BI announced the temporary suspension of the Order to Leave (OTL) of foreigners who have overstayed their temporary visitor’s visa in the country due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.

BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said that the order to suspend the OTL was imposed in consideration of the effects of the pandemic on domestic and international travel.

Morente further stated that the suspension also reciprocates the leniency extended by other countries to Filipinos who may be experiencing the same problem.

The BI chief said that the extended stay shall apply to holders of temporary visitor’s visas who have reached the 24-month period maximum stay for visa-required nationals and 36-month period maximum stay for non-visa required nationals, as of March 1, 2020.

He said the same lenient policy also applies to those who have overstayed beginning March 1, 2020 regardless of whether they have been in the country beyond the maximum allowable period.

However, Morente said that concerned foreigners will still be assessed and shall still be required to settle their immigration fees and penalties in lieu of the OTL.

Source: Manila Bulletin

NCR to Remain Under MECQ as IATF Defers GCQ with Alert Levels

September 7, 2021

The National Capital Region shall remain under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) until September 15, 2021, or until the pilot general community quarantine with alert level system is implemented.

 

In a statement, President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) has deferred the pilot implementation of the GCQ with alert levels system in Metro Manila.

Indoor and al-fresco dine-in services, and personal care services including beauty salons, beauty parlors and nail spas shall remain prohibited.

Religious services performed through online video recording and transmission shall be allowed. 

Immediate family members are allowed to attend necrological services, wakes, inurnment and funerals as long as the deceased died of non-COVID-19 causes. 

The said family members will need to show satisfactory proof of their relationship with the deceased and have to comply with the minimum public health standards. 

Source: GMA News

Metro Manila to be under GCQ, granular lockdown system to be implemented from Sept. 8-30

September 6, 2021

Metro Manila will be placed under a less restrictive general community quarantine (GCQ) starting Wednesday, September 8 until the 30th, Malacañang announced Monday.

This is a downgrade from the current modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) classification over the region.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque explained that Metro Manila was downgraded to GCQ classification since it will be piloting the proposed shift to granular lockdowns as opposed to region-wide restrictions.

“Magpapilot dito sa Metro Manila. Ito ‘yung tinatawag natin sa mga localized lockdowns. Maglalabas ang IATF ng guidelines for pilot areas kung hindi mamaya ay bukas sa ating briefing,” he said.

(The localized lockdowns will be piloted here in Metro Manila. The IATF will release guidelines for pilot areas maybe later or tomorrow.)

The GCQ classification of Metro Manila, Roque said, will be different from previous GCQ implementations with the piloting of the granular lockdowns.

Under granular lockdowns, the local government units only restrict the mobility of residents in a specific building, street, zone, village, and the like where there are high cases of COVID-19.

Other areas under GCQ are:

  • Baguio City
  • Kalinga
  • Abra
  • Benguet
  • Dagupan City
  • City of Santiago
  • Quirino
  • Isabela
  • Nueva Vizcaya
  • Tarlac
  • Occidental Mindoro
  • Puerto Princesa
  • Aklan
  • Guimaras
  • Negros Occidental
  • Cebu City
  • Mandaue City
  • Zamboanga Sibugay
  • Zamboanga City
  • Zamboanga del Norte
  • Misamis Occidental
  • Iligan City
  • Davao Oriental
  • Davao del Sur
  • Gen. Santos City
  • Sultan Kudarat
  • Sarangani
  • North Cotabato
  • South Cotabato
  • Aguan del Norte
  • Agusan del Sur
  • Dinagat Islands
  • Surigao del Norte
  • Surigao del Sur

Meanwhile, 10 areas will be placed under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) including:

  • Apayao
  • Bataan
  • Bulacan
  • Cavite
  • Lucena City
  • Rizal
  • Laguna
  • Iloilo province
  • Iloilo City
  • Cagayan de Oro City

The following areas will be under GCQ “with heightened restrictions”:

  • Ilocos Sur
  • Ilocos Norte
  • Cagayan
  • Pangasinan
  • Quezon
  • Batangas
  • Naga City
  • Antique
  • Bacolod City
  • Capiz
  • Cebu province
  • Lapu-Lapu City
  • Negros Oriental
  • Zamboanga del Sur
  • Misamis Oriental
  • Davao City
  • Davao del Norte
  • Davao del Oro
  • Davao Occidental
  • Butuan City

The rest of the areas in the country will be under the least restrictive modified GCQ, Roque said.

The government’s pandemic task force eyed the shift to granular lockdowns instead of community restrictions in a bid to further stem the spread of COVID-19.

The Octa research group has expressed concern over the proposed granular lockdowns, pointing out that the country may “lose effective control of the pandemic,” as localized lockdowns may only work in a smaller scale setup and but not in areas where there is a surge in cases.

Vice President Leni Robredo also said granular lockdowns must come with COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, and aid for it to be effective.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

PH Travel Ban on 10 Countries, Now Lifted

airplane taking off at naia philippines tourism news

September 6, 2021

Despite the growing number of daily cases, the Philippines has lifted the travel restrictions on travelers coming from 10 countries.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said that travelers from the following countries will finally be allowed to enter the Philippines starting Sept. 6:

  1. India
  2. Pakistan
  3. Bangladesh
  4. Sri Lanka
  5. Nepal
  6. United Arab Emirates
  7. Oman
  8. Thailand
  9. Malaysia
  10. Indonesia

The said countries were originally included in the travel ban due to the rising number of Delta cases.

Roque said travelers from the said countries must comply with the appropriate entry, testing, and quarantine protocols, depending on the country’s approved “listing”.

Meanwhile, Roque bared that the following countries, jurisdictions, or territories are now under the “Green List”:

American Samoa Comoros Mali Saba
Anguilla Republic of the Congo Federated States of Micronesia Saint Pierre and Miquelon
Australia Djibouti Montserrat Sierra Leone
Benin Equatorial Guinea New Caledonia Sint Eustatius
Burkina Faso Falkland Islands (Malvinas) New Zealand Slovakia
Cameroon Gabon Niger Taiwan
Cayman Islands Grenada Northern Mariana Islands  
Chad Hong Kong Palau  
China Hungary Poland  

 

New listings

Following the lifting of travel restrictions on the 10 countries, the IATF has approved the adoption of “Yellow” and “Red” classifications, in addition to the “Green List”.

Roque said the new listings were based on the nations’ respective incidence rates and case counts as the primary criteria, and testing data as secondary criteria. The incidence rate is the cumulative new cases over the past 28 days per 100,000 population while case counts are the cumulative new cases over the past 28 days.

Yellow List

The IATF classified “Yellow List” countries/jurisdictions/ territories as “Moderate Risk” based on the following metrics:

  • For populations greater than 100,000, the incidence rate shall be 50 to 500
  • For populations less than 100,000, the COVID-19 case counts shall be 50 to 500; and the testing rate of tests over the past 28 days per 100,000 population

Inbound international travelers, regardless of their vaccination status, coming from or with travel history within the last 14 days prior to their arrival in the Philippines from “Yellow List” places shall be governed by entry, testing, and quarantine protocols.

First, they shall undergo 14-day quarantine upon arrival. They have to complete the first 10 days in a quarantine facility while the remaining days will be under home quarantine in their respective local government units (LGUs) of destination.

Second, they shall undergo reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing on the seventh day, with their day of arrival serving as day one.

Third, the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) shall ensure strict symptom monitoring while in the facility quarantine for 10 days.

Passengers shall be subject to special protocols approved by the IATF or the Office of the President for certain classes of travelers or ports of origin.

Red List

On the other hand, the IATF classified “Red List” countries/jurisdictions/territories as “High Risk” based on the following metrics

  • For populations greater than 100,000 the incidence rate shall be more than 500
  • For populations less than 100,000, the COVID-19 case counts shall be more than 500, and the testing rate of tests over the past 28 days per 100,000 population

Inbound international travelers, regardless of their vaccination status, shall not be allowed to enter the Philippines. Only Filipinos returning to the country via government-initiated repatriation, non-government-initiated repatriation, and Bayanihan flights may be allowed entry, subject to entry, testing, and quarantine protocols.

Filipinos from Red-listed places shall undergo 14-day quarantine upon arrival, the first 10 in a quarantine facility while the remaining four days under home quarantine in their LGUs of destination.

They shall undergo RT-PCR testing on the seventh day, with their day of arrival serving as day one. The BOQ shall ensure strict symptom monitoring while in the facility quarantine for 10 days.

Passengers shall be subject to special protocols approved by the IATF or the Office of the President for certain classes of travelers or ports of origin.

All passengers merely transiting through a country, jurisdiction, or territory under the “Red List” shall not be deemed as having been there if they stayed in the airport the whole time and were not cleared for entry by its immigration authorities.

They shall likewise be covered with existing testing and quarantine protocols.

Malacañang is yet to publish a list of countries, jurisdictions, or territories under the Yellow and Red lists.

Source: Manila Bulletin

IATF approves granular lockdowns with Metro Manila as pilot area starting Sept. 8

manila philippines tourism news
September 4, 2021
 

IATF has approved the granular lockdown that will first be implemented in Metro Manila starting on Sept. 8, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez announced.

He did not, however, give details for quarantine classifications outside Metro Manila.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año previously announced that granular lockdowns would replace community quarantine classifications in early September.

Malacañang said it favored that policy instead of placing large areas under quarantine.

Siargao is welcoming tourists again

guyam island siargao

September 3, 2021

Great news for island-lovers! Siargao is finally welcoming tourists again! 

In accordance with Executive Order no 21-032, the Provincial Government of Surigao del Norte, has issued their latest set of travel rules for everyone entering Surigao del Norte.
 
SDN Travel Requirements:
Via Sayak (Siargao Island) Airport and Surigao City Airport:
 
FOR SURIGAO DEL NORTE RESIDENTS:
  • A negative result on RT-PCR Test or negative result on COVID-19 saliva test taken within 48 hours
  • Valid ID or any proof of residency in Surigao del Norte
 
FOR GOVERNMENT APOR:
  • A negative result on RT-PCR test or negative result on COVID-19 saliva test taken within 48 hours
  • Valid ID
  • Travel/mission order issued by the “Chief of Office”
 
FOR NON-RESIDENT PRIVATE APOR:
  • A negative result on RT-PCR Test or negative result on COVID-19 saliva test taken within 48 hours
  • Valid ID
  • Confirmed booking of at least 2 nights from a resort, hotel, or hostel duly accredited by the Department of Tourism DOT
 
FOR TOURISTS INVITED BY LOCAL RESIDENTS OF SURIGAO DEL NORTE:
  • Negative result on RT-PCR Test or negative result on COVID-19 saliva test taken within 48 hours
  • Valid ID
  • Travel Certification issued by the Mayor of the City/Municipality of destination (within the Province of Surigao del Norte)
 
FOR TOURISTS NOT INVITED BY LOCAL RESIDENTS OF SURIGAO DEL NORTE (WALK-IN TOURISTS):
  • A negative result on RT-PCR Test or a negative result on COVID-19 saliva test taken within 48 hours
  • Valid ID
  • Confirmed booking of at least 2 nights from a resort, hotel or hostel duly accredited by the Department of Tourism DOT
  •  
Via seaports or land
FOR SURIGAO DEL NORTE RESIDENTS & GOVERNMENT APOR:
“The protocols and requirements issued by the component city/municipality of destination within this Province shall govern and should be followed.”
 
FOR NON-RESIDENT PRIVATE APOR & TOURISTS NOT INVITED BY LOCAL RESIDENTS OF SURIGAO DEL NORTE (WALK-IN TOURISTS):
  • A negative result on RT-PCR Test or negative result on COVID-19 saliva test taken within 48 hours
  • Valid ID
  • Confirmed booking of at least 2 nights from a resort, hotel or hostel duly accredited by the Department of Tourism.
 
FOR TOURISTS INVITED BY A LOCAL RESIDENT OF SURIGAO DEL NORTE:
  • Negative result on RT-PCR Test or negative result on COVID-19 saliva test taken within 48 hours
  • Valid ID
  • Travel certificate issued by the mayor of the municipality of destination (within the Province of Surigao del Norte).
 
POST ANTIGEN TEST IS REQUIRED FOR TOURISTS AND PRIVATE APORS.
 

Source: Surigao Del Norte Tourism and Culture Office

Baguio City to bar entry of ‘non-essential’ travelers starting Sept. 3

September 2, 2021
 
Starting September 3, Baguio City will again temporarily ban non-essential travelers from going to the “summer capital” for more than two weeks. This will take effect until September 19.
 

“Non-residents traveling for leisure or other non-essential purposes, regardless of community quarantine classification in their place of origin, shall not be allowed to enter Baguio,” the order reads.

Meanwhile, APORs or authorized persons outside of residence will be allowed to enter the city subject to health and safety protocols set by the local government.

These requirements include a negative result of RT-PCR test conducted within 72 hours before arrival. For fully vaccinated individuals, vaccination documents may be presented instead of test results.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Oman lifts travel ban on OFWs, Pinoy tourists starting Sept. 1 — DOLE

travelers at naia philippines tourism news

September 1, 2021

The government of Oman has decided to lift its ban on Filipinos traveling to their country effective Sept. 1, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) announced.

DOLE Information and Publication Service Director Rolly Francia said Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III received a message from the Oman government that it is lifting the restrictions imposed on travelers coming from the Philippines, including overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), as well as Filipino tourists.

Oman is among the ten countries included in the Philippines’ travel ban list which has been extended up to Sept. 5 as a precautionary measure against the Delta variant of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The DOLE official said the Philippine government is set to make an announcement on whether it will lift its ban on those coming from Oman by Sept. 5.

“We will just wait, although we had preliminary word that such will be lifted alongside the effectivity of the travel ban to other countries that will end on September 5,” he added.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Bohol lifts ban on air, sea travel for non-APORs

chocolate hills bohol philippines tourism news
September 1, 2021
 
The local government of Bohol has lifted the suspension on air and sea travel for non-authorized authorized persons outside residence (APORs) bound to the province effective, Sept. 1.
 
Bohol Governor Arthur Yap signed Executive Order No. 42 which lifts the border closure of Bohol for non-APORs including returning residents and tourists, subject to health and safety protocols.
 

Among the requirements set by the LGU include a negative result of an RT-PCR test conducted within 72 hours before arrival.

Arriving non-APORs are also required to undergo quarantine in government-approved public or privately owned quarantine facilities for five days.

“Privately-owned quarantine facilities should be a Department of Tourism (DOT)-accredited accommodation establishment or any private facility/house/home with separate rooms and Toilet Bath facility,” the order said.

“On the fifth day of quarantine period, he/she shall undergo a repeat RT-PCR Test. If the result is negative, he/she shall be released, otherwise, if the result is positive, he/ she shall continue his/ her quarantine and may be allowed to go home only after succeeding tests yield a negative result,” it added.

Meanwhile, the Bohol LGU noted that testing and quarantine protocols for APORs, as well as strict enforcement of border control in all ports of entry, shall continue to be in effect and strictly enforced.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Travel ban on 10 countries extended until September 5

September 1, 2021
 
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has announced the extension of the temporary travel ban for passengers coming from 10 countries until September 5.
 
In an advisory, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said that following the directive from Malacanang, as recommended by the IATF-MEID, the restriction for those coming from the countries below is extended from September 1 to 5, 2021.
  1. India
  2. Pakistan
  3. Bangladesh
  4. Sri Lanka
  5. Nepal
  6. United Arab Emirates
  7. Oman
  8. Thailand
  9. Malaysia
  10. Indonesia 
Those coming from the said countries, as well as those with a travel history in the 10 countries within the last 14 days prior to arrival to the Philippines, will not be allowed to enter.
 
Currently, only Filipinos, balikbayan, and those holding valid and existing visas are allowed to enter the country. The entry of foreign tourists remains suspended.
 
Source: Bureau of Immigration

BOQ Urges Public to Apply Only for ‘Yellow Card’ if They Are Scheduled to Travel Overseas

August 30, 2021
 

The Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) has appealed to the public to only apply for a “yellow card” if they are already scheduled to travel abroad.

BOQ Director Dr. Roberto Salvador Jr. made the statement in a public briefing to ensure that individuals who have an immediate schedule to travel overseas will have a slot in getting the said document.
 

As for those who cannot get a slot, but need to obtain the document right away, the BOQ official advised them to book whatever date available, then proceed to the BOQ so that they could be assisted.

“Mayroon kaming express lane doon sa mga talagang totoong makakapagpakita na paalis na sila, like iyong mga OFW (We have an express lane for those who can really show that they are leaving, like for Overseas Filipino Workers),” he said.

The International Certificate of Vaccination and Prophylaxis (ICV) or yellow card is a vaccination card that provides details of the diseases that a person has been vaccinated against, Salvador explained.

He noted that the document is recognized by 196 countries, which are signatories with the World Health Organization (WHO).

The agency had earlier appealed to the public to refrain from applying for a yellow card if they do not have a scheduled trip abroad.

“Sa ngayon po ay hindi po natin sila ini-encourage na kumuha ng yellow card kung hindi po gagamitin sa labas ng bansa (Right now, we are not encouraging them to get a yellow card if they are not going to use it for international travel),” said Salvador.

“Kasi po, sobrang dami po nang gustong kumuha ng yellow card, nawawalan po ng slot iyong mga talaga pong aalis na papunta sa ibang bansa (There are too many people who want to get a yellow card and those who are actually going to travel to another country are losing their slots),” he added.

Source: Manila Bulletin

MECQ in Metro Manila extended until September 7

makati philippines tourism news
August 29, 2021

 

Metro Manila will remain under modified enhanced community quarantine until September 7, Malacañang announced, as the country continues to face a surge in coronavirus cases partly driven by the more contagious Delta variant.

Like Metro Manila, the provinces of Bataan and Laguna will be under MECQ with additional restrictions on dining, personal care services, and religious activities until September 7.

Meanwhile, the following areas will be under the regular MECQ from September 1 to 7:

  • Apayao
  • Ilocos Norte
  • Bulacan
  • Cavite
  • Lucena City
  • Rizal
  • Aklan
  • Iloilo province
  • Iloilo City
  • Lapu-Lapu City
  • Cebu City
  • Mandaue City
  • Cagayan de Oro City

The government is hoisting general community quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions over the following areas:

  • Ilocos Sur
  • Cagayan
  • Quezon
  • Batangas
  • Naga City
  • Antique
  • Bacolod City
  • Capiz
  • Cebu province
  • Negros Oriental
  • Zamboanga del Sur
  • Misamis Oriental
  • Davao City
  • Davao del Norte
  • Davao Occidental
  • Davao de Oro
  • Butuan City

Regular GCQ will be enforced in the following areas from September 1 to 7:

  • Baguio City
  • Santiago City
  • Quirino
  • Isabela
  • Nueva Vizcaya
  • Tarlac
  • Puerto Princesa
  • Guimaras
  • Negros Occidental
  • Zamboanga Sibugay
  • Zamboanga City
  • Zamboanga del Norte
  • Davao Oriental
  • Davao del Sur
  • General Santos City
  • Sultan Kudarat
  • Sarangani
  • North Cotabato
  • South Cotabato
  • Agusan del Norte
  • Agusan del Sur
  • Surigao del Norte
  • Surigao del Sur
  • Dinagat Islands
  • Cotabato City

All other areas in the country will be placed under the laxest quarantine regime.

The Philippines is experiencing its worst surge since the pandemic began, with health authorities logging the second-highest single-day rise in cases after recording 17,447 new infections.

Source: Philippine Star

IATF OKs OneHealthPass for all arriving travelers starting Sept. 1

travelers at naia philippines tourism news
August 27, 2021

IATF on the COVID-19 response has approved the use of the OneHealthPass for travelers arriving in the Philippines starting September 1, Malacañang said.

“The use of the OneHealthPass shall start September 1, 2021 and for the duration of the state of a national public health emergency,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.

Roque said OneHealthPass is an online platform aiming to promote the “convenient and seamless movement of international travelers from departure from the country of origin to arrival at the local government unit of destination.”

Travelers can register to OneHealthPass via https://www.onehealthpass.com.ph/e-HDC/.

Upon completion of the registration, each passenger will be issued a quick response (QR) code which will be presented prior to boarding the aircraft and upon arrival in the Philippines.

The platform was developed by the Bureau of Quarantine and the Department of Transportation.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

LGUs to Decide if Quarantine Passes in NCR, Other MECQ Areas are Required- Año

manila philippines tourism news

August 23, 2021

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año clarified that it is leaving to the Local Government Units (LGUs) the decision on whether or not they would require quarantine passes for individuals availing of essential goods and services in areas under the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ), especially Metro Manila.

Año issued the clarification after the Caloocan City government noted that color-coded quarantine passes are still required in the city even if Metro Manila which includes the locality is under MECQ.

Caloocan City Mayor Oscar “Oca” Malapitan in an interview over ABS-CBN noted that quarantine passes will have to be presented when purchasing essential goods or going to establishments allowed to operate during MECQ.

Although the quarantine status in Metro Manila was downgraded from the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to the more relaxed MECQ, Malapitan said that the stay-at-home policy for unauthorized persons outside residence (APOR) will still be strictly implemented.

Last August 20, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairperson Benhur Abalos announced that quarantine passes are no longer required in the National Capital Region (NCR) under MECQ.

Source: Manila Bulletin
 

‘Tiny bubbles’ to remain in NCR under MECQ – Eleazar

August 22, 2021

The Philippine National Police (PNP) said “consumer” APORs in Metro Manila will still not be allowed to travel outside of their respective city or municipality during the enforcement of MECQ.

PNP chief Guillermo Eleazar said restrictions will still be the same for consumer-APORs, explaining that only one APOR per household is allowed to go out to avail of goods and services during non-curfew hours. APORs must also carry with them the quarantine passes issued by their respective local government unit (LGU).

He added that in the case of Metro Manila, the concept of “tiny bubbles” will still be applied, meaning, each of the NCR’s 16 cities and the Municipality of Pateros will maintain border control points, or Quarantine Control Points to be manned and supervised by police officers.

However, in a follow-up statement, Eleazar said it will still depend on the LGUs if they will enforce the quarantine pass system for APORs in their respective areas.

Metro Manila’s curfew hours under the MECQ are from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m.

Metro Manila was placed under MECQ until the end of August after being under lockdown or the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from August 6 to August 20.

Unlike the last MECQ implemented in April this year, however, additional guidelines were issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) as part of measures to contain the spread of COVID-19, especially with more transmissible variants of COVID-19 emerging.

Eleazar said he reiterated the additional rules on MECQ in order to avoid confusion and misunderstanding as some people would misinterpret the new quarantine status to mean that they could already leave their respective cities or municipality.

He then appealed for understanding on the restrictions, saying it is the decision of the IATF that the PNP has to implement for the sake of public safety.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

NCR, Laguna, Bataan move to MECQ until August 31

August 20, 2021

Starting August 21, the National Capital Region (NCR) and Laguna will be under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from their enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) status.

The task force likewise agreed to put the province of Bataan under MECQ beginning August 23 until the end of the month. Bataan was placed under ECQ until August 22.

According to Roque, the latest classifications were without prejudice to the strict implementation of granular lockdowns.

The Palace official said that local government units (LGUs) of the three areas were directed to improve their vaccination rates, Prevent-Detect-Isolate-Treat-Reintegrate (PDITR) strategies, and observance and compliance to Minimum Public Health Standards.

During the MECQ period, indoor and al-fresco dine-in services; and personal care services including beauty salons, beauty parlors, barbershops, and nail spas shall not be allowed in the NCR, Laguna, and Bataan.

Religious gatherings shall also remain virtual in the said areas.

Source: Manila Bulletin; Philippine Daily Inquirer

Laguna to Stay Under ECQ Until August 20

laguna tourist spot philippines tourism news

Auhust 14, 2021

Instead of lowering to a Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ), the IATF decides to extend Laguna’s ECQ until August 20, to slow down the surge of COVID-19 cases.

Laguna’s quarantine classification was supposed to be de-escalated from the rigid ECQ to modified community quarantine (MECQ) starting August 16 until August 31. 

However, Roque said that the COVID-19 Task Force (IATF) decided to extend ECQ in the province upon the recommendation of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, after consultation with the local government in Laguna. The reclassification was made to maximize the effects of the quarantine measures, slow down the surge of COVID-19 cases, and stop the spread of COVID-19 variants in the area. 

Source: Rappler

Laguna, Iloilo City, Cagayan de Oro City under MECQ from Aug. 16 to 31

August 13, 2021

Laguna, Iloilo City and Cagayan de Oro City’s status will be de-escalated from the most restrictive enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to modified ECQ (MECQ) from August 16 to 31, Malacañang announced.

Meanwhile, Metro Manila and Bataan remain under ECQ until August 20 and August 22, respectively.

Other areas under MECQ from August 16 to 31 are the following:

Apayao Ilocos Norte Bulacan Cavite
Lucena City Rizal Aklan Iloilo Province
Lapu-Lapu City Mandaue City Cebu City  

 

The following areas, meanwhile, will be placed under general community quarantine (GCQ) “with heightened restrictions”:

Ilocos Sur Antique Zamboanga del Sur Davao de Oro
Cagayan Bacolod City Misamis Oriental Butuan City
Quezon Capiz Davao City  
Batangas Negros Oriental Davao del Norte  
Naga City Cebu
Davao Occidental
 

 

The following areas are under GCQ:

Tarlac Guimaras General Santos City Sarangani
Baguio City Negros Occidental Sultan Kudarat North Cotabato
Santiago City Zamboanga Sibugay Agusan del Sur South Cotabato
Quirino Zamboanga City Surigao del Norte
Agusan del Norte
Isabela Zamboanga del Norte Surigao del Sur  
Nueva Vizcaya Davao Oriental Dinagat Islands  
Puerto Princesa Davao del Sur Cotabato City  

 

All other areas not mentioned will be placed under the most relaxed status modified general community quarantine from August 16 to 31.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

PH trims down the list of ‘green’ countries to 36 from 51

airplane taking off at naia philippines tourism news
August 13, 2021
 
The list of “green” or low coronavirus risk countries that allow their vaccinated travelers to face shorter quarantine upon arrival in the Philippines has been further trimmed down as a precaution against the coronavirus spread.
 
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has identified 36 countries and territories with a low risk of coronavirus infection, from the previous 51.
 

The countries included in the revised “green” list are the following:

Albania Cayman Islands Grenada Nigeria
American Samoa Chad Hong Kong
Northern Mariana Islands
Anguilla China Hungary Palau
Australia Comoros Mali Poland
Benin Cote d’ Ivoire (Ivory Coast) Federated States of Micronesia Romania
Bosnia and Herzegovina Djibouti Montserrat (British Overseas Territory)
Saint Pierre and Miquelon
Brunei Equatorial Guinea New Caledonia Slovakia
Burkina Faso Falkland Islands New Zealand Sudan
Cameroon Gabon Niger Taiwan
 

The task force earlier issued health guidelines for vaccinated travelers who stayed in these “green” countries, including a seven-day quarantine at a facility instead of the usual 10 days, when arriving in the country.

The “green” countries/jurisdictions are those classified by the Department of Health as “low risk” countries/jurisdictions based on disease incidence rate.

These vaccinated travelers must take a swab coronavirus test on the fifth day of facility-based quarantine. If the passenger tests negative, the individual must complete the seven-day facility-based quarantine. If found positive, the traveler must follow the prescribed isolation protocols.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Quarantine for close contacts back to 14 days, fully vaccinated or not

a traveler on quarantine philippines tourism news

August 12, 2021

IATF has temporarily suspended the protocol that allowed a shortened quarantine period for fully vaccinated travelers and individuals found to have had close contact with probable and confirmed COVID-19 cases.

These people are now required to undergo 14-day quarantine, instead of seven days as previously allowed for fully vaccinated individuals.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the IATF adopted the decision as part of the continued implementation of “proactive measures” to slow down the spread of COVID-19 cases, especially the more transmissible coronavirus variants.

Issued on July 2, IATF Resolution No. 124-B allowed fully vaccinated individuals to undergo a shortened seven-day quarantine, provided they remained asymptomatic while in isolation.

DOH recommendation

But under a new resolution, No. 132, dated Aug. 10, the task force, citing the recommendation of the Department of Health (DOH) and its technical advisory group, removed the distinction between vaccinated and unvaccinated persons with regard to quarantine due to exposure to COVID-19 positive individuals.

The testing and quarantine protocols for fully vaccinated individuals should again comply with the previous rule set by the DOH in its Nov. 26, 2020, memorandum, which requires all close contacts and travelers to be placed on a 14-day quarantine.

Close contacts who remain asymptomatic for at least 14 days from the date of exposure can discontinue their quarantine. Should they develop symptoms or test positive for COVID-19, they shall be isolated and treated in an appropriate facility.

Close contacts refer to people who were exposed to a person who has been listed as a probable or confirmed case, two days before or within 14 days after the onset of that person’s symptoms.

The exposure may be through a face-to-face encounter within a one-meter distance for at least 15 minutes, direct physical contact, direct care for a COVID-19 patient without using personal protective equipment, or other situations subject to local health assessments.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

PH extends travel ban on 10 countries until Aug. 31

travelers at naia philippines tourism news

August 12, 2021

The Philippines has extended its travel restrictions on travelers from 10 countries amid the country’s fight against the more contagious Delta variant of COVID-19.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the announcement after the Department of Health (DOH) reported 177 new cases of the said variant, bringing the total number of Delta infections to 627 as of August 12.

In his statement, Roque said the travel ban on the following countries was extended until the end of the month:

  1. India
  2. Pakistan
  3. Bangladesh
  4. Sri Lanka
  5. Nepal
  6. United Arab Emirates
  7. Oman
  8. Thailand
  9. Malaysia
  10. Indonesia

Earlier, Roque said restrictions were imposed on travelers from these countries to “prevent the further spread and community transmission of COVID-19 variants” in the Philippines.

He added that travel restrictions were subject to the same exceptions on repatriation and special commercial flights for Filipinos. However, they will be required to follow the prescribed testing and quarantine protocols.

The Delta variant first detected in India was reported to have paved the way for the deadly second wave of COVID-19 infections in the said country.

Last month, the government intensified the country’s border control to prevent the entry of COVID-19 variants of concern,

The spread of the Delta variant in the Philippines prompted President Duterte to approve the recommendation of the government’s pandemic task to place several areas under the stricter quarantine classifications, including Metro Manila under a two-week Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) that will end on August 20.

The DOH has reported that the Delta variant has been detected in all cities and the lone municipality of Metro Manila.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Inter-city travel during ECQ allowed for medical purposes, emergencies — PNP chief

manila philippines tourism news
August 9, 2021
 

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar reiterated that Metro Manila residents with medical appointments and emergencies are allowed to cross borders of other cities during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) period.

 “Kung kayo ay merong appointment para sa medical reason, like for example, lalo na kung may chemotherapy, dialysis, ay yan po syempre ay sa hospital na inyong alam o nakasanayan na, and you can cross border,” Eleazar said in an interview on ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo. 

 “Ngayon sa mga ibang appointment tulad ng dental appointment, medical check-up, in a-allow na din po ‘yun na mag-cross kayo ng border,” Eleazar added.

Eleazar, however, clarified that medications should be purchased within one’s locality.

“Pero ang amin pong pinapakiusap sana since ECQ naman, kung pu-pwede naman na makahintay yan after ECQ, pinakamaganda po,” he stressed.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Bataan escalated to ECQ from August 8 to 22

las casas filipinas de acuzar bataan philippines tourism news

August 7, 2021

Malacañang announced that Bataan would be placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from August 8 to August 22, 2021 in a bid to stem the coronavirus spread.

Prior to the escalation to ECQ, Bataan has been placed under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) until August 15, 2021.

As the government moves to quell the spread of the coronavirus driven by Delta variant, Bataan will join ECQ areas such as Metro Manila, Laguna, Iloilo City and Cagayan de Oro this month.

As of August 7, the country recorded 11,021 new cases of infections that pushed the total to 1,649,341. The country’s death toll has reached 28,835.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Laguna, Iloilo City, Cagayan de Oro under ECQ

Laguna seven lakes philippines tourism news

August 6, 2021

Laguna will be under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from August 6 to 15, while other parts of the Calabarzon region will be under the less strict modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) or general community quarantine with heightened restrictions.

The new quarantine classifications are as follows:

ECQ from August 6 to 15

  • Laguna
  • Iloilo City
  • Cagayan de Oro City

MECQ from August 6 to 15

  • Cavite
  • Lucena City in Quezon
  • Rizal
  • Iloilo province

GCQ with heightened restrictions from August 6 to 15

  • Batangas
  • Quezon

During ECQ, only virtual religious gatherings will be allowed. Necrological services, wakes, inurnment, funerals for those who died of causes other than COVID-19 are also allowed but are limited to immediate family members.

Vaccination activities will likewise continue during ECQ.

Public transportation will also remain operational at 50-percent capacity during the lockdown period.

Interzonal travel from NCR-plus areas, or Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal, will be limited to Authorized Persons Outside their Residence (APORs). Only APORs will also be allowed to conduct intrazonal travel within NCR-plus areas.

Source: Rappler; Manila Bulletin

Boracay tourism activities suspended during MECQ, says Aklan gov

boracay philippines tourism news
August 4, 2021
 

Tourism activities in Boracay are now suspended after Aklan was placed under the more restrictive modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from August 1 to August 15, Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores said.

As of today, since Aklan was placed under MECQ, tourism activities in Boracay will stop for now.

Miraflores said there is no point in allowing tourism activities to continue as most of the tourists going to Boracay are from Metro Manila which is under the most restrictive enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from August 6 to 20.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Boxer Eumir Marcial Wins Olympics Bronze for PH

Eumir Marcial wins bronze in Tokyo 2020 Olympics
Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Boxing – Men’s Middleweight – Quarterfinal – KKG – Kokugikan Arena – Tokyo, Japan – August 1, 2021. Eumir Marcial of the Philippines reacts after winning his fight against Arman Darchinyan of Armenia REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

 

August 5, 2021

Cover Photo by Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters via Rappler

Filipino athletes aren’t stopping!

The Philippines gets its third medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics after boxer Eumir Marcial wins bronze for men’s middleweight. Marcial met his match in Ukraine’s Oleksandr Khyzhniak. The bout was too close to call and the four judges, who scored it 29-28, were split while the other went entirely in favor of Khyzhniak, 30-27.

Congrats, Eumir!

Source: Yahoo! News; Rappler

Nesthy Petecio Wins Olympic Silver Medal, Makes History As First Filipina Boxer

nesthy petacio tokyo 2020 olympics
August 3, 2021
 
Cover photo source: Philippine Star
 
Women athletes are on fire!

After Hidilyn Diaz’s historic gold medal win at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Davaoeño boxer, Nesthy Petecio bagged the country’s second Olympic medal, winning the silver medal. She ends the Philippines’ boxing medal drought since Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco’s silver medal win at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Sena Irie of Japan won the gold medal whom Petecio had defeated in the World Championship 2019.

With fellow boxers Eumir Marcial and Carlo Paalam also secured an Olympic medal each in Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the Philippines is sure to bring home four medals this year—the first time since in history, making the Philippines’ Olympic campaign this year the best ever.
 
If you, too, want to visit the beautiful Japan, see our most recommended tourist spots in Japan here.
 
Source: Philippine Tatler

Cebu, Laguna, More Areas Shift Quarantine Classification as COVID-19 Cases Surge

magellan's cross cebu philippines tourism news
August 1, 2021
 

More areas have shifted community quarantine classifications for the first half of the month following the recent surge of COVID-19 cases.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque announced that Cebu Province was now placed under general community quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions from August 1 to 15, 2021.

The province was originally under the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

From GCQ with heightened restrictions, Laguna and Aklan will now be under MECQ until August 15. 

Meanwhile, Apayao was moved from the regular GCQ to MECQ until August 15.

On July 31, President Duterte approved moving more areas to stricter community quarantine classifications for August due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases and to prevent the spread of the dreaded Delta variant.

The National Capital Region (NCR) will be under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from August 6 to 20, 2021. Before the shift, Metro Manila will be under GCQ with heightened and additional restrictions until August 5.

Also under ECQ are Gingoog City, Iloilo City, Iloilo Province, and Cagayan de Oro City from August 1 until August 7, 2021.

Residents of Gingoog City, Iloilo City, Iloilo Province, and Cagayan de Oro City were assured of cash assistance worth P1,000 or up to P4,000 per family.

Meanwhile, President Duterte has ordered the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to source the funding for cash assistance for residents who will be affected by NCR’s scheduled shift to ECQ.

Source: Manila Bulletin

PH travel ban for passengers from 10 countries extended anew

airplane taking off at naia philippines tourism news
July 31, 2021
 

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) said the government has extended anew the travel ban for travelers coming from 10 countries to August 15 in a bid to effectively control and minimize the spread of the highly infectious Delta variant of COVID-19.

BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said airline companies have been notified not to bring in temporarily passengers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand.

He said that passengers from the said countries will be denied entry and sent back immediately to their port of origin.

But Morente said he is hopeful that the travel restriction will ease before the end of the year.

He based his optimistic projection on the stepped-up vaccination drive worldwide including the Philippines.

Source: Manila Bulletin 

Leisure flights from NCR suspended: DOT

 

Leisure point-to-point flights are suspended, effective immediately for areas under GCQ-HR, the Department of Tourism (DOT) announced.

Through the Interagency Task Force Resolution No 130-A, Metro Manila had been placed under GCQ-HR from July 30 to August 5, 2021, and on a two-week ECQ beginning August 6 until August 20, 2021.

“In the interim week under the GCQ-HR, point-to-point (P2P) flights for leisure are suspended, effective immediately. However, returning flights are allowed for tourists residing in the NCR Plus (NCR, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal),” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said in a statement.

To prevent congestion in the borders, she said that “any type of non-essential travel to and from the NCR Plus” is also prohibited, and that only Authorized Persons Outside their Residences (APORs) are allowed.

‘Staycation suspended’ 

Staycations and operations of indoor tourist attractions were likewise suspended throughout the period, but DOT said those who are already checked in for staycation as of July 29 may continue their stay until the last day of their original booking.

Hotels and accommodations outside of NCR Plus are also no longer allowed to accept leisure guests from the bubble beginning July 30, regardless of the date of booking.

“DOT-accredited AEs (accommodation establishments) may only accommodate those required to undergo quarantine, long stay guests as defined in DOT Administrative Order No. 2021-004-A, health and emergency frontline services personnel who need easy access to their place of work, and APORs who require accommodation pursuant to their official function or duty,” Romulo-Puyat said.

Mass gatherings, including social events and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) remain prohibited while “dining in restaurant establishments premises shall not be allowed” starting August 1.

Meanwhile, the DOT urged stakeholders, particularly hotel operators, travel agencies, and airlines, to allow affected guests to rebook without charges.

“The National Task Force Vaccine Cluster is ramping up efforts to vaccinate tourism workers in more destinations across the country. The cooperation of all will be vital to the success of the government’s current efforts to inoculate more individuals against the virus and curb the spread of Covid-19,” Romulo-Puyat said. 

Source: Philippine News Agency

NCR Plus Under GCQ with Heightened Restrictions Until Aug. 5; NCR to be placed Under ECQ from Aug. 6-20

manila philippines tourism news

July 30, 2021
 

Metro Manila will be placed under the strictest lockdown level, the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), from Aug. 6 to 20, Malacañang said. 

Under ECQ:

  • Dine-in and al-fresco dining are not allowed
  • Personal care services may operate up to 30% of venue seating capacity
  • Indoor sports courts and venues, indoor tourist attractions, specialized markets of DOT may not operate
  • Outdoor tourist attractions shall remain to be allowed up to 30% of venue seating capacity

In the meantime, Metro Manila will be under General Community Quarantine “subject to heightened and additional restrictions” from today until Aug. 5, said Palace spokesman Harry Roque. 

Source: Malacañang

*****
July 29, 2021

National Capital Region (NCR) Plus will be under general community quarantine (GCQ) “with heightened restrictions” from Aug. 1 to 15 and Iloilo province and three cities outside Luzon will still be under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) until Aug. 7, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque announced.

Iloilo province, Iloilo City,  Cagayan de Oro City, and Gingoog — all of which have been under ECQ, the strictest classification, since July 16 — will retain their status until Aug. 7.

Meanwhile, the following areas will be placed under a looser modified ECQ (MECQ) from Aug. 1 to 15:

  • Ilocos Norte
  • Bataan
  • Lapu-Lapu City
  • Mandaue City

Metro Manila, also known as the NCR, will retain its GCQ with heightened restrictions status while Laguna, Cavite, Bulacan, and Rizal will be upgraded to the same status.

Other areas under GCQ with heightened restrictions are:

Ilocos Sur Cagayan Lucena City Naga City
Antique Aklan Bacolod City Capiz
Negros Oriental Zamboanga del Sur Misamis Oriental Davao City
Davao del Norte Davao de Oro Davao Occidental Butuan City

 

The following areas will be under GCQ for the whole of August:

Baguio City Batangas Davao Oriental Agusan del Norte
Apayao Puerto Princesa Davao del Sur Surigao del Norte
Santiago City Guimaras General Santos City Agusan del Sur
Isabela Negros Occidental Sultan Kudarat Dinagat Islands
Nueva Vizcaya Zamboanga Sibugay Sarangani Surigao del Sur
Quirino Zamboanga City North Cotabato Cotabato City
Quezon Zamboanga del Norte South Cotabato  

 

Roque said all other areas not mentioned would be placed under the most permissive modified GCQ from Aug. 1 to 31.

He added that the quarantine classifications would still be subject to the appeals of local government units.

Metro Manila mayors have been seeking a stricter quarantine classification in light of the looming spread of the highly contagious COVID-19 variant, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Benhur Abalos said Wednesday.

He added local chief executives expressed readiness if ever Metro Manila would be placed under the most restrictive ECQ, provided that the national government would have funds for financial aid.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

NCR, 4 other provinces under GCQ ‘with heightened restrictions’ until July 31

July 23, 2021
 
General community quarantine (GCQ) “with heightened restrictions” will be in effect starting Friday, July 23, until July 31 in Metro Manila and provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Davao de Oro, and Davao del Norte.
 

Malacañang announced this as the health department confirmed Thursday night the local transmission of the highly contagious COVID-19 Delta variant that was first detected in India.

Roque said local government units in NCR should apply the same rules as to when the region was placed under the same classification – GCQ with heightened restrictions – in May.

Roque also said that children five years old and above will not be allowed outdoors in these areas placed under GCQ with heightened restrictions.

However, the IATF encouraged establishments to consider developing and converting more outdoor spaces into temporary outdoor weekend markets and dining spaces, permanently accessible urban green spaces, outdoor recreational spaces, and public sanitation facilities.

Meanwhile, Davao del Sur has been placed under normal GCQ, a downgrade from its previous modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) classification, from July 23-31.

Metro Manila was placed under normal GCQ since July 15 while Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur were placed under a looser modified GCQ.

Davao de Oro and Davao del Sur, on the other hand, were previously placed under MECQ, which is a more restrictive quarantine classification.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Philippines imposes travel ban on Thailand, Malaysia over Delta variant fears

travelers at naia

July 23, 2021

Thailand and Malaysia have been added to the list of countries covered by the Philippines’ travel ban, due to the spike in COVID-19 cases there believed to be fueled by the Delta variant.

Travelers from these two countries are barred from entering the Philippines from July 25 to 31, announced Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque on Friday, July 23.

Also barred from entry are persons who have been to Thailand or Malaysia in the past 14 days but are arriving from a different country.

Those who are set to arrive in the Philippines from Thailand and Malaysia before July 25 will be allowed to enter but must undergo 14 days of quarantine, regardless of COVID-19 swab test result.

However, Filipinos who will travel to the Philippines from Thailand and Malaysia through repatriation and special commercial flights will be allowed to enter the country, subject to testing and quarantine rules.

Other countries covered by the Philippine travel ban are Indonesia, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates – countries where the Delta variant has spread rapidly.

In the Philippines, a total of 47 Delta variant cases have been identified, 23 of which are local cases. The health department confirmed on Thursday that there is already local transmission of the feared variant.

Philippines Tourism News Source: Rappler

IATF Withdraws Resolution Allowing Kids Outdoors Due to Delta Variant – Duque

filipino kids with a foreigner philippines tourism news

July 23, 2021

The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) recalled its resolution allowing children aged five and above outdoors due to the threat of the Delta variant of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.

“Latest natin diyan ay hindi na muna nating papayagan sa ngayon (Our latest for that is we will not allow it for now),” Duque said in an interview over TeleRadyo on Friday, July 23.

The decision came after the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed the previous day the detection of local transmission of the highly contagious coronavirus variant in the country.

“Dahil nagkaroon na tayo ng Delta variant, nagkaisa ang IATF na i-aatras muna itong resolution na ito (Since we already have the Delta variant, the IATF has agreed to withdraw for now this resolution),” said Duque.

The Health chief was referring to the IATF Resolution No. 125, which allows children aged five and up outdoors in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ.

He said the IATF will make an assessment in the coming weeks from to determine whether it can reinstate the enforcement of its resolution.

“Kung makita naman na hindi naman patuloy na tumataas lalo dito sa NCR (National Capital Region), baka pwedeng ibalik natin yung Resolution 125 (If we see that cases will not continue to rise especially in NCR, maybe we can reimpose the Resolution 125),” Duque said.

Philippines Tourism News Source: Manila Bulletin

Siargao is among Time magazine’s greatest places of 2021 list

 

Siargao Island made it into Time magazine’s list of “greatest places” in 2021, which recognizes destinations that were able to adapt and innovate despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic.

Siargao earned its spot on Time magazine’s list of “The World’s 100 Greatest Places of 2021” not only because of its waves that attract surfers even outside the country but also because of its ongoing development to strengthen tourism infrastructure.

“While destinations such as Boracay, Cebu, and Palawan nailed the mass market, the teardrop-­shaped island off the coast of Mindanao until recently had been best known to a dedicated band of surfers lured by consistent wave,” Time magazine writer Duncan Forgan wrote.

“But the secret is out, and new spots are popping up on the island, including the beachfront Inara Siargao Resort, an intimate five-suite property that can be booked on Instagram. Just before Covid-19 shutdowns, Siargao got additional cell towers to improve data connectivity, which will be a boon to tourism when it reopens to vaccinated international travelers,” he added.

According to the publication, the list is a tribute to individuals and businesses who were able to “adapt, build, and innovate” amid the challenges of the pandemic. It also highlights “ingenuity, creativity, revitalization and reopenings in destinations across the world.”

The list was compiled through nominations from the magazine’s international network of correspondents and contributors, focusing on those that provide unique and interesting experiences.

DOT said Siargao is now open to domestic tourists coming from areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ.

Philippines Tourism News Source: Philippine News Agency

PH updates list of ‘green’ countries which qualify vaccinated travelers to shorter quarantine

naia tourists philippines tourism news

July 17, 2021

The Philippines has released an updated list of ‘green’ countries which qualify vaccinated travelers to shorter quarantine. 

Under the IATF’s guidelines, fully vaccinated travelers coming from these countries entering the country will undergo a 7-day facility-based quarantine, instead of 10 days.

“Green” countries are those that are considered low-risk based on their COVID-19 diseases incidence rate.

Here is the updated list of “green” countries by the task force:

Albania

American Samoa

Anguilla

Antigua and Barbuda

Australia

Azerbaijan

Barbados

Benin

Bermuda

The British Virgin Islands

Brunei

Burkina Faso

Cayman Islands

Chad

China

Comoros

Cote d’ Ivoire (Ivory Coast)

Curacao

Dominica

Eswatini

Falkland Islands

French Polynesia

Gabon

Gambia

Ghana

Greenland

Grenada

Hong Kong

Iceland

Isle of Man

Israel

Laos

Liechtenstein

Mali

Malta

Marshall Islands

Mauritius

Federated States of Micronesia

Montserrat

New Caledonia

New Zealand

Niger

Nigeria

North Macedonia

Northern Mariana Islands

Palau

Romania

Saba (Special Municipality of the Kingdom of Netherlands)

Saint Barthelemy

Saint Pierre and Miquelon

Singapore

Sint Eustatius

South Korea

Taiwan

Togo

Turks and Caicos Islands 

(UK)

Vietnam

     

 

Travelers qualified for the shortened quarantine period should have stayed the past 14 days exclusively in the aforementioned countries prior to arrival in the country.

Inbound passengers are considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 two or more weeks after receiving a single-dose jab or the second shot of a two-dose vaccine.

Philippine Travel News Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Transiting passengers from 8 countries not included in travel ban, BI clarifies

airplane taking off at naia
July 16, 2021
 
Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Jaime Morente reminded the traveling public that the ongoing travel restrictions on passengers coming from eight countries in connection with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic have been extended up to July 31.
 
Morente said the extended travel ban applies to passengers arriving from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Oman, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Indonesia.
 

Those coming from these countries, as well as those with a travel history from said countries, within the last 14 days from the date of arrival will not be allowed to enter the Philippines.

However, transiting passengers are not included in the travel ban.

Those considered as transiting passengers were individuals who were there only for a layover and were not admitted by immigration authorities in the banned country.

An excluded passenger, once denied entry by the BI, becomes the responsibility of the carrying airline, which shall ensure that the passenger is boarded immediately on his or her outbound flight.

Philippine Travel News Source: Manila Bulletin
 

4 areas placed under strictest quarantine status

isla de gigantes iloilo philippines tourism news

July 17, 2021

Iloilo province, Iloilo City, Cagayan de Oro and Gingoog City have been placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the most restrictive classification, until the end of the month, Malacañang announced on Friday.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases moved these areas to ECQ until July 31 on the recommendation of the Department of Health, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said.

The four areas were formerly under modified enhanced community quarantine.

Philippine Travel News Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

BI Bans Travelers from Indonesia Until July 31

naia tourists philippines tourism news

July 15, 2021

Starting 12:01 am on July 16, the Bureau of Immigration will be implementing a temporary travel ban to passengers coming from Indonesia until July 31.
 
“We have received an order from Malacanang announcing the imposition of travel restrictions for all travelers coming from Indonesia, including those with a travel history to Indonesia within the last 14 days before arriving in the Philippines,” said Morente.
 
According to Morente, passengers already in transit from Indonesia who arrive before the implementation of the travel ban may be allowed to enter but will be subjected to a full 14-day facility-based quarantine by the appropriate government agency.
 
The recent travel ban follows the surge of Covid-19 cases in Indonesia, reportedly caused by the highly contagious delta variant.
 
Other countries included in the travel ban list are India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, United Arab Emirates, and Oman.
 

The Department of Health (DOH) said it is eyeing to recommend including Malaysia and Thailand in the travel ban list amid the threat of the Delta variant of the virus that causes coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Source: Manila Bulletin; Bureau of Immigration

Metro Manila is back to normal GCQ until the end of July

makati philippines tourism news
July 15, 2021
 

President Duterte has approved placing the National Capital Region (NCR) back to the normal general community quarantine (GCQ) until the end of the month, along with 29 other areas in the country as their existing coronavirus (COVID-19) quarantine classification expired on July 15.

Aside from Metro Manila, the following areas are also under the normal GCQ from July 16 to 31, 2021:

Baguio City

Apayao

City of Santiago, Isabela

Isabela

Nueva Vizcaya

Quirino

Bulacan

Cavite

Rizal

Quezon

Batangas

Puerto Princesa City

Guimaras

Negros Occidental

Zamboanga Sibugay

City of Zamboanga

Zamboanga del Norte

Davao Oriental

General Santos City

Sultan Kudarat

Sarangani

Cotabato

South Cotabato

Agusan del Norte

Surigao del Norte

Agusan del Sur

Dinagat Islands

Surigao del Sur

Cotabato City

     

 

The following areas will be under GCQ with heightened restrictions for the rest of the month:

Cagayan

Laguna

Lucena City

Naga City

Negros Oriental

Zamboanga del Sur

Davao City

 

 

Except for:

  1. Aklan (until July 22)
  2. Bacolod City (until July 22)
  3. Antique (until July 22)
  4. Capiz (until July 22)

The province of Laguna was the only area from the NCR plus bubble area that remained in GCQ with heightened restrictions.

Nine areas will be under the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from July 16 until the end of the month, except two:

Bataan

Iloilo City (until July 22)

Iloilo (until July 22)

Cagayan de Oro City

Davao Occidental

Davao de Oro

Davao del Sur

Davao del Norte

Butuan City

     

 

According to Roque, the quarantine classification of the province of Iloilo and Iloilo City were still hanging in the balance.

“Kung hindi po mag-improve ang ating mga numero, ay posible po na mabago muli ang classification ng Iloilo City at Iloilo (If the numbers won’t change, the quarantine classification of Iloilo City and Iloilo might still change),” he said.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Metro Manila mayors OK more kid zones

bgc high street taguig philippines tourism news

Metro Manila mayors have passed a resolution urging local governments in the region to issue orders that will affirm the government’s latest policy allowing children aged 5 and older to go outdoors in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

The resolution, unanimously approved by all local chief executives of Metro Manila on Wednesday, applies to areas considered as “child-friendly” or are not under heightened restrictions.

Under Resolution No. 21-11 Series of 2021, local mayors should make a list of allowable outdoor areas or parks, with the latter defined as alfresco areas with proper ventilation; impose a 50-percent limit in the venue capacity in order to avoid overcrowding; deploy marshals to privately owned outdoor areas or parks to ensure compliance with the minimum public health standards and protocols; and to ensure that minors are accompanied by adults in these areas.

Local governments may impose other reasonable conditions “to ensure the promotion and protection of the welfare of the minors.”

“With reference to the children below 18 years of age, it should be clear whether they should be accompanied by adults. There should be marshals to monitor certain limits,” said Metro Manila Development Authority chief Benhur Abalos, also the concurrent chair of the Metro Manila Council.

Speaking at the televised Laging Handa public briefing on Thursday, Abalos said the Metro Manila Council unanimously agreed that “the ground and open-areas outside the mall proper could be considered as parks, one of the child safety zones” that the government’s pandemic task force said children aged 5 to 18 would be allowed to go to as long as they are accompanied by an adult.

“Since Metro Manila does not have a lot parks, like Luneta (Manila’s Rizal Park), we deemed it better to define a park as anything that has no roof, alfresco, where the air flow is continuous, even if there are walls, and outside the mall, like the ones we see at Trinoma [in Quezon City] and Bonifacio Global City [in Taguig City],“ Abalos said.

Crowd-control

He said open areas, whether publicly or privately owned, must adhere to the 50-percent minimum capacity regulation.

Marshals should also be designated to control crowds and implement health protocols such as the wearing of masks and social distancing.

Adults accompanying the minors should also be present at all times so that the children would not stray, he said.

Another guest in the program, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte, said allowing children to go out to exercise and play would also be beneficial to their mental health, adding that she had received from the city police reports of suicide among minors who reportedly suffered depression due months of home confinement.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

BI Allows Aliens Stranded in PH to Renew Their Expired Visas

naia tourists philippines tourism news

July 9, 2021

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has allowed foreign nationals whose visas here have expired during the pandemic to renew their visas until November 30 this year.
 
In an order issued last Wednesday, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said that for humanitarian reasons, the BI is allowing aliens, whose converted visas expired from March 16, 2020 up to July 4 this year, to file their applications for visa renewal or amendment up to the end of November.
 
Morente said the deadline is non-extendible, and warned that aliens who fail to file their applications before November 30 could be subjected to deportation proceedings for illegally staying in the country.
 
In the same order, foreigners with expiring visas were also given a non-extendible grace period of six months from the expiry of their visas to file their applications for visa renewal or extension.
 
“The order applies to renewal or amendment of already converted visas, meaning those who have working, student, or resident visas here,” said Morente. “Said grace period does not apply for tourists in the country,” he added.
 
The BI Chief, nonetheless, stressed that the privilege can only be availed by aliens who have never left the country since the pandemic.
 
“Those whose visas have expired while they are abroad should refile their visa applications if they wish to reacquire said visas,” Morente said.
 

Source: Bureau of Immigration

Experts want NCR Plus under GCQ until Dec. 31

manila philippines tourism news

July 12, 2021

Metro Manila and other high-risk provinces should remain under general community quarantine (GCQ) until December when the government expects to have inoculated 40 percent of the population.

Dr. Rontgene Solante, a member of the government’s Vaccine Expert Panel, made the appeal as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the government lowered the COVID immunization targets.

Solante said full protection for only 40 percent of the population was “still way below” herd immunity, but it was a better and more realistic goal to achieve population protection.

Expand travel ban

Leachon also called for an expanded travel ban to include Indonesia and other countries with high cases of the Delta variant.

Solante said the business community should increase employee vaccination, especially as more private sector-procured AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines are due to arrive.

“They can increase capacity of restaurants to more than 50 percent if and only when almost all the employees [are] vaccinated,” Solante said.

The Department of Tourism welcomed the government’s decision to allow children older than 5 years old, as well as fully vaccinated senior citizens, to visit outdoor areas.

“While the opening of outdoor areas to children and fully vaccinated seniors is a step to encourage local travel, this must not be taken as blanket authority for complacency and misrepresentations,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat said in a statement.

Under Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Diseases Resolution No. 125, these outdoor areas will be limited to parks, playgrounds, beaches, biking and hiking trails, outdoor tourist sites and attractions, outdoor non-contact sports courts and venues, and al fresco dining.

Puyat cited Intramuros in Manila, which has already opened its outdoor destinations— Fort Santiago, Baluarte San Diego, and Casa Manila Museum, where there is free air movement.

These destinations are open every day of the week and their capacity limits at one time are 200 for Fort Santiago, 50 for Baluarte San Diego, and 20 for Casa Manila Museum, she said.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Boracay Retains RT-PCR for Vaccinated Tourists

July 8, 2021

Boracay is retaining its reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) requirement for tourists even those fully inoculated amid concerns about easy-to-tamper vaccination cards.

“We’ve decided to just retain in the meantime that all tourists, all arrivals in the island of Boracay should still present their RT-PCR test until such time that we can have a system of validating these vaccination cards,” Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores told reporters in a press conference.

Miraflores said there is a high risk of getting fake vaccination cards because even RT-PCR test results have been tampered with before.

The Boracay announcement came following a July 2 Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) resolution allowing fully vaccinated people to forego their RT-PCR test results in interzonal travel.

An hour after Miraflores declared a status quo on entry protocols, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the Department of Health (DOH) has decided to require again the negative test result while they iron out the guidelines amid concerns from different local government units.

Duque in a radio interview admitted that there were “operational challenges or difficulties” on the implementation and that the national government would meet with leaders of the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) and League of Provinces of the Philippines to discuss the issues.

National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 Deputy Chief Implementer and testing czar Vince Dizon, on the other hand, reminded the public that tampering or faking a vaccination card, a public document, is a crime.

Source: Philippine News Agency

Boracay Island Gets World-Recognized ‘Safe Travel’ Stamp

July 8, 2021

Boracay Island just became one of the two Philippine destinations to receive the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Safe Travels Stamp next to Baguio City. The Safe Travels Stamp indicates that Boracay has adopted globally recognized health protocols.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) also awarded the stamp to 11 hotels namely, Le Soleil de Boracay, Discovery Shores Boracay, Shangri-la’s Boracay Resort, Hue Boracay, Wald’s Place, Amable Suites, Lime Hotel, The Lind Boracay, Movenpick Resort & Spa Boracay, Villa Caemilla Beach Boutique Hotel, and Belmont Hotel Boracay.

The WTTC Safe Travels Stamp is the world’s first safety and hygiene stamp for travelers to recognize governments and businesses that have adopted global health standardized protocols.

Source: Philippine News Agency

Baguio City Waives Swab Test for Fully Vaccinated Tourists

July 5, 2021

Good news! Fully vaccinated travelers are now allowed to visit Baguio City even without a negative swab test result, provided that they present a valid vaccination card or certificate as proof that they have already completed their jabs against the COVID-19.

Before this, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases released new guidelines allowing fully vaccinated individuals to only present their vaccination cards if they want to travel within the Philippines.

In line with the IATF Resolution No. 124-B, the Baguio City LGU said individuals will be considered fully vaccinated two weeks after the completion of all vaccination doses required. Most anti-COVID vaccine brands require two doses.

The vaccination card or certificate must also show the vaccinating establishment, the city tourism office added.

Meanwhile, leisure travelers are still required to register online through visita.baguio.gov.ph and obtain the QR-coded tourist pass to allow entry.

For tourists who are yet to complete their doses, a negative RT-PCR or antigen test result will still be required.

There will also be a mandatory triage upon arrival for health and documents verification.

Baguio City remains under general community quarantine or GCQ until July 15.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Fully vaccinated persons’ interzonal travel OK’d

July 4, 2021

The government’s pandemic task force has approved the interzonal travel of fully vaccinated individuals, including senior citizens, subject to anti-coronavirus disease (COVID-19) guidelines.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said the IATF for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases allowed such travel subject to the presentation of any of the following:

  • COVID-19 vaccination card issued by legitimate vaccinating establishments
  • Certificate of quarantine completion showing the holder’s vaccination status as may be issued by the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ)

The presentation of any of the two proof of vaccination shall be sufficient alternatives to any testing requirement that may be required by the local government unit (LGUs) of the traveler’s destination.

Travelers are still required to undergo health and exposure screening upon their arrival.

Meanwhile, the intrazonal movement of fully vaccinated senior citizens within areas under GCQ and MGCQ shall continue to be allowed.

An individual is considered to be fully vaccinated at least two weeks after receiving the second dose of a two-dose vaccine, or at least two weeks after receiving a single-dose vaccine.

In addition, a fully vaccinated individual must be administered with vaccines that are included in the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) List or Compassionate Special Permit (CSP) issued by the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or Emergency Use Listing (EUL) of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Source: Manila Bulletin

Vogue Paris lists Siargao among top islands ‘to go on holiday’

July 2, 2021

Siargao has landed on Vogue France’s list of 10 “most charming islands to make the most of the summer season.”

Vogue Paris lifestyle editor Jade Simon, in a piece dated June 19, described Siargao as a destination that “offers soaring one-on-one with wild nature, populated more guest houses with their feet in the sand rather than five-star palaces.”

“Jacking Horse or Pacifico beaches are ideal for groping the waves. And for the less sporty, ‎‎the natural pools‎‎ allow you to splash in turquoise water,” she said.

Siargao joined the ranks of some of the world’s best islands identified by Vogue as summer getaways that offer tourists tranquility and paradisiacal beaches, including the Ponza island in Italy; Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands; Vis in Croatia; Sao Tome and Principe on the west African Coast; Isla Holbox in Mexico; Manshausen Island in Norway; Fourni island in Greece; Canggu in Bali, Indonesia; and Spain’s volcanic island Lanzarote.

At present, only local tourists, including those from the National Capital Region are allowed to visit Siargao Island.

With more tourism workers completing their vaccination against Covid-19, Romulo-Puyat is hoping inbound travel restrictions for foreign travelers—particularly those who are fully vaccinated—will soon be eased. 

Source: Philippine News Agency

NCR Plus to Stay Under GCQ, 20 Areas Under MECQ in July

June 30, 2021

Malacañang has announced the final community quarantine classifications for the month of July, placing 20 areas under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) and 30 others under the general community quarantine (GCQ).

In a statement, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said the following areas are under MECQ from July 1 to 15, 2021:

  1. Cagayan
  2. Bataan
  3. Lucena City
  4. Puerto Princesa
  5. Naga City
  6. Iloilo City
  7. Iloilo
  8. Negros Oriental
  9. Zamboanga del Sur
  10. Zamboanga del Norte
  11. Cagayan de Oro City
  12. Davao City
  13. Davao Oriental
  14. Davao Occidental
  15. Davao de Oro
  16. Davao del Sur
  17. Davao del Norte
  18. Butuan City
  19. Dinagat Islands
  20. Surigao del Sur
 

Meanwhile, Metro Manila, Bulacan, and Rizal are under GCQ with some restrictions; while Cavite and Laguna are under GCQ with heightened restrictions from July 1 to 15, 2021.

The province of Apayao in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) will be under GCQ from July 1 to 15, 2021, after the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases approved its appeal to be de-escalated from MECQ.

The following areas will be under GCQ for the entire month of July:

  1. Baguio City
  2. City of Santiago, Isabela
  3. Nueva Vizcaya
  4. Quirino
  5. Batangas
  6. Quezon
  7. Guimaras
  8. Aklan
  9. Bacolod City
  10. Negros Occidental
  11. Antique
  12. Capiz
  13. Zamboanga Sibugay
  14. City of Zamboanga
  15. Iligan City
  16. General Santos City
  17. Sultan Kudarat
  18. Sarangani
  19. Cotabato
  20. South Cotabato
  21. Agusan del Norte
  22. Surigao del Norte
  23. Agusan del Sur
  24. Cotabato City

Meanwhile, the rest of the Philippines will be under the least strict modified GCQ (MGCQ) until July 31, 2021, this includes the province of Ifugao after the IATF approved its appeal to be de-escalated from its original GCQ classification.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Gov’t allows 7-day quarantine for fully vaccinated persons from ‘green’ countries

Individuals who were fully vaccinated abroad entering the Philippines from “green” or low-risk countries are now allowed to undergo a seven-day quarantine period starting July 1, Malacañang said.

The 57 countries and jurisdictions are as follows:

  1. Albania
  2. American Samoa
  3. Anguilla
  4. Antigua and Barbuda
  5. Australia
  6. Benin
  7. Belize
  8. The British Virgin Islands
  9. Brunei
  10. Burkina Faso
  11. Burundi
  12. Cayman Islands
  13. Chad
  14. China
  15. Cote d’ Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
  16. Eswatini
  17. Falkland Islands
  18. French Polynesia
  19. Gambia
  20. Ghana
  21. Greenland
  22. Grenada
  23. Hong Kong
  24. Iceland
  25. Isle of Man
  26. Israel
  27. Laos
  28. Liberia
  29. Malawi
  30. Malta
  31. Marshall Islands
  32. Mauritius
  33. Micronesia
  34. Montserrat
  35. Morocco
  36. Mozambique
  37. New Caledonia
  38. New Zealand
  39. Niger
  40. Nigeria
  41. Northern Mariana Islands
  42. Palau
  43. Rwanda
  44. Saba
  45. Saint Barthelemy
  46. Saint Kitts and Nevis
  47. Saint Pierre and Miquelon
  48. Sierra Leone
  49. Senegal
  50. Singapore
  51. Sint Eustatius
  52. South Korea
  53. Taiwan
  54. Togo
  55. Turks and Caicos Islands (UK)
  56. Vietnam
  57. Zimbabwe

The shortened quarantine period only previously covered persons who were fully vaccinated in the Philippines.

To those who received full vaccination outside the Philippines, you need to bring the official documents stating you were already vaccinated.

These travelers should have stayed the past 14 days exclusively in “green” countries or those that are low-risk based on their COVID-19 disease incidence rate.

They are considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 two or more weeks after receiving a single-dose shot or the second shot of a two-dose vaccine.

Vaccines administered to the individual must have either an emergency use authorization or a compassionate special permit from the Philippines Food and Drug Administration or is included in the World Health Organization’s emergency use listing.

Roque said travelers’ documents must be validated by a Philippine Overseas Labor Officer. They may also opt to present an International Certificate of Vaccination.

Arriving individuals qualified for the seven-day facility-based quarantine must undergo an RT-PCR or swab test on the fifth day upon arrival.

If the RT-PCR test yields a negative result, the individual must still complete the seven-day quarantine before they are allowed to go home.

Previously, persons fully vaccinated abroad must undergo a 10-day facility-based quarantine where they take an RT-PCR test on the seventh day upon arrival.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Travel ban on passengers from seven countries extended again–BI

June 30, 2021

The government has extended anew the travel ban on passengers coming from seven Asian and Middle Eastern countries up to July 15 as a precautionary measure against the deadly and highly infectious Delta variant of the COVID-19.

Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Jaime Morente said the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases stretched the travel restriction after seeing how the disease variant caused havoc in India, where it originated. It has since spread to six neighboring states.

These countries are Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

“Foreigners coming from these countries will be denied entry and sent back to their port of origin,” Morente said.

He said, however, that Filipinos arriving from these countries will be allowed entry as part of the repatriation efforts of the government and the private sector.

Current IATF guidelines allow the entry of Filipinos and “balikbayans” with valid visas, except those coming from the seven restricted countries. The guidelines also allowed passengers who have been fully vaccinated to undergo seven-day quarantine.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Discounted Swab Test for Tourists Extended at PCMC Until December

Cover photo by Mat Napo on Unsplash  

June 23, 2021

The discounted RT-PCR test for qualified tourists at the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) has been extended until December, the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) announced.

This extension cuts into half the PHP1,500 regular cost of RT-PCR test at PCMC and is seen to benefit some 13,333 qualified domestic tourists whose destinations require a negative RT-PCR result.

The Department of Tourism and TPB first signed an agreement with PCMC in December 2020 to subsidize 50 percent of the hospital’s RT-PCR testing cost wherein more than 15,000 domestic tourists were successfully swabbed from January to June this year.

To avail of PCMC’s PHP750 test, travelers must first register online for pre-schedule via http://www.tpb.gov.ph/rtpcrphtravel/ and submit a valid government-issued identification card, proof of hotel booking in a DOT-accredited accommodation establishment, and proof of mode of travel such as airline or bus ticket.

PCMC will accept RT-PCR test applications on a first-come, first-served basis, the TPB said. 

Source: Philippine News Agency

BI to allow the departure of US citizens with certain expired passports

June 24, 2021

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) announced that American citizens who are currently in the country, and whose US passports have expired on or after January 1, 2020 can now use said passports to depart the Philippines.
 
A memorandum order issued by Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente directed all BI personnel assigned in the different ports to allow the departure of passengers whose US passports are expired from January 1 last year and are expiring up to December 31 of this year.
 
In a statement, Morente said he issued the memorandum in response to a letter the BI received from the US embassy in Manila which informed the Bureau about the plight of US citizens who were stranded in the Philippines due to the pandemic and who are unable to leave because their passports have expired.
 
In the said letter, the Embassy said the US State Department recently issued guidance that would allow Americans to return to the USA using an expired passport, in limited circumstances, through the end of the year.
 
It is also stated in the letter that the State Department worked closely with the Department of Homeland Security and different commercial airlines, to implement the measure to assist Americans whose passports expired during the pandemic in countries where passport renewal options at the nearest US Embassy or Consulate are limited.
 
“Because of the request from the US Embassy, in principle, passports that expired from January 1, 2020, up to the end of 2021 are considered valid and extended, hence they may be allowed to depart,” said Morente. “But this rule applies only to departing passengers. Those who are planning to remain here or convert their visas still need to present a valid passport,” he added.
 
The letter, nonetheless, said that passport services at the US Embassy are available and that it encourages US citizens here to renew their passports prior to leaving whenever feasible.
 

Source: Bureau of Immigration

Use of StaySafe app now mandatory in PUVs, says LTFRB

June 23, 2021

Passengers are now required to use the StaySafe.ph mobile application for contact tracing purposes inside all public utility vehicles (PUVs), the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said.

Based on LTFRB’s Memorandum Circular (MC) 2021-041 dated June 21, all PUV operators have been mandated to “immediately shift from the previous manual filling-up of contact tracing forms to the use of StaySafe.ph app”.

According to the LTFRB, the directive was in line with the order released in December last year by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Under IATF Resolution No. 87, public transportation units are required to secure a Safety Seal, which shall include the adoption of the StaySafe application–the government’s primary contact tracing tool to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

As per the MC, PUV operators were given 30 days to comply with the directive.

“Failure to comply shall be considered as a violation of IATF health protocols, and the corresponding penalties shall be imposed,” the circular stated.

The LTFRB likewise reminded drivers, operators, and passengers to strictly enforce and follow the minimum health standards, as well as the seven commandments for public transportation while inside the vehicle to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Leisure Travel from NCR Plus to Boracay, MGCQ Areas Extended

June 16, 2021

Tourists of all ages are free to travel from NCR Plus (Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal) to Boracay and other tourist destinations under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) until June 30 subject to certain restrictions.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) had allowed the movement of persons traveling in and out of NCR Plus was extended up to June 30.

President Rodrigo Duterte announced earlier this week that NCR Plus would remain under general community quarantine (GCQ) with varying degrees of restrictions.

Resolution 121 of the IATF allows interzonal travel between areas under GCQ and MGCQ for leisure purposes. However, tourists coming from Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal may only undertake point-to-point travel to GCQ and MGCQ areas.

Such travel shall be allowed for all ages, subject to RT-PCR testing before travel for those below 18 and above 65 and other restrictions imposed by the DOT and the local government unit of the destination.

Accredited staycation hotels in all GCQ areas were allowed to accommodate leisure guests of up to 100 percent of their capacity. Other DOT-accredited establishments in GCQ areas may operate at 30 percent capacity only for guests coming from the same household and subject to the strict monitoring of the local government unit.

Until June 30, outdoor tourist attractions in GCQ areas, including NCR and Bulacan, may operate at 50 percent capacity, while those in Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal may operate at 30 percent capacity with strict adherence to minimum public health and safety guidelines.

Indoor tourist attractions such as museums and historical sites will be allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity in GCQ areas, at 30 percent in the NCR and Bulacan. They are not allowed in Laguna, Cavite, and Rizal.

Essential meetings and events which include Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE) activities, and social events such as weddings, birthday celebrations, are allowed in GCQ areas at up to 50 percent of the capacity, except for NCR and Bulacan where essential meetings are only allowed at up to 30 percent of the capacity and social events are allowed at up to 10 percent.

Establishments in NCR and Bulacan granted with the government’s Safety Seal may have an additional 10 percent capacity in their operations. All these events remain prohibited in Laguna, Cavite, and Rizal.

Source: Department of Tourism

Filipinos repatriated from banned countries can enter

June 20, 2021

Malacañang clarified that Filipinos covered by repatriation efforts in countries included in the travel ban imposed due to the Delta variant of the COVID-19 are allowed to return to the Philippines subject to quarantine and testing protocols.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after the Philippines extended the restrictions imposed on passengers coming from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, United Arab Emirates, and Oman until June 30, 2021.

In his statement, Roque clarified that the ban does not cover Filipino travelers, especially those covered by repatriation programs.

“They can enter the country, subject to testing and quarantine protocols. We hope this clarifies the matter,” Roque said.

The Philippines imposed to travel ban on travelers from the said countries to ensure continuous strict border control to prevent the Delta variant from reaching local communities and having community transmission.

This was the second time the government extended the travel restrictions on these seven countries due to the Delta variant.

The government first imposed travel restrictions on India from April 29 to May 14. Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka were later added to the list from May 7 to May 14. The restrictions were later extended until the end of the month.

Meanwhile, the government halted the entry of travelers coming from Oman and the United Arab Emirates from May 15 to May 31. An exception has been given if passengers are part of the government’s repatriation efforts.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Fully vaccinated airport passengers still need to present quarantine booking–BI

June 20, 2021

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has clarified that passengers arriving from abroad who have been fully vaccinated in the Philippines are still required to present a seven-day booking in a government-accredited quarantine facility upon their return.

BI Commissioner Jaime Morente stressed that said fully vaccinated passengers are not exempted from quarantine protocols.

Morente reminded the departing fully vaccinated passengers to bring their vaccination cards as these will be presented to officials of the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) at the airport upon their return.

He also advised the passengers to secure a certification that they have been fully vaccinated before their departure from the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) or city/municipal health officer of their local government unit (LGU).

According to the IATF, a passenger is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after he or she has received the second dose (or first dose for single-dose type) of a vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) that had been issued an authorization by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Morente added that those who have yet to be vaccinated, or those vaccinated abroad, will still be required to present a 10-day quarantine booking.

Source: Manila Bulletin

7-day quarantine for returning Filipinos fully vaccinated in PH effective June 22

June 18, 2021

The implementation of a seven-day quarantine period for Filipinos returning from abroad who were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in the Philippines will be in effect starting June 22, Malacañang said.

It was on June 4 when the Philippines shortened from 10 days to seven days the quarantine period of returning Filipinos who were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in the country.

Under the guidelines, these fully vaccinated Filipinos will only undergo an RT-PCR or swab test when they manifest COVID-19 symptoms during the seven-day quarantine period.

After completing the facility-based quarantine, they will be issued a quarantine certificate indicating their vaccination status.

The policy only covers Filipinos vaccinated in the country and does not apply to foreign nationals or overseas Filipino workers inoculated abroad.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Travel Ban on India and 6 Other Countries Extended Until June 30–BI

June 15, 2021

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) announced that they will be implementing an order from Malacanang extending the arrival ban on 7 countries until June 30.
 
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente announced that pursuant to an order from the Palace, the ban on arriving passengers from:
  1. India
  2. Pakistan
  3. Bangladesh
  4. Sri Lanka
  5. Nepal
  6. United Arab Emirates
  7. Oman
 
“Those with a travel history from these countries within the last 14 days before arrival are also temporarily banned from entering,” he added.
 
He clarified that transiting passengers or those who did not exit the airport or were cleared by immigration in said countries are not covered by the said ban.
 
Apart from the travel ban on 7 countries, the country has imposed a restriction on arriving tourists. “Arriving foreign tourists are not yet allowed unless authorized by the Department of Foreign Affairs through the country’s foreign posts abroad,” said Capulong.
 

Source: Bureau of Immigration

Metro Manila Placed Under GCQ ‘with some restrictions’ Until June 30

June 14, 2021

Metro Manila and Bulacan have been placed under general community quarantine (GCQ) “with some restrictions” until June 20, while the rest of the so-called “NCR Plus” will be under GCQ “with heightened restrictions.”

This is the first time that “NCR Plus” areas are placed under different quarantine classifications since the term was introduced three months ago, in March 22.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the only difference in the GCQ with “some restrictions” classification in Metro Manila and Bulacan is that gyms and indoor dining are allowed to operate at up to 30% of the seating capacity. He said it may be increased to 40% once they obtain a safety seal from the Trade Department.

Below are the June 16 to 30 quarantine classifications for “NCR Plus” areas:

GCQ ‘with some restrictions’
  • Metro Manila
  • Bulacan
GCQ ‘with heightened restrictions’
  • Rizal
  • Laguna
  • Cavite

Source: Rappler

Fully-vaccinated seniors in GCQ, MGCQ Areas Now Allowed to Go Out

June 11, 2021

Fully vaccinated senior citizens in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ (MGCQ) are now allowed to go outside their residence Malacañang announced.

However, they could travel only within their zones or region and to areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), according to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

They also have to present their COVID-19 vaccination cards and observe the minimum public health standards, such as the wearing of face shields and masks, the IATF said in its Resolution No. 120 dated June 10.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Gyms with Safety Seal, museums allowed to open in NCR Plus

June 11, 2021

Gyms, fitness studios, and other indoor non-contact sports venues are now allowed to operate in Metro Manila and adjacent provinces if they secure Safety Seal certification from the government.

Meanwhile, museums and historical sites have also been allowed to open in NCR Plus, at 20% venue capacity. Guided tours, however, are still prohibited.

Source: Rappler

Foreigners with Retiree Visas Now Allowed in PH

June 4, 2021

Foreigners with Special Resident Retiree’s Visas (SRRV) are now allowed to enter the country, according to the Bureau of Immigration.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases allowed those holding SRRVs issued by the Philippine Retirement Authority to enter the country without an entry exemption document. But all arriving passengers are still required to undergo a 10-day quarantine at a hotel or facility, except those fully vaccinated in the Philippines, who would only be quarantined for seven days. Those coming from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates, are still not allowed to enter until June 15.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said these foreign retirees no longer have to secure a government document seeking exemption to the travel restrictions based on a decision of the state’s pandemic task force.

 

Prior to the latest resolution of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), foreigners with special resident retiree’s visa may enter the country provided they present an entry exemption document issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs upon arrival.

“The IATF allowed foreign nationals holding Special Resident Retiree’s Visa to enter the Philippines without the need of an entry exemption document,” Roque said in a statement Friday, June 4.

The government earlier suspended the entry of most foreign nationals, except those with valid and existing visas at time of entry, in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the country. Foreign tourists are still not allowed entry to the country.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer/Bureau of Immigration

PH exempts repatriation efforts from travel restrictions on India, 6 other countries

June 4, 2021

The government’s COVID-19 task force has exempted repatriation efforts of Filipinos from the travel restrictions the Philippines imposed on India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates.

The travel curbs on the said countries were imposed to prevent the entry of B.1.617 or the COVID-19 variant first detected in India.

This is in effect until June 15, 2021.

In a statement, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said all repatriates from these countries with travel restrictions must be placed on a “strict 14-day facility-based quarantine from the date of arrival in the Philippines, with the date of arrival being the first day.”

In case of non-government repatriation efforts, Roque said concerned local manning agencies (in the case of seafarers), the Philippine recruitment agency (for land-based workers), or the sponsoring Philippine government agency shall submit an exemption request to the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ).

Once approved, Filipino repatriates from countries with travel restrictions must present a negative RT-PCR test result taken 48 hours prior to boarding the aircraft going to the Philippines.

A copy of the Filipino repatriate’s negative RT-PCR test result will be submitted to the BOQ upon arrival in the Philippines.

In case of repatriation organized by the government, Roque said coordination among the Department of Foreign Affairs, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, Department of Transportation, BOQ, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, and the National Task Force Against COVID-19 must be made “at least 48 hours prior to the departure from the country of origin.”

Further, the COVID-19 task force has also allowed entry of foreign nationals holding Special Resident Retiree’s Visa even without an exemption document.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

IATF Shortens Quarantine for Inbound Travelers Fully Vaccinated in PH

June 4, 2021

All individuals who are fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 who have been inoculated in the Philippines can leave and enter the country with a shorter quarantine period of seven (7) days upon return, Malacañang said.

This is shorter than the 14-day mandatory quarantine required of arriving travelers in general. In the arrival protocols that covered all arriving persons, they must quarantine in a facility for 10 days and do a four-day quarantine in their homes or destinations.

This does not cover foreign nationals, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and Filipinos who have been fully vaccinated abroad. 

Currently, only Filipinos returning abroad and a few types of foreigners are allowed to enter the country.

REQUIREMENTS

  1. Must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, administered in the Philippines
  2. Must present their vaccination card upon arrival which will be verified prior to departure, and must be presented to a Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) representative for re-verification at the Department of Transportation (DoTr) One-Stop Shop upon arrival
  3. RT-PCR test shall only be done when the individual manifests COVID-19 symptoms within the 7-day quarantine
  4. This does not cover foreign nationals, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and Filipinos who have been fully vaccinated abroad

Source: Philippine Star; Rappler

50% Off COVID-19 Test for Tourists Resumes

June 2, 2021

Good news for domestic travelers! The 50% subsidy for COVID-19 tests for qualified domestic tourists has resumed, the Department of Tourism (DOT) announced after the government allowed leisure travel in and out of the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus.

Through this initiative, tourists may get tested at PHP900 and PHP750 from the University of the Philippines – Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) in Manila and the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) in Quezon City, respectively.

To qualify, travelers must have:

  1. Confirmed round-trip transportation tickets
  2. Booking confirmation with a DOT-accredited accommodation establishment

Source: Department of Tourism

Boracay Island ready to welcome back visitors

June 2, 2021

Boracay Island is already accepting tourists from the NCR Plus bubble as residents under areas classified as general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ are now allowed to enter as provided for in Resolution 118A of the National Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging and Infectious Diseases (EID).

Felix Gregorio Delos Santos, head of the Malay Tourism Office, said the same protocol and same requirements will apply for tourists coming from those areas although they are already required to use the S-PaSS (Safe, Swift and Smart Passage) online travel management tool.

“Still we require the negative RT-PCR, booking in DOT-accredited hotel establishments, QR code, valid ID, itinerary, and flight details,” he said in a phone interview.

Tourists have an option to use the saliva testing or nasopharyngeal swab test for the negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) as long as it is taken 72 hours before travel.

Tourists who are 2 years old and below, however, are exempted from the negative RT-PCR requirement.

Meantime, all documents that will be submitted by the tourists are still subject to validation by the provincial government of Aklan.

Source: Philippine News Agency

Leisure travel from NCR plus to MGCQ areas now allowed: DOT

June 1, 2021

Leisure travel from NCR Plus to destinations under modified general community (MGCQ) is now allowed.

Such travel, however, must be point-to-point only, which means that while pit stops or stopovers are allowed for eating and personal necessities, no side trips shall be made to other tourism destinations.

The DOT added that those below 18 and above 65 years old will be subject to an RT-PCR test before travel.

In addition, commercial flights for leisure travel may now resume, an apparent easing of restriction from the previous arrangement when the only chartered flight was allowed.

NCR Plus covers Metro Manila and the surrounding provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal.

Other interzonal travel regulations set by the LGUs concerned, or, in the case of Boracay Island, those imposed by the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force, shall also apply.

From June 1 to 30, the following places are under GCQ: NCR Plus, Abra, Baguio City, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Batangas, Quezon, Iligan City, Davao City, Lanao del Sur and Cotabato City.

On the other hand, under the stricter modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from June 1 to 15 are the following areas: Santiago and Cagayan in Region 2, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Puerto Princesa, Iloilo City, Zamboanga City, Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, Cagayan de Oro City, Butuan City and Agusan del Sur.

The rest of the country shall be put under MGCQ until June 30. 

Source: Philippine News Agency

NCR Plus, Other Areas Under GCQ in June

May 31, 2021

NCR Plus — which is composed of Metro Manila, Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite, and Laguna — will remain under general community quarantine (GCQ) until June 15, President Rodrigo Duterte announced.

In a taped speech, Duterte announced the NCR Plus would be under GCQ “with restrictions” for the entire month of June. But in a separate message to reporters, the presidential spokesperson Harry Roque clarified that the NCR Plus would only be under GCQ from June 1 to 15.

Duterte said the following areas are also under GCQ from June 1 to 30, 2021:

  • Baguio City
  • Kalinga
  • Mountain Province
  • Abra
  • Isabela
  • Nueva Vizcaya
  • Quirino
  • Batangas
  • Quezon
  • Iligan City
  • Davao City
  • Lanao del Sur
  • Cotabato City

Meanwhile, the following areas will be under the stricter modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from June 1 to 15:

  • Santiago City in Isabela
  • Cagayan
  • Apayao
  • Benguet
  • Ifugao
  • Puerto Princesa City in Palawan
  • Iloilo City in Iloilo
  • Zamboanga City in Zamboanga del Sur
  • Zamboanga Sibugay
  • Zamboanga del Sur
  • Zamboanga del Norte
  • Cagayan de Oro City in Misamis Oriental
  • Butuan City in Agusan del Norte
  • Agusan del Sur

The rest of the country will be under the most lenient modified general community quarantine.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

PH extends travel ban on India, 6 other countries until mid-June

May 31, 2021

The Philippines will keep its borders closed to travelers coming from India and six other countries until mid-June to safeguard against the spread of the coronavirus disease.

Among the countries included in the travel ban until June 15 are:

  1. India
  2. Pakistan
  3. Sri Lanka
  4. Bangladesh
  5. Nepal
  6. Oman
  7. United Arab Emirates

The government first imposed an entry ban on travelers from India from April 29 to May 14. Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka were later added to the travel ban list from May 7 to May 14. The travel restrictions were later extended until the end of the month. This was done to prevent the further spread of the deadly coronavirus strain first detected in the South Asian nation. 

An exception has been given if passengers are part of the government’s repatriation efforts.

Source: Manila Bulletin

BI tells aliens to get DFA permit before entering PH

May 30, 2021

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has told foreign nationals to renew their old entry exemption documents (EEDs) so they may be able to enter the Philippines.

BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said the new travel guideline was based on the instructions of the DFA, which had limited the validity of the said documents to only three months.

Previously, the DFA did not prescribe an effectivity period for the EEDs. The BI chief said documents issued by DFA on or before February 9, 2021 “are deemed expired by June 1”.

Holders of tourist and special resident retiree visas are required to get EEDs from the DFA’s posts abroad before flying to the country.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Staycation-Approved Hotels May Fully Operate, Forego Guests’ COVID-19 Test Results

May 28, 2021

Hotels accredited by the Department of Tourism (DOT) to offer staycations are now allowed to fully operate and forego COVID-19 test results as a prerequisite for accommodation, Malacañang said.

In a statement, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque noted that these establishments must have a certificate of authority to operate for a staycation (CAOS) from the DOT.

Establishments must also only accommodate guests who are aged 18 to 65.

In a previous statement, the DOT said there are only 13 hotels that have CAOS and are authorized to offer staycations.

These are the Grand Hyatt Hotel, Okada Manila Hotel, Shangri-la at the Fort, Nobu Hotel, Joy Nostalg Hotel & Suites Manila, EDSA Shangri-la Manila, Solaire Resort, Hyatt Regency and Nuwa Hotel of City of Dreams, The Peninsula Manila, Aruga by Rockwell, Sheraton Manila Hotel, and Hilton Manila.

Meanwhile, accommodation establishments without CAOS located in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) may only accommodate guests for “leisure purposes for up to 30 percent of their venue capacity.”

Source: Philippine News Agency; Philippine Daily Inquirer

International Flights to Cebu Viverted to NAIA—Malacañang

May 28, 2021

From May 29 to June 5, all international flights bound for the Mactan-Cebu International Airport must be diverted to Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila, Malacañang ordered.

The order came after Cebu imposed its own testing protocols on passengers arriving from abroad, mandating the testing of overseas Filipino workers and residents based abroad upon their arrival in the province. The passengers have to stay in a facility while waiting for the results but could proceed to their final destination after testing negative for the virus.

Under IATF rules, passengers arriving from abroad would have to quarantine in a facility for 10 days and undergo a swab test on the seventh day. They have to complete the 10-day facility quarantine regardless of the swab test results, and then undergo another four days of quarantine at their final destination.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

US Department of State: Travel Advisory Philippines

In the April 20, 2021 Philippines Travel Advisory released by the US Department of State, the advisory is Level 4: Do Not Travel.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for the Philippines due to a very high level of COVID-19 in the country. 

According to the travel advisory: 

  • Do not travel to PH due to COVID-19. Additionally, exercise increased caution due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, and kidnapping. 
  • Read the Department of State’s COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel.   

Do Not Travel to:

  • The Sulu Archipelago, including the southern Sulu Sea, due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, and kidnapping.
  • Marawi City in Mindanao due to terrorism and civil unrest.

Reconsider Travel to:

  • Other areas of Mindanao due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, and kidnapping.

Source: U.S. Department of State

Related article: 2021 Travel PH Guide for US Citizens and Other Foreign Nationals

Isabela City, Basilan placed under GCQ

May 28, 2021

Isabela City was placed under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) status from May 28 to June 10 this year following a surge of COVID-19 cases in the city.

Isabela Mayor Djalia Turabin Hataman issued Executive Order 15  on May 27, declaring the GCQ status in the city and prescribing guidelines for its implementation.

According to the report, hospital beds for COVID patients are running low due to the continuous cases reported daily.

The local government has imposed curfew hours from 9pm to 5 a.m. to limit the movement of residents.

Source: Manila Bulletin

DOT Eyes Shorter Quarantine for Vaccinated Pinoys

May 26, 2021

The Department of Tourism (DOT) is eyeing to cut from 10 to seven days the quarantine period of fully vaccinated returning Filipinos.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat said on ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC) that the proposal was already brought up with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases and will be discussed with health experts.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

4 more areas under MECQ until May 31

May 23, 2021

IATF has placed Iloilo City and retained Apayao, Benguet, and Cagayan under the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) until May 31 due to the surge of COVID-19 cases.

Based on Resolution No. 116-C of the IATF for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases escalated Iloilo City from the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) to MECQ starting May 23 until May 31.

Meanwhile, the IATF approved the recommendations of the Screening and Validation Committee to retain Apayao, Benguet, and Cagayan their risk-level classification of MECQ until the end of the month.

Based on the resolution, the quarantine classification of the said provinces and highly urbanized cities are without prejudice to their further reclassification as may be warranted and the declaration of localized Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in critical areas.

On May 9, the IATF placed Apayao, Benguet, and Cagayan under MECQ from May 10 to May 23 due to soaring COVID-19 cases.

The following cities are also under MECQ until the end of the month:

  • The city of Santiago, Isabela
  • Quirino
  • Ifugao
  • Zamboanga City
 

Meanwhile, the following are under the general community quarantine (GCQ) until May 31, 2021:

  • Abra
  • Bulacan
  • Cavite
  • Laguna
  • Rizal
  • National Capital Region

Source: Manila Bulletin

Aliens with Old, Unused EEDs Considered Expired Starting June 1—BI

May 21, 2021

The Bureau of Immigration announced that starting June 1, it will no longer allow the entry of foreign nationals who present entry exemption documents (EEDs) issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) before February 8, 2021.
 
 
“We were informed by the DFA that entry exemption documents now have a validity of 90 days from the date of issuance,” said Morente. “As an effect, we were informed that all issued before February 8 are deemed expired by June 1,” BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said.
 
Thus, aliens who are still holding said EEDs that remain unused must enter the country on or before May 31.
Meanwhile, Atty. Carlos Capulong, BI Port Operations Division Chief, disclosed that entry exemptions issued by the National Task Force Against Covid-19 (NTF) during the travel ban from March 22 to April 30 may still be used until May 31.
 
He said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID), in a resolution passed on earlier this month, ruled that entry exemptions issued by the NTF shall be recognized as valid until May 31.
 
Capulong reiterated that in compliance with the IATF-MEID resolution, all 9(a) visa holders, as well Special Resident Retirees Visa (SRRV) holders, are required to secure entry exemptions from the DFA to be allowed entry into the Philippines.
 

Source: Bureau of Immigration

Must-read: 2021 Travel PH Guide for US Citizens and Other Foreign Nationals

DOT proposes ‘green lane’ for fully vaccinated travelers

May 21, 2021

The Department of Tourism (DOT) has proposed to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) the possibility of setting up a Green Lane that will facilitate the entry of foreign visitors who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, as part of the national government’s effort to reopen the economy.

The Green Lane will make it easier for fully vaccinated travelers to visit the country for leisure as quarantine rules are being relaxed with the progress of the vaccination worldwide.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat said that she is optimistic about the prospect, “The Green Lane will pave the way for the reopening of our tourist destinations to leisure travelers who are now fully vaccinated. It will give the jobs back to many of our tourism workers and gradually revive the tourism industry under safe conditions.”

The IATF-EID has tasked the DOT and several other agencies of the government to explore protocols for inbound international travel for fully vaccinated individuals.

Headed by the DOT and the Department of Foreign Affairs, a Small Working Group (SWG) has been formed to evaluate the possibility of implementing “green lanes” and formulate protocols therefor. The group also includes the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) under the Department of Health (DOH), the Bureau of Immigration (BI) under the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), the Department of Transportation (DOTr), the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) under the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Several countries have opened up their major destinations to fully vaccinated foreign travelers.

“We must keep pace with our neighbors and the rest of the world in slowly reopening our tourist destinations. We must be ready for the visitors when the whole world is ready to safely travel again,” said Secretary Puyat.

Source: Department of Tourism

Staycation, P2P leisure air travel allowed in GCQ: DOT

May 17, 2021

Great news for the travel bugs! Staycation and point-to-point (P2P) air travel for leisure will be allowed in areas placed under general community quarantine (GCQ), including NCR Plus consisting of the provinces of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, and Cavite.

While only essential travel is allowed to and from the NCR Plus after it was categorized under “GCQ with heightened restriction,” the DOT said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has authorized the implementation of its “specialized markets” subject to observance of minimum public health standards. 

These specialized markets include the staycation program and the P2P air travel for leisure purposes from the NCR Plus area.

DOT said P2P air travel from NCR Plus areas to a resort in places under GCQ or modified GCQ is allowed so long as it is via a chartered flight, which may involve short, private transfers by land or sea.

Only accommodation establishments that have been granted a Certificate of Authority to Operate for P2P may accept guests from NCR Plus.

Meanwhile, staycation for individuals 18 years to 65 years is only allowed in NCR Plus hotels that have been granted a Certificate of Authority to Operate for Staycation.

Through Resolution 115-A, the IATF also permitted outdoor tourist attractions to open at 30% capacity with strict adherence to minimum public health standards.

Indoor dine-in services can also operate at 20% of venue or seating capacity, while outdoor or alfresco dining can open at 50% of venue or seating capacity.

Source: Philippine News Agency

Foreign parents of Pinoys need visa, exemption docs to enter PH

May 16, 2021

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has clarified that foreign parents of Filipinos need to secure a visa and an entry exemption document first before traveling to the Philippines.

BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said foreign parents of Filipino citizens are not covered by the Balikbayan privilege, therefore they have to apply for an entry visa from Philippine posts abroad.

 

The parents are also required to present an entry exemption document, which may be issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) or the National Task Force Against Covid-19 (NTF) if they wish to come to the country.

Related article: 2021 Travel PH Guide for US Citizens and Other Foreign Nationals

Morente stressed that even if the foreign parents are traveling with their Filipino children, they would still need to have a valid 9(a) visa and entry exemption document.

Those who fail to present a visa and an exemption document upon their arrival at the airport will be denied entry by immigration officers and they will be booked on the first available flight back to their port of origin.

Morente reiterated that only Filipinos and former Filipinos, as well as their foreign spouse and children who are traveling with them, can avail of the Balikbayan privilege.

Travelers eligible for this privilege are allowed to enter the Philippines visa-free with an authorized stay of one year.

Source: Manila Bulletin

50% Subsidized RT-PCR Tests for Domestic, P2P Leisure Travelers

May 15, 2021

The Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) announced that it will resume the 50% subsidy for domestic tourists taking an RT-PCR test, but only for point-to-point (P2P) air travel from May 15 to June 30, 2021.

Under the P2P setup, only chartered flights from NCR Plus to a resort in an area under GCQ or modified GCQ will be allowed, which may involve short, private transfers by land or sea.

Only accommodation establishments that have been granted a certificate of authority to operate for P2P travel may accept guests from NCR Plus.

The two hospitals where qualified tourists can avail of the 50-percent subsidy for the RT-PCR test are the Philippine General Hospital in Manila and the Philippine Children’s Medical Center in Quezon City.

Source: Philippine News Agency

 

NCR+ Shifts to GCQ ‘with heightened restrictions’ from May 15-31

May 13, 2021

Metro Manila and 4 adjacent provinces Cavite, Rizal, Laguna, and Bulacan, will ease to a “stricter” version of general community quarantine (GCQ) from May 15-31.

Below are the quarantine classifications announced by Malacañang, valid from May 15 to 31:

MECQ

  • Santiago City
  • Quirino
  • Ifugao
  • Zamboanga City

GCQ ‘with heightened restrictions

  • Metro Manila
  • Cavite
  • Rizal
  • Bulacan
  • Laguna

GCQ

  • Apayao
  • Benguet
  • Kalinga
  • Mountain Province
  • Abra
  • Baguio
  • Cagayan
  • Isabela
  • Nueva Vizcaya
  • Batangas province
  • Quezon
  • Puerto Princesa
  • Iligan City
  • Davao City
  • Lanao del Sur

What GCQ with heightened restrictions means:

In a statement sent to media as the meeting was being aired, Roque explained what the government means by “heightened restrictions” in the GCQ that will be imposed in “NCR Plus” until May 31.

  • 18 to 65-year-old persons can leave their homes
  • Only essential travel in and out of NCR Plus allowed
  • 20% capacity for indoor dine-in in restaurants, 50% capacity for outdoor or alfresco dine-in dine-in
  • 30% capacity for outdoor tourist sites
  • 10% capacity for religious gatherings, gatherings for necrological services, wakes, inurnment, funerals
  • Outdoor non-contact sports, games, scrimmages outdoors
  • 30% capacity for personal care services that do not require the removal of masks, like salons, parlors, and beauty clinics

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

PH bans travelers from Oman, UAE; Travel restrictions on India, four other countries extended until May 31

May 13, 2021

The Philippine government has further tightened the country’s border restrictions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus by adding two more countries to the travel ban list.

According to Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, travel restrictions will be imposed on all passengers coming from Oman and the United Arab Emirates as a precaution against the coronavirus outbreak until May 31.

The latest travel rules have been issued after the country recorded two cases of the coronavirus variant from India.

“All travelers coming from Oman and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) or those with travel history to these two countries within the last fourteen (14) days preceding arrival shall be prohibited from entering the Philippines beginning May 15, 2021 until May 31, 2021, upon the recommendation of the Department of Health and the Department of Foreign Affairs,” Roque said in a statement on May 13.

He said passengers in transit as well as those who have been to these countries arriving before May 15 will not be subject to travel restrictions. These travelers, however must, undergo stricter quarantine and testing protocols upon arrival in the country. The health protocols include observation of a 14-day facility-based quarantine period upon arrival even if they get negative results from Reverse Transcription – Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test.

The government has also extended the travel restrictions on India and four nearby countries as a precaution against the coronavirus outbreak until the end of the month. The travel restrictions on these places are supposed to end on May 14 after a deadly coronavirus strain was first detected in India.

“All existing travel restrictions of passengers coming from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are extended until 2359H of May 31, 2021,” Roque said.

Roque said the Department of Transportation must ensure that airlines are directed not to allow the boarding of passengers who are prohibited from entering the country based on the travel restrictions imposed by the Office of the President and IATF resolutions. An exception is given if passengers are part of the repatriation efforts of the national government.

Source: Manila Bulletin

 

BI Tells Airlines to Ensure Foreigners Allowed in PH

May 11, 2021

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) reminded the airlines to ensure that only foreigners with valid visas are permitted to board their flights bound for the Philippines.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente warned that airlines may face fines and sanctions for allowing improperly documented foreign nationals to board.

This is apart from excluding the foreigners upon arrival at the airport and booking them on the first available flight back to their port of origin.

The BI issued the reminder after some airlines erroneously boarded foreign nationals not eligible for entry to the Philippines.

“Only foreigners with valid and existing visas are allowed to enter the country,” Morente said.

All travelers from India and those who went to India preceding their arrival to the Philippines are barred from entering the country until May 14 as a safeguard against virus spread that may be caused by the massive surge in COVID-19 cases in the South Asian country. 

Those who are coming from or who have been to PakistanBangladeshNepal, and Sri Lanka within 14 days before their arrival in the Philippines will also not be allowed to enter the Philippines effective May 7 until May 14, 2021. The Bureau of Immigration reiterated that only aliens with valid and existing immigrant, non-immigrant, and special visas issued by the BI and other government agencies are allowed to enter the country.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Cagayan, Apayao, Benguet placed under MECQ until May 23

May 10, 2021

The government has tightened the community quarantine status of three provinces for the next two weeks in a bid to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Cagayan, Apayao, and Benguet have been reverted to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from May 10 to 23, 2021 based on the latest resolution issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF). The resolution on the change of quarantine status, issued by the task force on May 9, was released by the Palace Monday, May 10.

Baguio City is not included in the MECQ classification, according to the Palace.

The three provinces were originally under the more relaxed general community quarantine (GCQ) status until May 31.

Source: Manila Bulletin

IATF Allows Point-to-Point Air Travel for Leisure from NCR Plus

May 7, 2021

Good news! The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has allowed point-to-point air travel for leisure from the NCR Plus areas to select destinations, Malacañang said.

In a statement, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the IATF “approved and adopted the Guidelines on Point-to-Point Air Travel for Leisure Purposes from the NCR Plus Areas” crafted by the Department of Tourism.

“Let’s wait for the DOT’s guidelines but we can now go to tourist spots though it will be point-to-point,” said Roque.

Roque also confirmed to INQUIRER.net that the point-to-point air travel is allowed even as NCR Plus remains under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

 

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Zamboanga City in MECQ until May 14; Tacloban City in MGCQ until May 31

May 7, 2021

From MGCQ, Zamboanga City is now under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) until May 15 while Tacloban City is under the more lenient modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) until May 31.

Here is the updated list of areas under the MECQ until May 14, 2021, as of May 7:

  • Metro Manila
  • Bulacan
  • Cavite
  • Laguna
  • Rizal
  • Abra
  • Ifugao
  • City of Santiago, Isabela
  • Quirino
  • Zamboanga City

The areas under the GCQ until the end of the month are:

  • Apayao
  • Baguio City
  • Benguet
  • Kalinga
  • Mt. Province
  • Cagayan
  • Isabela
  • Nueva Vizcaya
  • Batangas
  • Quezon Province
  • Puerto Princesa City (added)
  • Iligan City
  • Davao City
  • Lanao del Sur
 

Meanwhile, the rest of the country will be under the modified GCQ (MGCQ) until the end of the month.

Source: Manila Bulletin

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DOH: IATF approves COVID-19 testing for inbound travelers on 7th day of quarantine

May 7, 2021

IATF-EID has approved the proposal to test inbound travelers for COVID-19 on the seventh day of their quarantine, the Department of Health (DOH) said.

Vergeire said that the inbound travelers will be endorsed to their respective local government units on their 10th day of isolation for them to complete the required 14-day quarantine.

“So, this is a process na para ma ensure natin that even though nakakapasok pa rin ang ibang travelers, especially Filipinos, sa ating bansa, nasisiguro po natin na naqua–quarantine natin sila ng maayos o nai-isolate natin sila ng maayos to break the chain of transmission (So, this is a process to ensure that even though we are allowing travelers to enter the country, we make sure that we quarantine them properly to break the chain of transmission),” said Vergeire.

The Health official said that concerned government agencies are currently crafting the guidelines for this new policy.

Previously, inbound travelers will be tested on the 5th day of their quarantine. If they tested negative, they will be endorsed to their local government units to complete the two-week quarantine period.

Source: Manila Bulletin

More foreigners allowed to enter PH starting May 1

April 30, 2021

Starting May 1, some foreign nationals can again enter the Philippines subject to conditions, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said,

However, all travelers from India and those who went to India preceding their arrival to the Philippines are barred from entering the country until May 14 as a safeguard against virus spread that may be caused by the massive surge in COVID-19 cases in the South Asian country. 

In February, the Bureau of Immigration released an advisory that contains the list of foreigners qualified to enter the Philippines based on IATF Resolutions No. 97 and 98. 

Here is the list:

  1. 9(e) visa holders for diplomats accredited to the Philippines
  2. Foreign airline crew
  3. 9(c) visa holders for foreign seafarers
  4. 9(d) visa holders for treaty traders
  5. Visa holders under Section 13 of Commonwealth Act of 613
  6. Foreign nationals who have entered the country before June 30, 1992
  7. Legal residence visa holders or those who entered the Philippines before January 1, 1984
  8. Native Born visa holders
  9. Temporary Resident Visa holders
  10. Chinese nationals who are married to Philippine citizens
  11. Foreign spouses of Filipino nationals
  12. Foreign parents of minor Filipino children and of Filipino children with special needs, regardless of age
  13. Foreign minor children or children with special needs of Filipino nationals
  14. Those with Recognition Certificate (RC) or Citizenship Retention and Reacquisition Act of 2003 certificate
  15. Those with visas issued under Executive Order 226, including Special Investor Resident Visa
  16. Foreign executives from multinational companies
  17. 47(a)(2) visa holders
  18. Those with visas issued by Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Authority, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, Authority of the Freeport of Bataan, Cagayan Economic Zone Authority, and Clark Development Corporation
  19. Those from non-visa required countries, who are qualified under the Balikbayan Privilege, including former Filipino citizens
  20. 9(g) visa holders who left the Philippines on December 17, 2020, or later
  21. Holders of 9(a) visas and Special Resident and Retirees Visas, but need to present an entry exemption document to the BI upon arrival

Other requirements

Authorized foreigners shall follow some conditions to enter the county. These include having valid visas at the time of entry, pre-booked quarantine accommodation for at least six nights in an accredited quarantine hotel or facility, and COVID-19 testing six days after arrival. They are also “subject to the maximum capacity of inbound passengers at the port and date of entry,” Roque said.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez, Jr. earlier announced that incoming international flights would be allowed to carry only up to 1,500 passengers per day to control the further spread of COVID-19.

Source: CNN Philippines

BI: Foreign Tourists Still Banned From Coming to PH

May 3, 2021

Despite the lifting of certain travel restrictions that took effect on May 1, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) reminded the public that foreign tourists are still banned from entering the Philippines.

BI Commissioner Jaime Morente clarified that only aliens with valid and existing visas are currently allowed to enter the Philippines.

 

“Foreign tourists are still prohibited from entering the country and said restriction remains effective until it is lifted by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases,” (IATF) Morente said.

He explained that the country only reverted to implementing the international guidelines on travel that existed prior to March 22 when the government reimposed a ban on the entry of all foreigners due to the increase of COVID-19 cases in the country.

He said the recent easing of travel restrictions applies only to those aliens who were allowed to come to the Philippines before March 22 and should have valid visas at the time of their arrival at local ports of entry.

The BI earlier announced that starting May 1, aliens with existing immigrant and non-immigrant visas may again enter the country.

Exempted from the visa requirement are the foreign spouse and children of balikbayans or returning Filipinos and former Filipinos who are traveling with the latter.

Foreigners who are holders of valid and existing Special Resident and Retirees Visa (SRRV) may be allowed entry, provided they present an entry exemption document from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) upon arrival.

Except for foreign diplomats and members of international organizations, all foreign travelers are required to present a pre-booked accommodation for at least seven nights in an accredited quarantine hotel, or facility where they will be tested for COVID-19 on the sixth day from the date of their arrival.

 

Following another IATF ruling, the BI said that travelers coming from India or have a travel history with that country within the last 14 days preceding their arrival are banned from entering the country until May 14.

This is to prevent the possible entry of the new and fast-spreading variant of COVID-19 that originated there.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer; Manila Bulletin

Ifugao placed under 14-day MECQ, Puerto Princesa under GCQ

May 1, 2021

Ifugao province has been added to the list of areas under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) until May 14, while Puerto Princesa City will be under general community quarantine (GCQ) for the month of May.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that the two reclassifications were done at the request of their local governments, which wanted tighter restrictions.

The areas in the Philippines under MECQ until May 14 are:

  • NCR+
  • Abra
  • Ifugao
  • City of Santiago, Isabela
  • Quirino

Meanwhile, the City of Puerto Princesa in Palawan was placed under the general community quarantine (GCQ) until the end of the month also after its local government appealed for a stricter quarantine.

The areas in the country under GCQ until May 31 are:

  • Apayao
  • Baguio City
  • Benguet
  • Kalinga
  • Mt. Province
  • Cagayan
  • Isabela
  • Nueva Vizcaya
  • Batangas
  • Quezon Province
  • Puerto Princesa City (added)
  • Tacloban City
  • Iligan City
  • Davao City
  • Lanao del Sur
 

Meanwhile, the rest of the country will be under the modified GCQ (MGCQ) until the end of the month.

Source: Manila Bulletin

MECQ in NCR Plus Extended Until May 14

April 28, 2021

NCR Plus will remain under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) until May 14, President Rodrigo Duterte announced.

This comes after the President heeded the recommendation of experts and the Department of Health to keep Metro Manila, Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite, and Laguna under MECQ to decongest hospitals.

Duterte also added that the following areas would be under general community quarantine. 

  • Apayao
  • Baguio City
  • Benget
  • Ifugao
  • Kalinga
  • Mountain Province
  • Cagayan
  • Isabela
  • Nueva Vizcaya
  • Batangas
  • Quezon
  • Tacloban
  • Iligan
  • Davao City 
  • Lanao del Sur

The rest of the country is under the loosest modified GCQ.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

El Nido Still Close to NCR Plus Tourists

April 19, 2021

The municipality of El Nido in Palawan has reopened its doors to local tourists, except for those from the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus area.

The NCR Plus bubble includes all cities and the lone municipality of Pateros in NCR, the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan, and Rizal.

Tourists from outside Palawan who are traveling for leisure purposes are required to have valid identification (ID), and a quick response (QR)-coded tourist ID (QT-ID). Other required documents are as follow:

  1. Negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test undertaken within the last 72 hours before arrival to El Nido
  2. A hotel booking in a hotel with accreditation from the Department of Tourism (DOT)
  3. A return ticket
  4. Those staying for more than seven days shall accomplish an antigen test on their eighth day in El Nido. Those who test positive will be required to undergo a seven-day quarantine, with all testing and quarantine costs shouldered by the tourist.

For those going to El Nido from within Palawan, they are required to have:

  1. A valid ID
  2. A QT-ID which only requires a hotel booking and a negative antigen test result undertaken within the last 24 hours prior to their arrival in El Nido.
  3. Those staying for more than seven days shall accomplish an antigen test on their eighth day in El Nido. Those who test positive will be required to undergo a seven-day quarantine, with all testing and quarantine costs shouldered by the tourist.

To get a QT-ID, visitors from outside Palawan are advised to visit www.elnidotourism.ph to submit their requirements, while visitors from within Palawan are only required to present a negative antigen test result for inspection at the point of entry at Bobolongan Control Point.

El Nido is famous for its white-sand beaches, hidden lagoons, and other tourist hotspots.

Source: Philippine News Agency

Israel, Opening to Fully Vaccinated Filipinos, Foreign Tourists starting May 23

April 15, 2021

Good news for the travelers who are itching to explore the world again! Israel will open for foreign tourists but with one strict condition: you must be fully vaccinated.

Starting on May 23, travelers, including Filipinos, will be allowed into Israel in its “second stage”, with health considerations determining the timeline.

Philippine passport holders can enjoy visa-free entry to Israel for up to a 90-days stay.

Under this program, all visitors will be required to undergo a PCR test before boarding the flight from their ports of origin. 

Upon arrival at the Ben Gurion International Airport, visitors will undergo a serological test to prove their vaccination. This is a blood test to detect the presence of antibodies against a microorganism. 

Source: Philippine News Agency; Manila Bulletin

Pagudpud beach listed among the world’s most beautiful

April 14, 2021

Saud Beach in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, dubbed as the “Boracay of the North” was hailed as one of the “25 Most Beautiful Beaches in the World” by New York-based magazine Travel+Leisure.

The American travel magazine was stunned about Saud Beach’s white sand and clear-as-glass waters, further describing it as “like a real-world example of a zero-entry swimming pool.”

Ilocos Norte is currently under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), meaning tourists planning to visit the province are required to register first at ilocosnorte.ph where they would be informed of the guidelines and required documents before traveling.

Source: Philippine News Agency

NCR Plus Placed Under MECQ Until April 30

April 11, 2021

President Rodrigo Duterte has placed NCR Plus (Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal) under the less restrictive modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from April 12 to April 30.

Santiago City in Isabela and the province of Quirino will remain under MECQ, while Abra was added to the list of areas under MECQ until the end of the month.

The guidelines allowed “all establishments” that were shut down during ECQ to operate at a 50-percent on-site capacity, except for certain activities such as indoor dine-in services, personal care services like beauty salons and derma cli­nics, and entertainment venues like cinemas, bars and theaters.

Meanwhile, the following areas will be placed under general community quarantine:

  • Cordillera Administrative Region
  • Batangas province
  • Tacloban City
  • Iligan City
  • Davao City
  • Lanao del Sur province
  • Quezon province

The rest of the country will be placed under modified GCQ.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer, Rappler

 

PH Eyes Use of IATA Digital Travel Pass

April 7, 2021

The Philippine government is considering the use of the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) travel pass as part of the country’s preparations for the resumption of international travel amid the pandemic, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said.

In a nutshell, the IATA Travel Pass is a mobile application that can be used to create a digital passport, verify tests or vaccinations with regulatory authorities, and submit requirements such as test results or vaccination certificates to facilitate travel. 

It helps people travel with ease while meeting government travel requirements for COVID-19 tests or vaccines.

USers can use it to create a digital passport, verify their tests or vaccinations with regulatory authorities, and submit requirements such as test results or vaccination certificates to facilitate travel.

The initiative also features a “Lab App” to allow authorized Covid-19 testing centers and laboratories to securely send test results or vaccination certificates to passengers.

The DOT, however, did not provide any timeline when the IATA initiative will be adopted in the Philippines.

Source: Rappler

ECQ Extended by 1 Week in NCR Plus

makati philippines tourism news

April 3, 2021

Amid the continued surge in Covid19 cases, the government on Saturday, April 3, 2021, announced that it will be extending the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in the NCR Plus region by 1 week. The extended ECQ will start on April 5, 2021, and end on April 11, 2021. NCR Plus regions include Metro Manila and its neighboring regions of Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, and Cavite. The announcement was made by Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. on Saturday. The ECQ guidelines under the extended tenure will remain the same for the extended tenure as well.

Here are the ECQ Rules for NCR Plus: 

  • Strict home quarantine in households to be followed except for accessing essential goods/services or work in permitted offices.
  • No mass gatherings allowed
  • Curfew to be followed from 6 PM to 5 AM (except for APORs, workers, cargo vehicles, public transportation)
  • No malls except for essential stores such as groceries, pharmacies, hardware
  • Restaurants permitted for take-out and delivery only
  • Staycations are not allowed
  • Public Transport in ECQ: Jeepneys and buses to operate at 50% capacity. Rail lines to retain passengers at 20-30% capacity. International inbound passenger capacity for Ninoy Aquino International Airport will remain at 1,500 flyers a day like before. 

Travel Restrictions in the Philippines: FAQs

Updated April 3, 2021

Q1. Who all are allowed to enter the Philippines in 2021?

As per the latest directive by The National Task Force, all Filipino citizens, whether a returning Overseas Filipino or overseas Filipino worker shall be allowed to return to the Philippines. Foreigners’ entry will remain restricted from March 22 until April 21, 2021. However, there are some travelers exempted from the above rules and these are: 

  • Diplomats and members of international organizations and their dependents provided they hold a valid 9(e) visa or 47(a)(2) visa
  • Foreign nationals involved in medical repatriation duty endorsed by the Department of Foreign Affairs – Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, provided that they have a valid visa at the time of entry
  • Foreign seafarers under the “Green Lanes” program for a crew change, provided that they hold a 9(c) crew list visa at the time of entry
  • Foreign spouses and children of Filipino citizens traveling with them provided they have valid visas, provided that they have a valid visa at the time of entry
  • Emergency, humanitarian, and other analogous cases approved by the chairperson of the NTF COVID-19 or his duly authorized representative

Q2. What are the local travel restrictions in and around Metro Manila, Philippines?

ECQ has been extended in Metro Manila and its 4 surrounding areas namely Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal (also known as NCR Plus) and earlier ECQ rules will still apply. Here are the guidelines for ECQ in NCR Plus:

  • Strict home quarantine in households to be followed except for accessing essential goods/services or work in permitted offices.
  • No mass gatherings allowed
  • Curfew to be followed from 6 PM to 5 AM (except for APORs, workers, cargo vehicles, public transportation)
  • No malls except for essential stores such as groceries, pharmacies, hardware
  • Restaurants permitted for take-out and delivery only
  • Staycations are not allowed
  • Public Transport in ECQ: Jeepneys and buses to operate at 50% capacity. Rail lines to retain passengers at 20-30% capacity. International inbound passenger capacity for Ninoy Aquino International Airport will remain at 1,500 flyers a day like before.

Q3. When will the Philippines reopen for international travel?

Due to the rising Covid-19 situation, the Philippines is only allowing Filipinos (OFWs and non-OFWs) to enter the country with exceptions for some travelers in exempted categories related to diplomatic relations, foreign spouses, humanitarian causes, and foreigners involved in medical repatriation endorsed by Dept. of Foreign Affairs. The govt. will take steps to open the Philippines for international travel once the Covid-19 situation is under control and it deems fit for allowing international travel. Please stay tuned for more updates regarding the opening of international travel in the Philippines. 

Q4. Are staycations allowed in the Philippines? 

These are the destinations in the Philippines where staycations and leisure travel is allowed given the traveler follows the travel conditions.

Please note: Residents/locals from Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal are not allowed to have staycations since these regions are currently under ECQ. Therefore by default, no resident from these areas will be able to travel outside to any other destination for staycation purposes. 

Philippines Destinations open for travel Travel Conditions
Metro Manila and Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal (NCR Plus) Staycations not allowed until April 4 due to ECQ in NCR Plus.
Boracay Leisure travel is allowed. A negative test result of RT-PCR Swab Test or Saliva RT-PCR Test is accepted taken not earlier than 72 hours before visiting the island
Cebu Leisure travel is allowed. Travelers to show a valid medical certificate issued by a reputable doctor within 7 days prior to travel date, proof of pre-booking at an accredited hotel or resort in the Province of Cebu, and pass symptoms checking or screening at the point of departure.
Palawan (includes El Nido, Coron, Port Barton, Puerto Princesa, and San Vicente) Open to domestic tourists with a negative RT-PCR test.
Tagaytay (part of Cavite) Staycation allowed and leisure travel allowed for locals only.
Surigao del Norte (including Siargao) Open to domestic tourists with negative RT-PCR test or RT-PCR Saliva test
Bohol Open to domestic tourists with negative RT-PCR test or RT-PCR Saliva test
Aklan Open to domestic tourists with negative RT-PCR test or RT-PCR Saliva test
Baguio Open to domestic tourists with a QR-coded tourist pass
Puerto Galera Open to domestic tourists with negative RT-PCR test
Batangas Open to domestic tourists (Anilao diving sites open to tourists from GCQ and MGCQ areas with a negative RT-PCR test results, proof of accommodation reservation, valid ID, and medical clearance).
Ilocos Sur (including Vigan) Open to tourists with a negative RT-PCR test

Q5. What all destinations are accepting saliva RT-PCR for travel?

Currently, the following destinations are accepting the RT-PCR Saliva test for travel:

  1. Aklan and Boracay
  2. Bohol
  3. Siargao

We will keep updating the list as and when more destinations start accepting the RT-PCR saliva test for travel. 


Philippine tourism news from earlier this month:

NCR Plus under ECQ from March 29 to April 4

March 29, 2021

Starting March 29 until April 4, Metro Manila as well as Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, and Cavite (also known as “NCR Plus” by the government) will be under ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) to reduce the spread of COVID19 in the region.

Here are the ECQ Guidelines for NCR Plus: 

  • Strict home quarantine in households to be followed except for accessing essential goods/services or work in permitted offices.
  • No mass gatherings allowed
  • Curfew to be followed from 6 PM to 5 AM (except for APORs, workers, cargo vehicles, public transportation)
  • No malls except for essential stores such as groceries, pharmacies, hardware
  • Restaurants permitted for take-out and delivery only
  • Staycations are not allowed
  • Public Transport in ECQ: Jeepneys and buses to operate at 50% capacity. Rail lines to retain passengers at 20-30% capacity. International inbound passenger capacity for Ninoy Aquino International Airport will remain at 1,500 flyers a day like before. 

Philippines Adds More Restrictions In And Around NCR Amid COVID-19 Surge

March 22, 2021

In an effort to curb the surge of COVID-19 in NCR, additional restrictions like those in effect in Metro Manila currently are now being implemented in its 4 major surrounding areas of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal. Under the new restrictions, these 4 areas will also be having night-time curfews and a ban on mass gatherings starting from March 22 until the next two weeks. Only essential travel to and from the capital region and the above-mentioned surrounding 4 areas which Roque mentioned as “bubble areas” will be permitted. 

Movement within the bubble areas will not be restricted however as per rules, anyone under the age of 18 or over the age of 65 will be required to remain indoors.

Weddings, baptisms, and funeral services will be allowed but with a maximum gathering of 10 people. Restaurants will also be allowed to operate but will be restricted to delivery, take-out, and outdoor dining. 

All Filipinos Allowed To Enter Philippines As Per Revised International Travel Rules

March 19, 2021

As per the latest and revised update from The National Task Force, all Filipinos will now be permitted to enter the Philippines as opposed to only OFWs earlier. The restriction on foreigners’ entry still remains in effect although the date of implementation has moved from March 22  – April 21. 

As stated and signed by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana in memorandum circular, “All Filipino citizens, whether a returning Overseas Filipino or overseas Filipino worker shall be allowed to return to the Philippines”

Travelers exempted from the above restrictions are:

  • Diplomats and members of international organizations and their dependents provided they hold a valid 9(e) visa or 47(a)(2) visa
  • Foreign nationals involved in medical repatriation duty endorsed by the Department of Foreign Affairs – Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, provided that they have a valid visa at the time of entry
  • Foreign seafarers under the “Green Lanes” program for a crew change, provided that they hold a 9(c) crew list visa at the time of entry
  • Foreign spouses and children of Filipino citizens traveling with them provided they have valid visas, provided that they have a valid visa at the time of entry
  • Emergency, humanitarian, and other analogous cases approved by the chairperson of the NTF COVID-19 or his duly authorized representative

Source: Inquirer.net

Foreigners and non-OFWs not allowed in the Philippines from March 20 – April 19

March 16, 2021

As per the latest update from The National Task Force in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases, travel into the Philippines would be restricted starting from March 20 until April 19, 2021. 

Under the memorandum signed by Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Foreigners and “Returning Overseas Filipinos who are non-OFWs” will not be allowed to enter the Philippines except for:

  • Holders of 9(C) visas (seafarers)
  • Medical repatriation and their escorts endorsed by the Department of Foreign Affairs-Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs or the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration
  • Distressed ROFs endorsed by the Department of Foreign Affairs-Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs
  • Emergency and humanitarian cases

Other updates from the memo also include 1500 daily passenger limits being applied to not just NAIA but all the other airports. The measure comes in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases and is intended to prevent the “entry of new virus”. Currently, there’s no definite date as to when will Philippines allow tourists to travel.

Please see the official memorandum for further details. Link 1 Link 2

Aklan Now Accepts Saliva RT-PCR Tests

March 10, 2021

After the good news of Boracay Philippines reopening, the local government unit (LGU) of Aklan–the gateway province to the world-famous Boracay Island–is now accepting negative results from cheaper, saliva-based Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) tests as a valid travel requirement.

“Please be informed that as per March 10, 2021 Advisory of the Provincial Government of Aklan, saliva-based RT-PCR is accepted as a requirement for travelers entering the Province of Aklan,” the advisory read.

However, it specified that Boracay–the province’s main draw–would still impose “separate requirements” on would-be visitors.

“Saliva-based RT-PCR is accepted for travelers bound for mainland Malay. As per Executive Order No.005 of the Provincial Government of Aklan, separate requirements shall still be implemented for local tourists bound for Boracay Island,” it added.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Test before travel still in place in most PH destinations

March 10, 2021

Some destinations that reopened still impose a test-before-travel policy, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat clarified Wednesday.

Among these are Boracay, Bohol, Ilocos Sur, El Nido, Coron, Puerto Princesa, and San Vicente in Palawan, which will open on March 15.

Romulo-Puyat said some Luzon destinations opening up this month would also require a negative test result, such as Pangasinan and La Union.

“Siargao requires also, Siquijor will require, Dumaguete, Negros Oriental will also require; Iloilo also requires. Actually, halos lahat they require test before travel (nearly all destinations require test before travel). Even Cebu City requires,” she said.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) through Resolution No. 101, removed the mandatory testing except when the local government unit requires it before travel.

Source: Philippine News Agency

Puerto Princesa reopens destinations to domestic tourists

March 5, 2021

 Puerto Princesa City has started to accept domestic tourists on March 1, a piece of welcome news for both tourism workers and travelers itching to take a vacation after a year in quarantine.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the Department of Tourism (DOT) supports the decision of Puerto Princesa City’s executives to reopen attractions to more domestic tourists with minimum health and safety standards in place. It initially opened its destinations last December 8 but only for Palawan locals.

The coastal city requires visitors to take the RT-PCR test before travel with 48 hours validity, the negative result of which should be emailed directly by the Department of Health (DOH)-accredited testing facility to the City’s Incident Management Team (IMT).

Also required is a confirmed booking from a DOT-accredited accommodation establishment and travel agency for guided tours. The use of the StaySafe.ph system as a contact tracing application is likewise mandatory.

Source: Philippine News Agency

Baguio City also ditches COVID test requirement for tourists

March 3, 2021

After Cebu, Baguio has followed the trend of not requiring local tourists to present a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test or swab test result before entering the city.

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong confirmed that swab tests are no longer required in the Summer Capital unless mandated by the tourist’s accommodation establishments or public transport providers.

The amended Executive Order (EO) No. 1 signed by Magalong indicates that other travel requirements have also been dropped by the local government unit (LGU) such as the travel authority, and the mandatory quarantine — except for symptomatic travelers.

Meanwhile, the LGU has maintained the city’s triage requirement. Triage 1 is located at checkpoints while Triage 2 is at the Central Triage Unit in Baguio Convention Center.

Travelers are also still required to sign up on the city’s registration portals at visita.baguio.gov.ph for tourism, personal, or leisure travels; or at hdf.baguio.gov.ph for returning Baguio residents and other traveler classifications.

Magalong further reminded those going to Baguio City that compliance with the minimum public health standards such as the proper wearing of face masks and face shields, and observing physical distancing will be strictly imposed at all times.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Boracay still requires a negative swab test result

March 2, 2021

Malay, Aklan clarified that there has been no change on its list of travel requirements for tourists going to the world-famous Boracay Island.

A negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test result is still being required before entry to the island.

Aside from a negative RT-PCR test result taken 72 hours before travel, entry requirements for Boracay also include hotel confirmation from a Department of Tourism (DOT)-accredited accommodation establishment issued with a Certificate of Authority to Operate (CAO); a valid ID showing proof of residence in an area under general community quarantine (GCQ) or modified GCQ; and a completed online health declaration form from https://www.touristboracay.com.

Source: Manila Bulletin

National Museum set to reopen with ‘new normal’ protocols

March 1, 2021

The National Museum of the Philippines (NMP) has finally reopened after almost a year of closing its doors due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

According to the NMP, only these museums are open for visitors: the National Museum Complex in Manila namely the National Museum of Fine Arts, the National Museum of Anthropology, and the National Museum of Natural History.

With the limited reopening of its museums, the NMP said “tight restrictions and limitations” will be imposed to ensure the health and safety of visitors amid the health crisis.

NMP Director-General Jeremy R. Barns said the museums will open every Tuesdays to Sundays, excluding religious holidays, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon for the morning session, and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. for the afternoon session.

Barns said the museums have also adopted smaller maximum capacities in line with the quarantine rules set by the government’s pandemic task force.

Each museum can only accommodate 100 people per session to ensure that the required two-meter physical distancing is followed. Only visitors aged 15 to 65 years old are allowed.

Walk-ins will not be permitted and those who plan to visit the library are required to book online through reservation.nationalmuseum.gov.ph at least a day before the planned visit. A confirmation of the online reservation will be sent through email.

Groups and group reservations will be limited to a maximum of five persons only, while guided tours will not be permitted.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Malacañang Drops Swab Testing and Quarantine for Travelers

February 27, 2021

Malacañang announced that it is no longer mandatory for travelers to undergo coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) testing and quarantine.

“Travelers shall no longer be required to undergo Covid-19 testing, except if the local government unit (LGU) of destination will make testing as a requirement prior to travel. Testing will be limited to RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) test,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press statement. 

However, travelers who exhibit symptoms upon arrival at their destination have to undergo quarantine, Roque said.

However, the Department of Tourism said it’s up to the local government units (LGUs) whether to drop the swab testing. Under IATF-EID Resolution 101, mandatory testing may be removed except when the LGU requires it before travel.

Source: Philippine News Agency

No more swab test for all tourists in Cebu

February 23, 2021

Cebu province has eliminated the swab test requirement for tourists to revive its economy.

Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia issued Executive Order No. 12, Series of 2021 that eases restrictions for travelers who would engage in tourism-related activities in the province, provided they submit and comply with the following:

  1. Present a valid medical certificate issued by a reputable doctor within seven days prior to the travel date.
  2. Proof of pre-booking a resort or hotel establishment where he or she would stay during the duration of his or her visit. The resort or hotel establishment should be located within the province of Cebu and duly accredited by the Cebu Provincial Task Force
  3. Pass symptoms checking or screening at the point of departure and at the point of arrival.

The Department of Tourism asked travelers, especially those visiting destinations with eased entry protocols to continue following the health and safety protocols imposed by the government.

Source: Philippine Star, Philippine News Agency

 

More foreigners allowed to enter PH

February 20, 2021

The Philippines is now allowing more foreigners with visas to enter the country. However, tourists are still not permitted to enter the Philippines.

In its latest resolution, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases removed the March 20, 2020, reckoning period in reference to the visas of foreign nationals who would be allowed to enter.

This means those with valid and existing visas at the time of entry would be accepted into the country.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

3 Intramuros sites now open to visitors

February 17, 2021

It’s official, Intramuros is welcoming tourists again!

Fort Santiago, Casa Manila Museum, and Baluarte de San Diego are open to visitors again but will drastically lower the capacity.

Fort Santiago and Baluarte de San Diego will only hold 100 people at a time, down from its peak capacity of 10,000 people. Casa Manila Museum, meanwhile, will only have 15 people at a time and only up to 5 people in a group.

Visitors are required to practice safety guidelines, which include wearing masks and face shields, physical distancing, practicing hand hygiene and cough etiquette, and undergoing mandatory temperature screening and sanitizing protocols. 

They are also required to register on the StaySafe.PH app before entering the sites.

The Intramuros Administration posted a detailed guide to the reopening on their Facebook page, along with their opening hours.

Beginning February 18, the sites will have the following schedule:

  • Fort Santiago – Daily from 12 nn to 8 pm
  • Casa Manila – Tuesday to Sunday from 8 am to 5 pm
  • Baluarte de San Diego – Saturday and Sunday from 8 am to 5 pm

Entrance fees remain at P75 for adults, while the discounted fee for students and persons with disability is at P50. Visitors can pay in cash, via Beep card, or PayMaya.

Source: Rappler, Philippine News Agency

Cebu province opens doors to Filipino visitors

February 12, 2021

Cebu is opening its doors to tourists from other provinces across the Philippines who are planning to visit Cebu may now be able to enter the island province with lesser restrictions.

Tourists who wish to stay in resorts and hotels will only need to show their pre-booked reservations while those who want to experience the different tourism activities here will have to register ahead through the Capitol’s booking portal, discover.cebu.gov.ph.

Based on the latest Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of the Community Quarantine in the Philippines issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID), areas under MGCQ and GCQ can now cross borders with minimum requirements.

“Inter-zonal movement of persons not authorized outside of residences or non-APOR between areas placed under GCQ and MGCQ for any purpose shall be permitted subject to reasonable regulations imposed by the LGU concerned, if any,” Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia said.

Source: Philippine News Agency

 

Qualified Foreigners May Enter PH in February

January 30, 2021

Effective February 1, with the lifting of travel restrictions on COVID-19 new variant countries, foreign nationals will be re-allowed to enter under relevant IATF resolutions but subject to the following conditions:

  • With valid and existing visa at the time of entry, except for those qualified under the Balikbayan program under RA 6768*;
  • With pre-booked accommodation for at least seven (7) nights in an accredited quarantine hotel/facility;
  • Subject to COVID-19 testing at the quarantine hotel/facility on the sixth (6th) day from the date of arrival
  • Subject to the maximum capacity of inbound passengers at the port and date of entry

Source: Department of Tourism

 

CAR back to stricter quarantine; still GCQ for Metro, 6 other areas

January 30, 2021

Malacañang said the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) would revert to the stricter general community quarantine (GCQ) next month, following new cases of COVID-19, including its more contagious or United Kingdom variant.

Before the new cases, the region was already under the more relaxed MGCQ. For the entire month of February, it will be under GCQ, together with Metro Manila, Tacloban City, Davao City, Iligan City, and the provinces of Batangas, Davao del Norte and Lanao del Sur.

The rest of the country will be under MGCQ, said presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.

The Cordillera region—which is made up of Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province, and Baguio City—had been anticipating the stricter quarantine after 12 people in the municipality of Bontoc, capital of Mountain Province, contracted the UK variant of the coronavirus this month.

The Department of Health said 45 other people in Bontoc have tested positive for COVID-19. It was not immediately known if they contracted the new variant.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

 

PH to Enforce New Quarantine and Test Rules for Incoming Travelers

January 28, 2021

Starting Feb. 1, the Philippines will enforce new testing and quarantine rules for travelers from other countries to curb the spread of more infectious variants of the coronavirus.

Under the new rules laid down by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, all incoming passengers, regardless of origin, will be required to go into isolation in quarantines upon arrival in the Philippines.

They will take RT-PCR tests five days after their arrival, unless they show Covid-19 symptoms earlier.

Those who will test negative will be endorsed to their local governments, which will monitor their condition during the remainder of their 14-day quarantine period.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Czech Republic now included in PH travel restrictions

January 26, 2021

The Philippine government has included the Czech Republic in the list of countries under travel ban due to new COVID variants, Malacañang announced.

The move was made after the Czech Republic’s National Institute of Public Health confirmed the detection of the more transmissible B.1.1.7. COVID-19 variant that was first detected in the United Kingdom.

According to Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, Filipino citizens coming from the Czech Republic shall be allowed to enter the Philippines subject to testing and quarantine protocols. 

“Those who tested negative from both RT-PCR tests will be endorsed to their respective local government units, which will strictly monitor the remainder of their 14-day quarantine,” he added.  

He said Filipino and foreign passengers merely transiting through the Czech Republic shall be covered by the rules as provided in the Memorandum from Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea dated December 31, 2020.

The ban on foreign travelers now covers 36 jurisdictions, including Czech Republic, after they confirmed the presence of new COVID-19 variants in their areas, namely: United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Netherlands, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United States, Portugal, India, Finland, Norway, Jordan, Brazil, Austria, China, Pakistan, Jamaica, Luxembourg, Oman, United Arab Emirates, and Hungary.

The travel ban in these countries will also end on Jan. 31.

Source: Manila Bulletin

 

PH eases travel curbs for tourists from countries with variants

January 23, 2021

The government has allowed foreigners from some countries that have the new COVID-19 variants to enter the Philippines and has amended quarantine protocols on passengers arriving from these areas, with the new rules requiring them to be tested twice for the disease within five days from their arrival.

IATF said passengers from countries subject to travel restrictions have to be tested upon arrival and quarantined until the result of a subsequent test administered on the fifth day is released. Those who yield a negative result on their second test would be endorsed to the local government of destination, which would be required to monitor the remainder of their 14-day quarantine.

Exempted are accredited foreign diplomats and foreign employees of accredited international organizations, such as the World Health Organization and the United Nations.

But they must undergo a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test upon arrival, execute an undertaking and observe a strict 14-day quarantine.

The spouse and children of Filipino citizens traveling with them are also now allowed to enter the country, subject to the same testing and quarantine protocols applicable to Filipino citizens.

Those traveling to the Philippines for medical and emergency cases and their medical escorts could also enter the country but would be subject to applicable testing and quarantine measures prescribed by the Department of Health.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

PH Travel Ban to 34 Countries Extended to Jan. 31

January 16, 2021

The Philippines has extended its travel ban on 34 countries until January 31, 2021, due to the new COVID-19 variants, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque announced.

Foreign travelers from the following countries will not be allowed to enter the Philippines until the end of the month:

  1. The United Kingdom
  2. Denmark
  3. Ireland
  4. Japan
  5. Australia
  6. Israel
  7. The Netherlands
  8. The People’s Republic of China, including the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
  9. Switzerland
  10. France
  11. Germany
  12. Iceland
  13. Italy
  14. Lebanon
  15. Singapore
  16. Sweden
  17. South Korea
  18. South Africa
  19. Canada
  20. Spain
  21. United States of America
  22. Portugal
  23. India
  24. Finland
  25. Norway
  26. Jordan
  27. Brazil
  28. Austria
  29. Pakistan
  30. Jamaica
  31. Luxembourg
  32. Oman
  33. United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  34. Hungary

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Vaccinated individuals still need to follow travel protocols — DOH

January 18, 2021

Individuals who were injected with COVID-19 vaccines still need to follow the national government’s travel protocols, the Department of Health (DOH) said.

DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said there is no certainty that all vaccinated individuals will be exempted from travel restrictions or protocols set by the  Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

Duque said “the evidence is not sufficient” as to whether the vaccines could prevent transmission.

Dr. Edsel Maurice Salvana of the DOH-Technical Advisory Group (DOH-TAG) cited the need for the country to have a transmission-blocking vaccine to warrant the lifting of travel restrictions. 

“If we actually have a vaccine that is proven to be 100-percent transmission-blocking then anybody who is vaccinated with it should be able to travel freely. They don’t need to wait for everybody kasi hindi ka nakahahawa (because you are not contagious).

Source: Manila Bulletin

 

PH listed as second most ‘Instagrammable’ place in the world

January 15, 2021

The Philippines is the world’s second most “Instagrammable” place for this year, according to a renowned travel website, Best 7 Travel.

It placed the Philippines in the second place of its “50 Most Instagrammable Places in World” next to Tokyo, Japan. 

“Home to incredible natural wonders like an underground river and tranquil rice terraces in addition to a vibrant culture and history spanning several millennia; and over 7,500 islands – the Philippines as a whole are extremely Instagrammable,” the website said in its list published recently.

The country beat 47 other famous destinations such as Paris, France; New York City; Istanbul in Turkey; Dubai, UAE; Havana, Cuba; Sydney, Australia; London, England; and Chicago also in the USA.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Filipinos bound for US required to present proof of negative COVID test

January 14, 2021

All air passengers, including US citizens, traveling to the United States from a foreign country are now required to present either proof of negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of departure or documentation of having recovered from the virus, the US Embassy in the Philippines announced.

The updated travel requirements are effective starting Jan. 26. 

The embassy also advised airlines to confirm the negative test result or documentation of recovery for all passengers before they board.  

Travelers are also asked to visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about the travel to the US as well as check the embassy’s COVID-19 webpage for information about conditions in the Philippines.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Passengers traveling to Korea no longer need RT-PCR at NAIA

January 11, 2021

Passengers from the Philippines transiting to Incheon, Korea, are no longer required to present a negative Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test upon check-in at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the Korean Air (KE) announced.

In a Facebook post, KE said this is a directive of the Korean government and is effective immediately.

“Please note that this exception only applies to transit passengers,” it said.

The airline added that requirements from the origin or destination country must be checked separately.

To properly observe measures against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), KE reminded that all passengers are still required to wear face masks at the transit area. Those without face masks will not be allowed to board.

Further, temperature checks will still be conducted before boarding the flight from Manila.

Those with a body temperature of 37.5 degrees and above cannot board the aircraft.

Also, those originating from the UK and South Africa with temperatures of 37.3 degrees and above will not be allowed to board, KE said.

Source: Philippine Travel News Agency

PH Includes Austria in Travel Ban Due to Threat of New COVID-19 Variant

January 8, 2021

The Philippines is banning the entry of foreign travelers from Austria until January 15 due to the outbreak there of the new South African COVID-19 variant.

Foreign passengers arriving directly from Austria, as well as those who have been there within 14 days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines, will be restricted from entering the country.

Filipino travelers from the said country will be allowed to enter the country but they also need to undergo 14-day quarantine and RT-PCR testing.

The Philippines has previously imposed a temporary travel ban on 27 other countries due to the coronavirus variant from UK, known as B117, which is believed to be more infectious than the original variant.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

PH bans entry of foreigners from 6 more countries

January 7, 2021

Six more countries have been included in the list of nations covered by the travel restrictions until mid-January to curb the spread of the new coronavirus strain, Malacañang announced Wednesday.

These countries include:

  • Portugal
  • India
  • Finland
  • Norway
  • Jordan
  • Brazil

Foreigners coming from or who have been to these six countries within 14 days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines, shall be prohibited from entering the country effective January 8, 2021, 12:01 a.m., Manila time, until January 15, 2021.

The government had earlier barred the entry of foreign travelers from 21 countries, including:

  1. United Kingdom
  2. United States
  3. Denmark
  4. Ireland
  5. Japan
  6. Australia
  7. Israel
  8. The Netherlands
  9. Hong Kong
  10. Switzerland
  11. France
  12. Germany
  13. Iceland
  14. Italy
  15. Lebanon
  16. Singapore
  17. Sweden
  18. South Korea
  19. South Africa
  20. Canada
  21. Spain

Exempted from the travel restrictions are returning Filipinos, foreign diplomats and dignitaries provided they undergo coronavirus testing and facility-based quarantine for 14 days.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Unaccompanied minors from countries with travel restriction won’t be allowed entry into PH from Jan. 8-15

January 7, 2021

All unaccompanied minor Filipino citizens coming from countries where travel restrictions are in place will not be allowed entry into the Philippines starting January 8 until January 15, except if such minors are returning through the repatriation program.

This was based on the recent advisory issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) related to the expansion of travel bans against six more countries with confirmed cases of the new COVID-19 variant — Portugal, India, Finland, Norway, Jordan, and Brazil. 

 “All unaccompanied minor Filipino citizens who are not part of the repatriation program arriving prior to January 8, 2021 shall be turned over to an authorized DSWD officer (Department of Social Welfare Development) who can similarly ensure the minors’ safety and observance of quarantine protocols,” the DFA said. 

Source: Manila Bulletin

Boracay, El Nido Among World’s 25 Best Island Beaches

January 6, 2021

Boracay and El Nido, two of the Philippines’ popular island beach destinations, have been listed by readers in the 25 Best Island Beaches in the World in 2020 organized by American travel publisher Condé Nast Traveler.

White Beach on Boracay Island and El Nido, Palawan placed as the second and ninth best island beaches respectively in the world in the prestigious list.

“Boracay is a screensaver brought to life, with dazzling white sand, so-clear-you-can-see-your-toes water, and a lush jungle backdrop, available to anyone willing to make the journey. The island used to fly under the radar with one of the most beautiful beaches in the world – but the secret’s out. Now the three-mile White Beach, with its grottos and beachside dining (and nightlife), is its busiest swath of sand,” wrote Conde Nast’s Caitlin Morton.

On El Nido, Morton gushed, “Shockingly, Palawan remains steadily under the radar, even though it continues to rank highly in our Readers’ Choice Awards. El Nido alone is home to around 50 white sand beaches – it’s impossible to choose just one – all of which are set around dramatic limestone formations and have the finest and whitest sand you’ll ever see. The water is so blindingly blue it makes the Caribbean Sea look murky in comparison. And the sunsets? Well, they’ll ruin you for life. Consider yourself warned.”

Both Boracay and El Nido are open to domestic tourists coming from general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ areas with health and safety protocols, which you can find at www.philippines.travel/safetrip or download the Travel Philippines app at app.philippines.travel.

As a means to make domestic travel more affordable, the DOT, through the Tourism Promotions Board, encourages domestic tourists to avail of the 50-percent subsidized reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests.

The program, in collaboration with the University of the Philippines – Philippines General Hospital and the Philippine Children’s Medical Center, brings down the test cost to PHP900 and PHP750, respectively. To apply, visit https://www.tpb.gov.ph/rtpcrphtravel/

Source: Philippine News Agency

IATF: Travelers to PH who already received COVID-19 vaccines are not exempt from testing and quarantine protocols

January 6, 2021

Persons who received the coronavirus vaccines will not be exempted from strict testing and quarantine protocols upon arrival in the Philippines.

“Any individual arriving in the Philippines who may have received vaccination for COVID-19 in other countries/jurisdictions shall still be required to observe the mandatory testing and quarantine protocols,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said.

Source: Manila Bulletin

PH Expands Travel Ban to US Amid Threat of New COVID-19 Variant

December 30, 2020

The Philippine government has included the United States in the list of countries where a travel restriction is imposed to prevent the transmission of the new COVID-19 variant.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the travel restriction is effective starting January 3 until January 15.

Filipino citizens are exempted from the order, but Roque said they are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine regardless of a negative COVID-19 swab test result.

The first known case of the COVID-19 variant in the United States was detected in Colorado.

Earlier, the Philippines already imposed a travel ban to 20 countries where the variant was detected until Jan. 15, 2021.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Philippines to Ban Travel From Countries With New COVID-19 Variant 

December 29, 2020

Effective December 30 at 12:01 midnight, the Philippines will impose a travel ban on countries that have registered cases of a new coronavirus variant which experts fear to be more contagious. It will take effect until January 15, 2021.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that as of early Tuesday afternoon, December 29, Malacañang was still preparing the guidelines on the travel ban which is “highly recommended” by health officials.

The new coronavirus strain, which experts fear to be at least 50% more contagious first originated in the United Kingdom but has since spread to other European countries as well as Canada, Singapore, Japan and South Korea.

Per an advisory from the Manila International Airport Authority, passengers from the following countries will be prohibited from entering the country: 

  • United Kingdom
  • Switzerland
  • Denmark
  • Hong Kong, China
  • Ireland
  • Singapore
  • Japan
  • Germany
  • Australia
  • Iceland
  • South Africa
  • Italy
  • Israel
  • Spain
  • Netherlands
  • Lebanon
  • Canada
  • Sweden
  • France
  • South Korea

A travel ban on the UK was imposed by the government earlier this month. It was set to expire on December 31 but has since been extended for another two weeks.

The Department of Health said it was also monitoring other countries that have reported their own local strains of COVID-19.

Source: Rappler; Philippine Star

Tourists Can Now Get P750 RT-PCR Test at PCMC—DOT

December 28, 2020

Good news for those planning a vacation soon! Tourists can now apply for a PHP750 reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test at the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC), the Department of Tourism (DOT) confirmed.

This cuts into half the PHP1,500 regular cost of RT-PCR test at PCMC for qualified locals or foreigners residing in the country as long as their purpose for travel is for tourism.

To avail of PCMC’s 50 percent testing cost subsidy, travelers must first register online to pre-schedule their RT-PCR test at http://www.tpb.gov.ph/rtpcrphtravel/ and submit a valid government-issued identification card, proof of hotel booking in a DOT-accredited accommodation establishment, and proof of mode of travel such as airline or bus ticket.

The TPB reminded the public that PCMC will accept RT-PCR test applications on a first-come-first-served basis.

Source: Philippine News Agency

Metro Manila, 9 other areas remain under GCQ

December 28, 2020

Metro Manila and nine other areas will stay under general community quarantine (GCQ) until January 31, 2021, President Duterte announced amid fresh appeals to stay at home as much as possible to avoid coronavirus infection. 

Also placed under GCQ are Isabela, Santiago City, Batangas, Iloilo City, Tacloban City, Lanao del Sur, Iligan City, Davao City, and Davao del Norte from January 1 to 31, 2021 to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, according to the President. 

The rest of the country will remain under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), the most relaxed of the four lockdown levels implemented by the government to stem the outbreak.

The President said the latest quarantine classification of these places would take effect next month subject to the appeal of concerned local government units.

Recently, the government decided to extend the travel ban for flights coming from the United Kingdom for another two weeks or until January 14 to prevent the entry of the more contagious second COVID-19 strain in the country. The President has also raised the possibility of reimposing a stricter lockdown depending on the severity of the COVID cases.

Source: Manila Bulletin

PH Eyes Travel Ban on Nations with New COVID Variant

December 27, 2020

The Philippine government is eyeing a travel ban on nations with the new COVID-19 variant but would only be considered once there is already a community transmission of the new COVID variant there, DOH Secretary Francisco Duque said.

DOH said areas or countries with recorded cases of the UK variant are currently being monitored. The confirmation of community transmission in these areas is our standard in imposing a travel ban. Some of the countries that have recorded a case of the new coronavirus variant are Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, South Africa, and Japan. 

The new COVID variant was first discovered in the United Kingdom. This variant was reported to be more transmissible. 

Source: Manila Bulletin

Gov’t extends ban on flights from UK to Jan. 14

December 27, 2020

Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Jaime Morente announced that the travel restrictions for passengers from the United Kingdom (UK) have been extended up to January  14.

“As directed by President Duterte in a meeting of IATF, flights from the UK remain banned for two more weeks after December 31, 2020,” the BI chief stated.

The ban was an offshoot of the discovery of a new super spreader variant of COVID-19 in the UK, which is reportedly 70 percent more infectious than the original disease.

Currently, the BI is implementing a strict 100 percent passport inspection to determine the travel history of arriving passengers in the last 14 days.

Source: Manila Bulletin

International flights to Cebu to resume soon

December 22, 2020

Cebu will soon reopen to international flights ferrying foreign tourists.

The provincial government and city government of Lapu-Lapu, where the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) is located, have agreed to reopen the country’s second busiest air hub to international arrivals.

Governor Gwen Garcia pushed for the reopening of tourism activities in the province to allow the economy to recover from the crippling effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The governor also pushed for the reopening of the province’s borders for tourists from neighboring provinces in Central Visayas.

Cebu province has been placed under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), the most relaxed form of mass quarantine since July wherein tourism businesses were allowed to resume.

Source: Philippine News Agency

IATF Allows Foreigners’ Re-entry to PH

December 18, 2020

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has allowed the re-entry of foreigners who were in the Philippines but temporarily left since December 17.

Among the foreigners who can return to the Philippines are those with permanent residence in the Philippines.

Section 9 (g) of the Commonwealth Act 613 or the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940 states that foreign visa holders are those “lawfully admitted into the Philippines for permanent residence, who is returning from a temporary visit abroad to an unrelinquished residence in the Philippines.”

Roque said foreign nationals who would re-enter the Philippines are required to secure a valid and existing visa on the date of the arrival, pre-booked quarantine facility, and pre-booked COVID-19 testing at a laboratory operating at the airport; and must be subjected to the maximum capacity of inbound passengers at the port and date of entry.

Returning foreigners must also be subject to the maximum capacity of inbound passengers at the port and date of entry, he added.

The Immigration bureau in November allowed foreign traders and investors to enter the country amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Source: Philippine News Agency

DOT swab test subsidy to help 11,000 tourists

December 18, 2020

Around 11,000 domestic tourists will benefit from subsidized reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) or swab tests for the coronavirus as the Department of Tourism (DOT) formally partners with the University of the Philippines- Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH).

The DOT, through the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), yesterday inked a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the UP-PGH to subsidize 50 percent of the P1,800 RT-PCR testing cost administered by the PGH.

As per the TPB “To avail of the test’s 50-percent subsidy, the tourist must register at https://www.tpb.gov.ph/rtpcrphtravel/ five days before the scheduled departure date and submit a copy of a valid government-issued ID, a copy of a confirmed accommodation booking and proof of transportation ticket for the appropriate mode of travel,” the TPB said.

Tourists with approved applications will receive an email from the UP-PGH to access the online Client Investigation Form: https://cif.pgh.gov.ph and be notified of their swab test schedule.

“As the UP-PGH can only accommodate 100 RT-PCR tests per day, applications will be attended to on a first-come, first-served basis,”

In case you don’t know, a negative RT-PCR test is among the requirements that tourists need to have before traveling to various domestic tourist destinations such as Palawan, Boracay, Ilocos Norte and more. These guidelines from the tourism industry are based to ensure health and safety protocols. 

As per Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat “ The partnership aims to encourage more tourists to travel domestically as tourist destinations are starting to open up.” 

This program is said to help revise domestic tourism in travel destinations that are deemed safe by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease and the DOT.

The MOA was signed by TPB chief operating officer Maria Anthonette Velasco-Allones and UP-PGH director Gerardo Legaspi.

Source: PhilStar Global

PAL offers free RT-PCR tests to returning OFWs

December 17, 2020

Philippine Airlines (PAL) will provide free reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests to select vacationing/returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their dependents from Dec. 21 to 31.

The free RT-PCR tests with results released within 24 hours upon arrival. 

PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna said all land-based OFWs and their dependents coming from Dubai, Doha, Dammam, Riyadh, and Bahrain may now avail themselves of PAL’s own One-Stop Shop (OSS) facility for their complimentary RT-PCR tests upon arrival. 

To avail of the free testing, passengers must register via this link: https://bit.ly/MNLPALeCIF, at least three days before flight departure. The RT-PCR test will be done in PAL’s own One-Stop Shop (OSS) located at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2.

The test may be availed of either through walk-in or drive-through at PAL Learning Center at 540 Padre Faura Street, Ermita, Manila.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Leisure travelers to Bohol will only be allowed to explore Panglao Island — Governor Yap

December 14, 2020

Local tourists planning to visit Bohol Province will only be allowed to explore the COVID-free island Panglao according to Governor Arthur Yap. 

As of Dec. 14, the entire province only has 69 COVID-19 active cases, with its top dive destination Panglao Island maintaining the coronavirus-free status since the government imposed a lockdown in March. 

But the governor stressed that would-be travelers are required to submit a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test result conducted 72 hours prior to travel and confirmed booking at tourism-certified accommodation establishments and tour operators at www.tourism.bohol.gov.ph to validate the travel registration. 

Tourists are only allowed to stay within the bubble for five days and on the fifth day, a confirmatory RT-PCR test is again required to allow an extended stay in Bohol. He said accredited testing centers are also available on their website to validate the authenticity of the swab test results amid the recent incident of forged swab test results in Boracay Island.

If there are no COVID-19 symptoms exhibited, tourists can still extend their stay for 14 days and that is the time when they can mingle with the locals and visit nearby towns through arranged tours at tourism-accredited operators. 

Source: Manila Bulletin

Zambales opening borders, beaches to tourists

 
December 13, 2020
 
After months of closure, Zambales is reopening its borders to local tourists soon with the assistance of the Department of Tourism.
 

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat assured Gov. Hermogenes Ebdane of the certification for the reopening of the province to tourism during an online planning and consultation forum on Friday.

“Zambales is one of the most prepared and best-managed areas in terms of curbing the spread of the coronavirus disease,” Puyat said.

She said the DOT would assist the province, particularly on health protocols, to restore the confidence of tourists and assure locals welcoming visitors of their safety.

DOT said it would fund a visitor management system similar to what the DOT provided to Baguio City through its Tourism Promotions Board.

Puyat said the DOT would continue its inspection and accreditation of tourism-related establishments in the province and the provision of capability-building training on the implementation of health and safety guidelines.

Data from the DOT-Central Luzon office shows that Zambales was among the most visited destinations in Central Luzon.

In 2019, it ranked second in the region in terms of tourist arrivals, which translated into P1.9 billion in tourism expenditure.

Source: Philippine Star

Bohol is reopening to travelers on December 15

December 8, 2020

Starting December 15, Bohol province will finally welcome tourists, including those from areas under general community quarantine (GCQ), for leisure travels. 

Bohol Gov. Arthur Yap said the province will impose a test-before-travel policy for leisure tourists, who have to prebook their accommodations and tours with hotels and operators accredited by the Department of Tourism (DOT) and certified by the province under its Ultimate Bohol Experience (Ube) program.

According to DOT-Region 7 (Central Visayas), 24 accommodation establishments in Bohol have already received their certificates of authority to operate (CAO), while 130 have provisional CAOs.

Yap said tourists won’t have much to worry about when it comes to rates as it remained relatively affordable even after the Covid-19 hit, with some establishments even slashing about 50 percent off.

Source: Philippine News Agency

DOT to subsidize COVID-19 tests for Boracay-bound tourists

December 3, 2020

Department of Tourism announced that it is partially subsidizing the cost of COVID-19 tests to Filipino tourists bound for Boracay, as the government looked to revive the sector that suffered as a result of the pandemic. 

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the move had come from a partnership with the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH).

The present RT-PCR test cost at the UP-PGH is at PHP1,800 per kit, much lower than those charged by most of the testing laboratory centers.

Puyat said the DOT wanted to make this more affordable by subsidizing at least 50 percent of the cost, which will come from its marketing arm, the Tourism Promotion Board (TPB).

Boracay Island first opened to local tourists in October. Tourists are required to present a negative result from an RT-PCR test 48 to 72 hours prior to travel to the island. 

Source: Philippine News Agency and Philippine Star

Bohol eyes reopening by 2nd week of December

December 1, 2020

Bohol is planning to welcome travelers by the second week of December 2020, DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.

“Bohol will also be opened. They are already open for MICE, for big events or weddings but I think about second week of this December, (they will reopen) also for independent travelers, kahit small groups, kahit mag-isa ka (even for small groups, even if you are alone) you can already go,” she said in a television interview.

Like many other tourist sites reopened under the new normal, Puyat said visitors would be required to submit a negative RT-PCR result upon entry to the island.

Source: Philippine News Agency

NCR, 7 other areas to stay under GCQ until Dec. 31

November 30, 2020

Metro Manila or the National Capital Region (NCR) will remain under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) until December 31. 

In a televised address, President Duterete also placed seven other areas under GCQ from Dec. 1 to 31, namely:

  1. Batangas
  2. Iloilo City
  3. Tacloban City
  4. Lanao del Sur
  5. Iligan City
  6. Davao City
  7. Davao del Norte

The rest of the country will remain under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ), the least restrictive of the government’s lockdown levels.

Source: Manila Bulletin

El Nido is now open for tourists

 

November 29, 2020

El Nido is finally welcoming local tourists of all ages outside the island province of Palawan under a test-before-travel policy.

Activities like island-hopping and scuba-diving will be allowed on the second phase of its reopening, provided it must be booked through an accredited travel and tour operator. But trips to mainland beaches are not yet an option.

To be allowed to enter the province, tourists must acquire a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) result two days before travel.

While tourists will be allowed to do island activities, meals will only be served at hotels and resorts. Food deliveries are also allowed. Metro Manila visitors, however, are still restricted when it comes to going to restaurants in town.

Tourists are also advised to book their tours, as well as their accommodation, at hotels and resorts that have already secured a Certificate of Authority to Operate (CAO) from the Department of Tourism (DOT).

Once finalized, all bookings, including the health declaration forms and valid identification cards (IDs), should be uploaded at the elnidotourism.ph/. The tourism office will issue a unique QR code for tourists who have been cleared for travel called QT-ID.

Source: Manila Bulletin

PH named world’s top dive destination, Intramuros is top tourist attraction

 

November 28, 2020

For the second year in a row, the Philippines was named as the World’s Leading Dive Destination by the 2020 World Travel Awards. 

The Philippines bested eight different popular dive hubs, such as the Azores Islands, Bora Bora, French Polynesia, Cayman Islands, Fiji, Galapagos Islands, Great Barrier Reef, Australia, Maldives, and Mexico.

Meanwhile, Intramuros was named for the first time as the World’s Leading Tourist Attraction, beating 15 different attractions, such as the Acropolis of Greece, Burj Khalifa of Dubai, the Grand Canyon National Park of the US, Mount Kilimanjaro of Tanzania, and Taj Mahal of India.

Source: Philippine News Agency

Visa-free entry for ‘balikbayans’ starting Dec. 7

 

November 28, 2020

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) announced that “balikbayans” will be allowed visa-free entry starting Dec. 7.

Balikbayans are former Filipinos and spouse and children of Filipinos or former Filipinos who are allowed visa-free entry under Executive Order No. 408.

The procedure requires inbound balikbayans to come from visa-free countries and have a pre-booked quarantine facility.

They must also have a pre-booked COVID-19 testing at the airport laboratory.

Morente also reminded that former Filipinos who wish to avail themselves of the balikbayan privilege should present their old Philippine passports or a copy of their birth certificate to the Immigration officer upon arrival, while their spouses and children shall present their marriage certificates and birth certificates, respectively.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Masungi Georeserve reopens to tourists

 

November 26, 2020

After months of closure due to the pandemic, the Masungi Georeserve in Rizal province has finally opened.

Guests are required to book their reservations at Masungi’s website, with the number per group limited to five to eight persons to observe minimum health protocols.

The entrance fee ranges from PHP1,500 to PHP1,800, with no testing required except if you are exhibiting symptoms while already at the site.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Coron to welcome local tourists starting Dec. 1

 

November 24, 2020

Brace yourselves… Coron Island will start accepting local tourists beginning December 1.

Based on the approved guidelines and protocols for prospective visitors to Coron, Palawan, any Filipino citizen or foreigner residing in the Philippines aged 15 to 65 may enter the island for leisure purposes.

Tourists must book via a DOT-certified accommodation establishment first. A negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) result within 48 to 72 hours before arrival is also required. Visitors must also register and fill up the required health declaration form, which may be accessed soon at www.corontourism.ph.

Once the registration is approved, the visitor will be given a unique QR code, which will serve as a pass upon entry and while in Coron.

Upon check-in, the visitor needs to present the negative RT-PCR test; roundtrip ticket, and confirmed booking itinerary.

All tourists will also undergo health assessment at the triage area of Francisco Reyes Airport in Coron, Palawan.

If symptomatic, antigen testing will be required with a fee of PHP3,500 to be paid by the tourist, and once tested positive, the tourist will be isolated in a hotel isolation room.

Coron will be implementing a 50% carrying capacity for destinations with corresponding minimum health protocols implemented.

Last October 30, El Nido also expanded its travel bubble to more areas allowed for tourism activities.

Source: Philippine News Agency

Ilocos Sur reopens to Luzon tourists

 

November 22, 2020

Another Philippine tourism news that will light up the travelers. Ilocos Sur is welcoming Luzon tourists!

Ilocos Sur first welcomed back tourists from Ilocos region and Baguio City with the launch of the ridge and reef corridor last month.

A maximum of 50 visitors per day will be allowed to ensure effective crowd control aside from the strict implementation of minimum health protocols.

Tourists will be required to present several documents upon arrival at the border of Tagudin and Sinait towns, such as a negative swab test result within 48 hours prior to their travel, a digital or printed SafePass QR code, a confirmed itinerary from a DOT-accredited tour and travel agency, a DOT-accredited accommodation and transport booking as well as a government-issued ID.

Visitors will be required to take an antigen test upon arrival. Those who intend to stay for more than three days must take another antigen test on their fourth day, which is valid for another three-day stay.

The DOT said 18 tourist sites in Ilocos Sur are now open. Ten diving spots will also be opened to the public. These include the Heritage Village in Calle Crisologo, Ilocos Sur Adventure Zone, Caniaw Heritage, and Forest Park, Nuestra Senora De La Asuncion Church, Pinsal Falls, Moro Watch Tower, Hidden Garden, Baluarte Zoo, and the Ilocos Sur Dancing Fountain. Ten diving spots in different barangays will likewise be opened to the public.

Source: Philippine Star

Siargao is now open for local tourists

 

November 21, 2020

This is not a drill. The Philippines’ surfing capital, Siargao Island, is now open for domestic tourists.

The reopening was also confirmed by Mayor Cecilia Ruson of the municipality of General Luna, Surigao del Norte through a local executive order.

“This is encouraging news for everyone who loves the sea, especially the surfers. As Siargao reopens to travelers, subject to minimum health and safety standards, the people of the island will regain their livelihood and share their paradise to our kababayans once more with the same level of hospitality they have always been known for,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.

Flights to Siargao will resume on December 1, the DOT said, allowing travelers from outside the region to visit the teardrop-shaped island through Sayak Airport near the barangays of Del Carmen and General Luna.

Source: Department of Tourism

Cebu City eyes new outdoor tours to attract more visitors

 

November 18, 2020

The Cebu City Tourism Commission (CCTC) plans to offer new tourism products to travelers visiting the provincial capital.

CCTC chairperson Jocelyn Pesquera said they will be developing coastal tours in the city, which is hoped to become a new tourist draw as the industry eventually recovers next year. They are looking to take advantage of the city’s long coastline stretching from the South Road Properties, which is seeing rapid commercial developments, to the city’s ports in the downtown areas.

Development works for the coastline tour project are expected to take off in 2021, Pesquera said in a statement.

In addition, developing mountain tours will also be prioritized to offer tourists more outdoor experiences.

Pesquera said they also plan to expand tour routes that would explore the city’s historical connections to the American and Japanese era.

Source: Philippine News Agency

 

November 10, 2020

More than 7,200 hotels, resorts, and other accommodation establishments (AEs) have been authorized by the Department of Tourism (DOT) to operate under different quarantine classifications and cater to different types of travelers, depending on their location and purpose.

“Not only will a Certificate of Authority to Operate (CAO) or a provisional CAO from DOT indicate the allowable operation of accommodation establishments, it likewise adds to guests’ confidence, knowing that these establishments have been inspected and are compliant with our protocols that follow globally-recognized health and safety standards.” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.

Puyat said that the regions with the highest number of hotels and resorts issued with CAOs and PCAOs by the DOT are Region 4-A with 1,303, Region 3 with 830, and Region 1 with 806.

Meanwhile, inbound travel to the Philippines for tourism remains restricted. Puyat said the DOT shall continue its coordination with national government agencies under the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), local government units (LGUs), and stakeholders to safely reopen more destinations for domestic tourism, and steer the industry to recovery.

The Secretary likewise encourages accommodation and other tourism-related establishments to apply for DOT accreditation which remains free-of-charge and can now be done online through an Online Accreditation System that the agency launched in September.

Source: Department of Tourism

PH hailed as Asia’s leading beach and diving destination

 

November 3, 2020

It looks like we already know where to travel after the pandemic.

The 27th World Travel Awards recognized the Philippines as Asia’s leading beach destination and Asia’s leading dive destination in 2020.

The award-giving body also declared the Department of Tourism (DOT) as this year’s leading tourist board in Asia, besting 11 nominated countries.

This is the Philippines’ fourth time to win Asia’s Leading Beach Destination and the second time to win Asia’s Leading Dive Destination, following a number of nominations for categories since 2006. And this is the second time for the DOT to win Asia’s Leading Tourist Board.

Meanwhile, both the Philippines and the DOT have the following remaining nominations under the world category of the 27th World Travel Awards:

  • World’s Leading Beach Destination 2020: Philippines
  • World’s Leading Dive Destination 2020: Philippines
  • World’s Leading Island Destination 2020: Siargao
  • World’s Leading Tourist Board 2020: The Philippines, Department of Tourism
  • World’s Leading Tourist Attraction 2020: Intramuros

Source: DOT, Philippine News Agency

Intramuros is Asia’s Leading Tourist Attraction

 

November 3, 2020

The World Travel Awards on Wednesday hailed the famed walled city of Manila, Intramuros, as Asia’s leading tourist attraction in 2020.

This recognition comes a day after the award-body recognized the Philippines as Asia’s leading beach destination and leading dive destination.

Source: Philippine Star

Travel PH app launched to keep tourists updated on open destinations

 

Photo credits to app.philippines.travel

October 30, 2020

The Department of Tourism and the attached agency Tourism Promotions Board launched “Travel Philippines” – the country’s official travel app which provides users access to the latest travel advisories and safety guidelines in various destinations that have reopened to tourism.

The travel app allows users to create itineraries for their future trips, find up-to-date information on their favorite tourist attractions, and securely store digital copies of travel documents.

The app works online and offline and has the capability to run on all the known devices and browsers such as desktop and tablet, among others.

The app during the launching featured six major tourist destinations that are now allowing the entry of local tourists – Palawan, Boracay, Bohol, Baguio, Ilocos Norte, and Metro Manila. Readers can access the app here.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Palawan, Boracay listed among world’s most beautiful places

 

October 30, 2020

Two of the Philippines’ famous destinations Palawan and Boracay are eighth and 18th, respectively, in the list of “50 Most Beautiful Places in the World” by Big Seven Travel, edging some of the world’s strongest contenders and tourist magnets such as Venice, Italy (43rd), Cappadocia, Turkey (30th), Angkor Wat, Cambodia (26th), and Paris, France (24th).

The global travel site praised Palawan’s “immaculate string of islands” and mentioning Boracay that it is one of the world’s top destinations for rest and recreation.

Boracay opened its shores to domestic tourists, including from those in areas under general community quarantine last October 1. Palawan, on the other hand, is currently assessing its El Nido-Manila travel bubble launched in July 2020 and expanded on Friday. 

Source: Philippine News Agency

Bohol will reopen to local tourists starting November 15

 

October 29, 2020

Latest Philippine Tourism News: Starting November 15, Bohol will reopen to local tourists as long as they test negative for COVID-19.

Bohol Governor Arthur Yap said tourists who plan to visit the island must present a 72-hour negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) COVID-19 test result prior to entering the province.

“So if you have a valid negative PCR test result to COVID, then you can register, let us know about that, mabibigyan kayo ng QR [quick response] code. You will use that QR code to register then you can now book your stay with accredited establishments,” Yap explained.

Local tourists can register and get their QR codes via tourism.bohol.gov.ph.

Yap noted that do-it-yourself trips are not allowed, but the local government will provide guided itineraries to travelers.

Keep following ZEN Rooms for the latest travel updates in the Philippines.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Related article: Bohol Itinerary: Best Places to Visit and Budget Guide All in One

GCQ in Metro Manila extended by a month, until Nov. 30

October 27, 2020

Latest Philippines travel news: President Rodrigo Duterte once again extended the implementation of the general community quarantine (GCQ) in Metro Manila for another month.

In a taped interview, the president said that the National Capital Region (NCR) will be under GCQ until November 30. 

Aside from Metro Manila, also under GCQ until the end of next month are the provinces of Batangas and Lanao del Sur, and the cities of Iloilo, Bacolod, Tacloban, and Iligan.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

El Nido expands travel bubble starting Oct. 30—DOT

 

October 26, 2020

El Nido is easing its travel restrictions to welcome more tourists, including Manila residents, starting October 30, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said. 

The expanded travel bubble would allow tourists to enter the island, provided they undergo and submit a negative RT-PCR test result at least 72 hours before their trip.

No specific information has been released yet by the DOT as local authorities iron out details for the travel bubble’s expansion.

“There are nine establishments for now that have obtained a Certificate of Authority to Operate (CAO) and 27 establishments with Provisional Certificate of Authority to Operate (PCAO) from the DOT and which may start accommodating guests,” DOT said.

Source: Philippine News Agency

PH reopens doors to foreigners, particularly those with investor visas starting Nov. 1

 

October 26, 2020

Latest Philippines travel news: Starting November 1, the Philippines is reopening its doors for certain foreigners, particularly those with investor visas.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the foreigners allowed to enter the country must still abide by certain conditions set by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases (IATF) such as having valid and existing visas as well as a pre-booked quarantine facility.

The latest decision on easing travel restrictions on some foreigners was contained in IATF Resolution No. 80 following a meeting via video conference Thursday.

Also allowed entry to the Philippines are foreigners with the 47(a)(2) visas issued by the Department of Justice as well as those visas issued by the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Authority and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, according to Roque.

Roque said the foreigners must have valid and existing visas at the time of entry as well as a pre-booked accredited quarantine facility.

In addition, they must be subject to the maximum capacity of inbound passengers at the port and date of entry as well as abide by the country’s immigration laws, rules, and regulations.

Roque clarified that the government has not yet relaxed its entry restrictions on foreign tourists.

Source: Manila Bulletin

ZEN Rooms will keep you posted on this latest travel update in Philippines

Ilocos Sur to welcome more tourists from Luzon starting Nov. 15

 

October 23, 2020

Starting Nov. 15, Ilocos Sur will reopen its doors to more tourists from Luzon “once all systems and health and safety measures are in place,” the Department of Tourism (DOT) said.

Ilocos Sur first welcomed back tourists through a travel corridor linking the province with Baguio City, La Union, Pangasinan, and Ilocos Norte.

Some of the tourist destinations in Ilocos Sur are the Vigan Heritage Village and Calle Crisologo, Plaza Salcedo Dancing Fountain, Bantay Bell Tower, Santa Maria Church, and Plaza Burgos.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

DOT-Bicol plans reopening of tourism sites to ‘outsiders’

 

October 23, 2020

DOT-Bicol said plans are being ironed out in consultation with local government units and industry stakeholders, especially with regard to their respective travel and health protocols in case the different tourism sites are reopened to domestic travelers.

Some LGUs were amenable to reopening their tourism sites to visitors from other regions on conditions that travel and health protocols are strictly enforced. Camarines Sur has agreed to open their tourism destination, DOT-Bicol added.

The opening of the tourism sites would take place soon once the agreement with LGUs and the BRTC is approved.

Last month, 104 sites across the region were opened including beach resorts, island destinations, natural tourism areas (mountain, waterfalls, and river cruising), cultural and historical places, and landmark sites, but only to Bicolanos.

Source: Philippine News Agency

Metro Manila mayors recommend GCQ in NCR until year-end

October 21, 2020

Metro Manila mayors are seeking to keep NCR (National Capital Region) under GCQ (General Community Quarantine) until Dec 31, 2020.

The announcement came from Metro Manila Development Authority General Manager, Jojo Garcia, who said that keeping the NCR in GCQ was discussed in a meeting that had 17 local chief executives and several members from IATF Inter-Agency Task Force.

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez was also consulted and he agreed that keeping the NCR in GCQ while slowly relaxing the rules is the safest way to open the economy.

The Metro Manila mayors will submit a recommendation to the IATF which will then be presented for recommendation to President Duterte.

Aside from the above,  quarantine restrictions on people aged 18-65 will also be eased for and they will be allowed to leave their homes for non-essential travel.

In the coming days until Christmas, Metro Manila cities and municipalities, except for Navotas, are also set to shorten the curfew timings to 12 AM – 4 AM.

Source: CNN Philippines

Coron, Palawan possible to welcome local tourists again this October

 

October 19, 2020

Good News! Coron, Palawan may very soon open for local tourists!

In an announcement posted by Coron’s municipal tourism office, town residents will be allowed to engage in tourism activities beginning October 26, while those coming from the Calamian Island group will be permitted to enter the area starting November 16. The tentative reopening date for tourists nationwide is on December 1.

“We’re waiting for the approval from the regional IATF. Once approved, we have to prepare for the airport. We have to meet with the airline [companies], and of course the business establishments,” Mayor Mario Reyes Jr. said.

No guidelines were announced yet.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Metro Manila, Cagayan Valley, Region 3 residents allowed to visit Baguio starting Oct. 22

 

October 17, 2020

Starting October 22, Metro Manila, Cagayan Valley, Region 3 residents will be allowed to visit Baguio.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the maximum of 200 guests allowed in Baguio per day shall still be implemented to ensure proper visitor management.

New health and safety measures on the reopening will be finalized in coordination with the technical working group of the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), she said.

The city government of Baguio has also decided to relax its documentary requirements for tourists in its Baguio Visitor Information and Travel Assistance or “VISITA.”

Visitors are no longer required to book their itineraries through a DoT-accredited tour agency. However, they will still be required to book in a DoT-accredited accommodation establishment issued with a Certificate Authority to Operate

Source: Manila Bulletin

Philippines Lifts Ban on Non-Essential Outbound Travels Starting October 21

 

October 16, 2020

The Philippines has lifted its ban on non-essential outbound travel effective October 21, Malacañang said Friday.

Filipinos traveling abroad must present the following:

  • Submission of confirmed roundtrip tickets
  • Adequate travel and health insurance for those traveling in tourist visas
  • Execution of an immigration declaration acknowledging the risks involved in traveling
  • Negative Antigen result taken within 24 hours before departure, subject to the Department of Health guidelines 

Upon their return, Filipino travelers must adhere to the protocols set by the National Task Force for OFWs. Included in this are mandatory COVID-19 testing and quarantine until they turn up negative for the virus.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Diving now allowed in Batangas—DOT

 

October 14, 2020

Batangas is now accepting guests for recreational diving according to the Department of Tourism.

“Dive establishments in Batangas Province, insofar as the area is still under General Community Quarantine (GCQ), are hereby determined to be permitted to accept guests for Recreational Diving, taking into consideration the general preparedness of the area and its impact on the tourism industry,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.

While guests of all ages from GCQ and modified GCQ areas are welcome, the activity is off-limits to those with comorbidities and currently pregnant, she added.

Source: Philippine News Agency

DOT issued guidelines for recreational diving under ‘new normal’

 

October 13, 2020

As the country eases into the reopening of sports tourism activities with the easing of quarantine restrictions, the Department of Tourism has issued health and safety rules for recreational diving.

The guidelines require guests to bring their own set of scuba gear and equipment box. Divers are reminded of the liberal use of hand disinfectants and hand washing throughout the day, the practice of physical distancing and the wearing of protective face masks when not on an actual dive.

Even when on dive boats, boat crew and passengers must wear face masks and observe physical distancing. Dive boats must also be disinfected before and after use.

The dive establishments are also required to provide a defog solution consisting of soap or shampoo for guests to use on their dive masks. Spitting on the mask or the use of saliva as a defogger is prohibited.

“Violation of any of these guidelines will subject the dive establishments to appropriate fines and penalties, including the revocation of PCSSD accreditation,” Puyat said.

Distance learning or e-learning in teaching the theory part of the dive course is also encouraged. Dive schools are also advised to use current technology and digital platforms and to refer to their certifying agencies for further instruction, available materials, and training techniques.

In case physical training is unavoidable, classrooms may be set up according to physical distancing requirements. Smaller classes with a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio are highly encouraged.

Source: Philippine News Agency

Ilocos Norte to reopen for Luzon tourists on October 15

 

October 9, 2020

Starting October 15, Ilocos Norte will welcome travelers from Luzon. 

Ilocos Norte Gov. Matthew Marcos Manotoc said the province is ready to welcome visitors from Luzon, even those coming from areas that are under general community quarantine, after seven months of closure to tourists since the declaration of enhanced community quarantine across Luzon.

Ilocos Norte only set an initial target number of 50 tourists per day in a bid to prevent COVID-19 spread.

All tourists are required to secure a travel authority, medical certificate, accomplish a health declaration form not earlier than 48 hours before departure for Ilocos Norte using the Stay IN app, and show a negative rapid antigen test within 48 hours before arrival at the border checkpoint. Said original documents and IDs must be presented at the border for verification.

Source: Department of Tourism

Dive tourism in GCQ, MGCQ areas given green light

October 9, 2020

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has allowed dive shops and resorts in “special areas” under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ to accept tourists traveling for recreational diving.

Based on IATF resolution No. 78, tourists covered by the soon-to-be issued guidelines are those from similar community classification or GCQ and MGCQ areas.

The agency is also instructed to take into consideration the general preparedness of the area and its impact on the tourism industry. Also included in the guidelines would be the test-before-travel requirement.

No specific destinations were identified yet by the DOT as of this posting.

Source: Philippine News Agency

Cebu, Palawan, Siargao, and Boracay named among top 10 islands in Asia

October 7, 2020

The Philippines did it again!

International travel magazine Condé Nast Traveler has named Cebu and Visayan Islands the best island in Asia in its 2020 Readers’ Choice Awards.

“Cebu draws nearly 2 million travelers annually for its pristine beaches and diving off the island’s northern coast. Spanish and Roman Catholic influences permeate Cebu City; Basilica Minore del Santo Niño houses a small statue of Christ that was presented by Ferdinand Magellan,” said travel writer Caitlin Morton.

The islands of Palawan, Siargao, and Boracay also made it to the top 10 in Asia list, ranking fourth, fifth, and sixth, respectively, to give the Philippines the most slots in the ranking of the prestigious international travel magazine.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Pagudpud resorts ready for tourists

October 6, 2020

Resort owners in Pagudpud town in Ilocos Region are ready to host tourists with great optimism they can recover from their losses due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Tourism stakeholders are gearing up to host visitors again but they have to comply with government regulations to ensure that tourists will not be bringing infection in the province.

Since the Oct. 1 gradual opening of tourism in the province for Region 1 and Baguio City residents, Provincial Tourism Officer Aianree Raquel said tourists have started to come in but they are limiting the entry of visitors to 50 persons per day only.

“We want to start slowly but surely,” said Raquel, adding it may take some time for people from the tourism industry to bounce back to normal.

Source: Philippine News Agency

Boracay visitors may get up to 75% discount on room rates—Aklan gov

October 5, 2020

Good news for Boracay visitors! Tourists can get up to 75% discount on room rates in Boracay Island, Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores said.

Miraflores said tour operators and establishments in Boracay agreed to offer the discount to “offset” the cost of the COVID-19 testing, which is among the requirements for visitors of the world-famous island resort.

Tourists who want to visit Boracay must have a negative RT-PCR test result not earlier than 48 hours before they travel. This rule, however, exempts Aklan residents.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Palawan-based tourists may now visit El Nido

October 1, 2020

Palawan-based tourists, both foreign and local, may now travel to El Nido following an executive order from the local government unit (LGU). 

But Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said El Nido Resorts is the only establishment on the island which allows tourists from general community quarantine areas (GCQ) like Metro Manila since its soft reopening in July.

Tourists will be required to undergo the usual mandatory health checks and are asked to comply with the government’s minimum public health and safety standards. 

They are also required to accomplish health declaration forms through the El Nido tourism website or using the QR code provided by the local tourism office. 

Pre-booked accommodation bookings at accredited hotels and other establishments are also a must.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Bohol may reopen to tourists in November — governor

October 1, 2020

Bohol will reopen to tourists from across the country possibly in November, according to Governor Arthur Yap.

But only Panglao Island will be initially opened for tourists, Yap said. According to him, this will serve as a trial to determine effective measures that they can also implement in more destinations when they open.

The tourism in Bohol opened on June 21 but for the residents of the province only, Yap said.

Source: GMA News

PNP travel authority no longer needed for local tourists visiting Boracay

September 30, 2020

Local tourists who plan to visit Boracay Island beginning Oct. 1 no longer have to secure a travel authority from the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said a negative result from a real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test at least 48 to 72 hours prior to travel would suffice.

Local tourists are also required to accomplish online health declaration forms and confirmed accommodation bookings prior to check-in.

The Department of Tourism also advised travelers to keep the tourist QR codes that were developed to access services in Boracay Island.

Last month, DOT announced that Boracay will reopen for tourists starting Oct. 1.

Source: Manila Bulletin

 

DOT releases guidelines for ‘staycation’ in GCQ areas

September 29, 2020

The Department of Tourism (DOT) has issued strict guidelines for “staycations” as part of the government efforts to re-start the economy through tourism.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat signed the administrative order which allows “staycations” for persons of all ages, except those with underlying medical conditions, within areas under general community quarantine (GCQ).

Here are the guidelines in the administrative order:

  1. Negative antigen results – Guests are required to present negative antigen test results from a rapid antigen test conducted on the day of check-in.
  2. Cashless transaction – Contactless and cashless transactions are mandatory for taking bookings and payments to promote minimal physical contact among staff and guests.
  3. DOT Certificate of Authority to Operate – For establishments under GCQ, this certificate must be secured from the DOT. They should follow a strict set of guidelines on guest handling, including the maximum number of guests per room and other safety protocols.
  4. Reopening of other function areas – According to the administrative order, hotels and other establishments may now also reopen their gyms, swimming pools, restaurants, and other beverage outlets aside from bars, which are prohibited in areas under GCQ.

Source: Philippine News Agency

ZEN Rooms will keep you updated on this latest staycation travel update in Philippines. 

Bohol might reopen for tourism in October —Palace

September 28, 2020

Bohol province might welcome tourists again next month, Malacañang said Monday.

“I understand Bohol might be opening soon, within the month of October, if I’m not mistaken. So unti-unti naman pong nagbubukas ang ating mga tourist spots,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a televised briefing.

Source: GMA News

Metro Manila and other areas stay under GCQ until October 31

September 28, 2020

Metro Manila and several areas will remain under general community quarantine (GCQ) October 31 after President Rodrigo Duterte approved the recommendation of the government’s coronavirus task force to keep these areas under GCQ.

Aside from NCR, Bacolod, Tacloban, Iloilo City, Batangas and Iligan will also stay under GCQ.

Lanao del Sur will be under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) for the duration, while the rest of the country will remain under or shift to the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

Source: Rappler

DOT Issues Advisory To Hotels For Staycations Under GCQ

 

September 28, 2020

DOT on Sep 27, issued an advisory to DOT-star hotels in the National Capital Region regarding staycations under General Community Quarantine (GCQ). 

A memo was released on Sunday by DOT-NCR Regional Director Woodrow Maquiling Jr. which said that 4-star and 5-star hotels may send their Letter of Intent (LOI) if they wish to participate in the staycation program approved by Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) against COVID-19 and the department. 

Upon receiving an LOI, the Department will then physically inspect the property and if everything is found in order, it will issue a Certificate of Authority to Operate for Staycation (CAOS). 

About two weeks ago, DOT said it received approval from the government’s pandemic response task force to allow staycations or short-term leisure stays in hotels. 

“That marks the beginning of the reopening of our tourism industry here in Manila,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Palace press briefing.

Tourism in the Philippines was badly hit due to COVID-19 restrictions however this initiative by the DOT brings a sigh of relief to the tourism industry that wants to bounce back. 

Source: ABS-CBN

Boracay now open for tourists nationwide starting Oct. 1—DOT

September 23, 2020

Starting October 1, Boracay Island will  accept visitors from all over the country. 

Tourists from places under a general community quarantine and modified GCQ classifications including Metro Manila will then be allowed to visit the island, but foreign tourists will remain prohibited.

“This development came as a result of a special meeting convened by the principals of the Boracay Interagency Task Force (BIATF) led by its Chairperson Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu and Co-Vice Chairpersons Interior and Local Government Secretary Ed Ano and Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat with Province of Aklan Governor Joeben Miraflores on 22 September,” the tourism department added.

DOT said they will implement a “Test Before Travel” rule, which requires all visitors to have a negative result of reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) 48 to 72 hours prior to traveling to Boracay Island.

Travelers are also mandated to undergo “strict quarantine immediately after a test and until the time of travel to the island.”

The “Test Before Travel” regulation will also permit tourists from areas under general community quarantine status to visit the island, Puyat said.

Also, the DOT said travelers aged below 21 and above 60 years old are allowed to visit Boracay as long as they have no comorbidity or worse health conditions.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

80% of restaurants in Tagaytay reopen for tourists

September 21, 2020

Nearly 80% of food establishments in Tagaytay City have reopened for tourists in a bid to boost the city’s economy amid the pandemic.

Tagaytay administrator Gregorio Monreal said tourists are now allowed in the city as long as they follow minimum health standards like wearing face masks and observe physical distancing.

But senior citizens, those below 21 years old, and pregnant women will not be allowed to enter establishments.

Top tourist spots in Tagaytay City such as Picnic Grove, People’s Park, and Sky Ranch have likewise reopened to the public.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Region 1 ‘tourism bubble’ opens September 22

September 20, 2020

Starting September 22, tourism bubble will open in Region 1 covering the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union and Pangasinan, and this city.

City Tourism Officer Engr.  Alex Mapalo said the city will only accept tourists coming from these four provinces in Region 1 during phase 1 of the opening of its borders to visitors.

Tourists must pre-register at the online visitors registration system using the VIS.I.T.A application  (Visitors Information and Tourist Assistance) that is available on android and IOS.

Initially, only 200 tourists a day will be allowed in the city for easy monitoring of movement.

Guests, who may have relatives or friends in the city, will not be allowed to stay in residential homes, and are constrained to book hotel accommodations to abide by health sector recommendations, and keep residential areas free from travelers.

Source: Manila Bulletin

IATF okays Staycations in GCQ areas

September 12, 2020

In a bid to jumpstart tourism in the Philippines, staycations will soon be allowed after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) recently approved hotels to accommodate guests who would check-in for leisure purposes even if the area is under GCQ.

“Upon the recommendation of the Department of Tourism (DOT) to explore various ways in restarting tourism activities during quarantine, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) approved during its Principals Meeting on 10 September 2020 to allow staycations under GCQ,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.

She added that a staycation must involve a “minimum overnight stay for leisure purposes” in a DOT-accredited accommodation establishment located near one’s residence.

The DOT said they would soon issue a memorandum circular on staycations under GCQ based on comments and suggestions of the IATF-EID.

The memorandum circular would have specific regulations on all aspects involved in this activity, ranging from the maximum allowable number of persons in a guestroom to the use of ancillary services, such as restaurants and recreational areas.

Source: Philippine News Agency and Philippine Star

PH bags “Best Overseas Diving Award 2020”

September 4, 2020

The Philippines was awarded as the Best Overseas Diving Area in the Marine Diving Awards 2020 held recently in Tokyo.

Garnering 814 out of the 3,572 total votes cast by subscribers of the Marine Diving Magazine, the Philippines was number one for the first time in the Overseas Diving Category. The magazine cited the country as “the first pick for many diving lovers.”

“This award is a testimony that diving is more fun in the Philippines, with each underwater paradise offering a unique adventure and experience to behold, and return to. Our underwater landscape is a colorful kaleidoscope of nature’s living jewels, one that divers cannot find anywhere else,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo- Puyat said.

Source: Department of Tourism

3 PH destinations among the “spectacular diving sites” in the world

September 3, 2020

Not just one, but three Philippine destinations were included among the list of spectacular diving sites in the world by the largest travel guide book publisher, Lonely Planet.

These destinations are the Tubbataha Reefs National Park in Palawan, Amos Rock in Puerto Princesa City, and Moalboal in Cebu.

Source: Department of Tourism

Tagaytay opening its doors to tourists

September 6, 2020

Tagaytay City now welcomes tourists who would like to visit the place under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) status, City Administrator Gregorio Monreal said Saturday.

However, tourists should follow minimum health standards including physical distancing, and wearing of face masks. Monreal added that checkpoints at entry points to Tagaytay will be maintained.

Private vehicles traveling to and from Tagaytay will be allowed provided that physical distancing is observed inside the vehicle, Tolentino added.

Source: GMA News

DOT prepares for ‘gradual re-opening’ of tourist spots

September 5, 2020

The Department of Tourism (DOT)  said it has been working with local government units, concerned agencies, and stakeholders to gradually reopen the country’s tourism industry “consistent with the President’s direction.”

They also added that its regional offices have already identified several tourism circuits that can be reopened in light of the new normal.

“Similar to the Ridge to Reef Corridor of Baguio City with the Provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union and Pangasinan, these circuits may either be inter-region or inter-provinces depending on the readiness of the local governments to accept new visitors,” the DOT said.

The DOT said it expects the granular resumption of domestic tourism by the last quarter of this year and until the first six month of 2021. It also foresees regional international visitors by the second half of 2021, once border controls are lifted by other countries.

Source: Manila Bulletin

NCR remains under GCQ; 3 cities revert to stricter quarantine measures until September 30

August 31, 2020

President Duterte decided to keep the National Capital Region (NCR) and the provinces of Bulacan and Batangas under the general community quarantine (GCQ) while three other areas revert to stricter quarantine measures until September 30.

In his speech, President Duterte approved the recommendation of the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to keep the following areas under GCQ for the entire month of September:

  • Metro Manila
  • Bulacan
  • Batangas

While the following areas revert to stricter quarantine measures:

  • Iligan City from modified GCQ (MGCQ) to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ)
  • Bacolod City (from MGCQ to GCQ)
  • Tacloban City (from MGCQ to GCQ)

All places not mentioned are under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ).

Source: Manila Bulletin

BI allows foreigners with visas to leave PH anytime

August 31, 2020

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has again eased its requirements for departing foreigners to prevent crowding in immigration offices as the COVID-19 cases continue to surge.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said foreign nationals with visas approved by the BI may now leave the country before they could be issued their alien certificate of registration identity card (ACR I-Card). According to Morente, they will no longer require departing aliens with approved and implemented visas to secure an ACR I-Card waiver order.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Baguio City to open tourism in September to local residents only

August 30, 2020

Baguio City government is planning to reopen all the parks, and the night market, as well as resume with the weekly pedestrianization of Session Road in September for local residents only. But the reopening of tourism for visitors, especially those coming from Manila or elsewhere remains suspended.

No specific date has been set yet for the reopening of tourism this month.

Source: Manila Bulletin

5 nations lift inbound travel restrictions on Filipinos amid pandemic

August 23, 2020

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has received reports that five new countries have lifted inbound restrictions on Filipino travelers, subject to medical protocols such as proof of purchase of health insurance, institutional or home quarantine, and presentation of a negative COVID-19 test result, among others.

In an advisory, the DFA said that these countries are Brazil, Kiribati, United Kingdom, Benin, and Chad.

On the other hand, while general entry is not yet allowed in Canada, Armenia, Slovak Republic, and Kuwait, these countries have imposed stricter medical protocols for those who are exempt from entry restrictions such as their returning citizens, diplomatic, and United Nations passport holders.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal back to GCQ until August 31

August 17, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte has returned Metro Manila and nearby provinces to a general community quarantine (GCQ) from August 19-31 as proposed by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases.

The following areas will be under GCQ are Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Nueva Ecija, Batangas, Quezon, Iloilo City, Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu City, Mandaue City, Talisay City in Cebu, and the municipalities of Minglanilla and Consolacion.

The rest of the country will be under modified GCQ.

Under GCQ, more establishments will be allowed to open at varying levels of capacity.

Among the industries that could resume full operations are the following:

  • agriculture
  • fishery
  • forestry
  • food manufacturing and its entire supply chain
  • food retail (supermarket, market, and restaurant for takeout and delivery only),
  • healthcare (hospitals, clinics, drugstores)
  • logistics
  • information technology
  • telecommunications
  • media

Establishments that could operate at 50-100% capacity:

  • mining and other manufacturing
  • export-oriented
  • e-commerce companies
  • delivery for essential and non-essential items
  • repair and maintenance services
  • housing and office services

For these establishments, a 50% onsite work and 50% work from home arrangement would be implemented

  • financial services
  • business process outsourcing
  • legal and accounting and auditing services
  • professional, scientific, technical and other non-leisure services
  • other non-leisure wholesale and retail establishments

Face shields now required for international, domestic passengers

August 15, 2020

All international and domestic passengers are required to wear face shields aside from face masks.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr)  issued a directive mandating face shields in public transportation. All passengers are required to wear face masks upon arrival at the airport and wear the face shields prior boarding the aircraft. Aside from wearing masks and face shields, passengers are also required to bring their negative COVID-19 results or certification and present to airline staff at the counters.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Kadayawan Festival to be staged online

August 10, 2020

The celebration of “Kadayawan sa Dabaw” will be done online from August 17 to 24, a first in the 35 years since Davao City’s grandest and most colorful festival began.

In an interview with  Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5), Mayor Sara Duterte said the local government has lined up a few activities for the Dabawenyos, which could be viewed through Facebook live and Zoom, in celebration of Kadayawan this month.

Duterte highlighted the importance of pursuing the festival even online as it was a celebration of bountiful harvest and of the cultural diversity of the indigenous peoples.

Source: Manila Bulletin

 

Baguio eyes reopening of tourism in September

August 9, 2020

Baguio City tourism office announced on social media of their plans to gradually re-open tourism, with regulated, controlled entry and monitored movement, by September.

Tourists will be required to pre-register through the Baguio VIS.I.T.A. (Visitor Information & Travel Assistance), an online registration system to help the city operation center for list of tourists who wish to visit the city. Once the tourist registers online, they will see the guidelines on how to proceed.

Among the requirements are to pre-book accommodation, preferably through accredited tour operators, and tourists should declare their itinerary.

Tourists are also required upon entry to undergo mandatory triage and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing, the expense for which would be shouldered by the tourist. The tourist will also have to stay in the hotel until the results are released.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Hundred Islands now open to all Pangasinan residents

August 9, 2020

The famous Hundred Islands National Park (HINP) is now open to all Pangasinan residents with the continued modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) status in effect in the province, provided they comply with set requirements and health protocols.

Only residents of Pangasinan, aged between 21 and 59 years old, will be allowed to visit the HINP.

Source: Manila Bulletin

No public transport allowed under MECQ — DOTr

August 3, 2020

Public transportation will be suspended anew in Metro Manila and other areas under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

Based on the guidelines of the Department of Transportation for public transport operations, only public shuttles will be allowed to transport frontline workers or those who will return to work in allowed industries under the MECQ.

This means that buses, jeepneys, taxis, ride-hailing services, as well as all railway systems such as PNR, LRT-1, LRT-2, and MRT-3 will not be allowed to operate and ferry commuters.

Source: Manila Bulletin

 

Whale shark watching in Oslob, Cebu resumes

August 2, 2020

Cebu has reopened the tourism industry in the town of Oslob, marking the start of the gradual recovery of one of the hardest-hit industries by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among the tourism activities that the province now allows include whale shark watching, snorkeling, trekking, diving, and island-hopping.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Traveling public are advised to secure complete documents before coming to Cebu port

August 2, 2020

The Cebu Port Authority (PCA) called on the traveling public to secure all the necessary documents and requirements to travel before coming to the ports as the government geared up for the resumption of travel of locally stranded individuals (LSIs), repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), and authorized persons outside residence (APOR). 

Each passenger will be required to present a medical certificate issued by the City or Municipal Health Office, a travel authority issued by the Philippine National Police (PNP), a letter of acceptance issued by the local chief executive of the receiving local government unit, a boat ticket, and a valid ID or any official document that sufficiently identifies the passenger. These will be presented at the Port Main Entrance of Pier 1 and Pier 3, otherwise, they will be refused entry into the port area.

Source: Manila Bulletin

IATF eases age restrictions on Boracay Island visitors

 

July 23, 2020

Inter-agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has eased the age limit restrictions for tourists entering Boracay Island in Aklan after the Departmen of Tourism requested to relax the age limit requirement for tourists.

But DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said even with the lifting of the ban on younger and older tourists, the existing policy on allowing only residents of Western Visayas region to visit the island remains. This means that only residents from the provinces of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, and Negros Occidental can go to Boracay.

Source: Manila Bulletin

IATF approves essential outbound travel

July 23, 2020

Filipinos can now proceed with their essential overseas trips after IATF allowed essential outbound travel.

Based on IATF Resolution No. 57, essential outbound travel of Filipinos is now allowed but subject to the following condition

  1. The execution of a Bureau of Immigration (BI) declaration acknowledging the risks involved in traveling, including the risk of delay in their return trip, to be provided for in the check-in counters by the airlines.
  2. Upon return, they shall follow the Guidelines of Returning Overseas Filipinos of the National Task Force.
  3. The omnibus guidelines of the IATF on interzonal travel were likewise amended to allow Filipinos leaving for abroad to pass through checkpoints subject to the presentation of sufficient supporting documents.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Non-essential overseas travel of Filipinos, suspended anew

July 23, 2020

Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has temporarily banned non-essential outbound travels of Filipinos because only one travel insurance in the Philippines agreed to adhere with the conditions to cover rebooking, accommodation expenses and hospitalization should a traveler contract the virus Malacañang sokesperson Harry Roque said.

Roque, however, noted that travelers with confirmed bookings as of July 20 will be allowed to fly out of the country.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Philippines named “Best Diving Area, Overseas”

July 20, 2020

After Palawan has been named the “Best Island in the World,” the Philippines is set to receive another international award as it was named as the “Best Diving Area, Overseas” in the 2020 Marine Diving Awards in Japan. Subscribers of one of Japan’s leading magazines, Marine Diving, voted the Philippines as the Best Diving Area, Overseas.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Foreigners with long-term visas may again enter PH

July 18, 2020

Starting August 1, the government will allow foreign nationals with long-term visas to enter the Philippines.

Foreigners with long-term visas who wish to travel to the country should have valid and existing visas at the time of entry. “However, no new entry visa application shall be accepted,” the IATF said.

Foreigners should also pre-book an accredited quarantine facility and a COVID-19 testing provider.

IATF also added that their entry into the country is also subject to the maximum capacity of inbound passengers at the port and date of entry.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

GCQ in Metro Manila is extended until July 31

 

July 15, 2020

Metro Manila will stay under general community quarantine (GCQ) until July 31 after President Rodrigo Duterte rejected the proposals to place NCR under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

According to Malacañang spokesman Harry Roque, Duterte initially agreed to return NCR to the more stringent MECQ as proposed by UP to curtail the further spread of the respiratory disease.

However, Roque said the president changed his mind after COVID-19 response Chief Implementer Carlito Galvez and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año appealed to keep NCR under GCQ, which has been its status for six weeks now, citing the promise of the region’s mayors to implement stricter enforcement of health protocols and quarantine restrictions.

Source: GMA News

Cebu City placed under MECQ

 

July 15, 2020

Meanwhile, Cebu City lockdown downgraded to MECQ from ECQ until July 31. Despite the easing of restrictions, Roque explained city residents would be allowed only to go out for essential travels like buying necessities or going to work if they belong to an industry whose members were already allowed to resume work. Public gatherings would still be prohibited, except for those with only five people.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Palawan recognized as “Best Island in the World”

July 13, 2020

And so Palawan once again, named as the Best Island in the World by international travel magazine Travel + Leisure!

Palawan scored 94.83 in the survey of the magazine to regain the “Best Island in the World” title. Last year, it placed second. The Department of Tourism also highlighted that Palawan has so far topped the World’s Best Islands list four times already.

Aside from Palawan, Boracay also made it to the list, placing 14th with a score of 88.22.

This is the third time that the Philippines was recognized since community quarantines were implemented due to the COVID–19 pandemic. Forbes magazine ranked the Philippines among the seven countries “that have the potential to become a major tourist destination in a post–COVID world”; Last month, Condé Nast Traveler (CNT) cited the Hidden Beach in El Nido, Palawan, as one of the 30 Best Beaches in the World.

Source: Travel + Leisure and Department of Tourism

Travel ban on Filipinos now lifted

July 7, 2020

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has allowed non-essential travel for Filipinos, Malacañang said on July 7.

Malacañang Spokesperson Harry Roque said travel of Filipinos abroad would now be allowed provided that traveling individuals adhere to certain conditions, which include the following:

-Submission of confirmed roundtrip tickets for those traveling on tourist visas

-Adequate travel health insurance to cover rebooking and accommodation expenses

-Allowed entry by the destination country in accordance with travel, health and quarantine restrictions

-Execution of a Declaration acknowledging the risk of the travel

Source: Philippine News Agency, GMA News, and Philippine Daily Inquirer

 

DFA: 31 countries have lifted inbound border restrictions on Filipinos

July 5, 2020

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirms that a total of 31 out of 177 countries and territories have already lifted the inbound border restrictions on Filipino travels, subject to medical protocols on arriving passengers. Among the newly-added countries who have recently opened their borders to Filipinos include Bahamas, Egypt, Ethiopia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Source: DFA

Malacañang: Travel agencies in GCQ areas can reopen

July 3, 2020

Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) have allowed travel agencies in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) to resume operations. Travel agencies, however, are limited to the use of a skeleton workforce once they reopen to the public

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

International flights at NAIA Terminal 3 resumes beginning July 8

July 3, 2020

Starting July 8, international flight operations at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 will finally resume, according to the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA).

Flights of All Nippon Airways (ANA), Air Asia Berhad (AK), Cathay Pacific (CX), Emirates (EK), KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM), Qatar Airways (QR), Singapore Airlines (SQ) and Turkish Airlines (TK) will arrive and depart from Terminal 3. International operations of other airlines assigned in Terminal 3 however remain suspended to date. These are Cebu Pacific, Delta Air, Qantas Airways, and United Airlines.

Meanwhile, NAIA Terminal 2 continues to service international arrival flights of Philippine Airlines. PAL international departures on the other hand operate from NAIA Terminal 1 as of now. Airlines assigned in NAIA Terminal 1 shall remain in Terminal 1. These airlines are Air China (CA), Air Niugini (PX), Asiana Airlines (OZ), China Airlines (CI), China Eastern (MU), China Southern (CZ), Etihad Airways (EY), Eva Air (BR), Ethiopian Airlines (ET), Gulf Air (GF), Hong Kong Airlines, Japan Airlines (JL), Jeju Air (7C), Jetstar Asia (3K), Jetstar Japan (GK), Korean Airlines (KE), Kuwait Airways (KU), Malaysian Airlines (MH), Oman Air (WY), Royal Brunei Airlines (BI), Saudia Airlines (SV), Scoot (TR), Thai Airways (TG) and Xiamen Air. Some foreign carriers operating in Manila also service repatriation flights.

Source: NAIA / MIAA

DFA: Filipinos now allowed to enter 25 countries

July 2, 2020

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Filipinos will be allowed to enter 25 countries that have lifted their border restrictions on Filipinos arriving from the Philippines for essential travel. These countries include the United States of America, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, and New Zealand.

The DFA said 78 other countries have eased their travel restrictions on Filipinos coming from the Philippines including Japan, Hong Kong, Canada, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Be sure to always check this blog for weekly updates about the travel situation in the Philippines.

Frequently Asked Questions About Philippines Travel News

Q: When will the Philippines reopen for tourists?

A: With the current situation, it’s really hard to tell when will the Philippines reopen for tourists. But like other countries in the world, the Philippines opens for tourism strategically. There are local destinations in the Philippines that are open for tourism but must follow certain guidelines to ensure safety.

Q: Is the Philippines open for travel?

A: Yes, the Philippines is open for travel but only domestic tourists are allowed. But note that not all local destinations are open for travelers. However, there are still Philippines travel restrictions in place so many local destinations are still closed for travelers. Among the destinations in Philippines open for tourism 2021 are Bohol, Boracay, Siargao, and Cebu. Make sure to always keep yourself updated with the latest Philippine travel news in this blog.

Q: Is the Philippines open for tourism for foreigners?

A: No. Foreigners, including those coming from the US, are currently prohibited from traveling to the Philippines especially for leisure purposes. To know if you’re eligible to travel, see this list.

Q: When will the Philippines reopen for international travel?

A: There’s no definite time as to when the Philippines reopen for international travel. But like other countries in the world, the Philippines is opening travel slowly but surely. Currently, the Philippine reopening only caters to domestic tourists but must follow certain guidelines to ensure safety.

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