Philippines Tourism News: NCR, 4 Other Provinces Under GCQ ‘with heightened restrictions’ Until July 31

makati philippines tourism news

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:

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

manila philippines tourism news
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

makati philippines tourism news

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

travelers at naia

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

Metro Manila GCQ News

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

willy's rock boracay

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

puerto princesa underground river

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

minesview park baguio tourist spots

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

boracay magagandang tanawin sa pilipinas

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

national museum of the philippines

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

magellan's cross 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

fort santiago manila

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

oslob cebu tourist spot in the philippines

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

covid vaccine

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

majestic view of boracay

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

panglao bohol

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

anawangin cove magagandang tanawin sa luzon
 
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

Camp John Hay to open for Baguio residents starting June 30

June 28, 2020

Some areas of Camp John Hay in Baguio City will be opened to Baguio residents starting June 30, according to the Baguio City Public Information Office (PIO).

Residents may use certain facilities of Camp John Hay every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 6 am to 7 pm starting June 30.

Source: GMA News

DOT eyes allowing foreign tourists from countries with low COVID-19 cases

 

June 26, 2020

The Department of Tourism (DOT) is eyeing the implementation of “travel bubbles” where foreign tourists from countries with low or zero COVID-19 cases will be allowed to visit select destinations in the Philippines.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Condé Nast Traveler names Hidden Beach one of the world’s 30 best beaches
 
June 22, 2020

Palawan does it again!

The Department of Tourism (DOT) celebrates the inclusion El Nido, Palawan’s Hidden Beach, in the prestigious luxury travel magazine Condé Nast Traveler’s (CNT) “The 30 Best Beaches in the World” feature released on June 21.

Hidden Beach was described as a piece of paradise concealed by “imposing limestone cliffs and with startlingly bone-white sand separated from the turquoise ocean by a small keyhole-like opening” where visitors could visit through climbing the small keyhole-like opening formed by the cliffs to access the mesmerizing lagoon.

Source: Manila Bulletin

‘Bubble tourism’ will be new norm in Philippines amid pandemic —TCP

 

June 19, 2020

The Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP) is looking at “bubble tourism” or limited travels between safe zones to gradually restart the industry while the country continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic.

During a Senate hearing, Senator Francis Tolentino raised that this has been practiced by New Zealand and Australia. He asked if the same can be expected in the country to resuscitate the tourism industry.

In a travel bubble, a set of countries agree to open their borders to each other but keep borders to all other countries closed.

Source: GMA News

Boracay reopens to tourists from Western Visayas

 

June 15, 2020

Here’s some great news! Starting June 16, Boracay Philippines reopening is happening and local tourists from Western Visayas will enjoy it. These are tourists from Aklan, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, and the cities of Iloilo and Bacolod. Natividad Bernardino, Boracay Inter-Agency Rehabilitation Management Group general manager, said Boracay could be opened to other local tourists if the island or Aklan can maintain its coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-free status. Let’s hope Boracay opens for the rest of the Philippines too. Can’t wait to enjoy the chill vibe and happening scenes at the most popular island in the Philippines. Till then, stay safe and stay home 🙂

Source: Philippine Star

 

LGUs allowed 23 more airports to operate commercial flights

June 15, 2020

23 airports have been allowed by local government units (LGUs) to operate for commercial flights amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP). In a Facebook post on Sunday, CAAP presented a list of airports that are allowed by their respective LGUs to have commercial flights. There was also a list of airports that have yet to receive the go-signal to operate.

Source: GMA News

PAL to resume 8 more domestic flights

June 10, 2020

Philippine Airlines (PAL) will resume eight more domestic flights in the next two weeks following the easing of Philippines travel restrictions: one additional daily flight from Manila to Cebu and back and one four-times-a-week flight on the same route starting June 15; A daily flight to Bacolod, a three-days-a-week flight to Caticlan and Roxas and a six-days-a-week fight to Iloilo will commence on June 16; and the Iloilo flight will operate daily starting June 22.

Also on June 10, a four-times-a-week flight to Dipolog will be mounted; this would be increased to five-days-a-week on June 22. Two twice-a-week Manila-Laoag-Manila flights will be mounted by PAL starting June 16, Villaluna said.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Forbes names PH one of rising stars in post-quarantine travel

 

June 4, 2020

With the current situation brought by the pandemic, many people are now eager and itching to travel once more and the excitement goes up after countries relax their travel restrictions, including the Philippines.

While the global tourism scene is on hold right now because of the pandemic, the Philippines continues to grab attention from the world stage because of the country’s undoubtedly beauty.

Forbes Magazine recently named the Philippines as one of the rising stars or have the potential to become major tourist destinations in a post-COVID world.

Forbes highlights the 7,641 islands to choose from that has something to offer for even the most finicky of tourists. From Metro Manila and Quezon City to Boracay and Palawan, Forbes recognizes the country as a great destination.

Source: ABS-CBN

 

Baguio to reopen possibly on September

June 3, 2020

According to tourism chief Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong plans to reopen the country’s summer capital sometime in September despite being under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ). Ideally, most areas under MGCQ have now started operating their businesses and even some tourism-related activities. But Puyat said the local chief executive wants to make sure that travelers will be safe when they enter Baguio City.

Source: Manila Bulletin

 

Bohol government plans to welcome tourists either in July or August

June 3, 2020

Bohol Governor Arthur Yap told DOT Secretary Puyat that he plans to welcome visitors to Bohol either in July or August. To ensure everyone’s safety, Yap wants to put up a RT-PCR lab to test because he wants everybody to enter to test negative of COVID-19.

Source: Manila Bulletin

 

New Rules Await Passengers as Flights Resume in 8 PH Airports

 

June 3, 2020

Commercial flights are set to resume in at least eight airports in the country this week as the country relaxes travel restrictions, but passengers should be prepared for the new rules.

The Philippine Airlines (PAL) advised that those taking international flights should be at the airport four hours before their departure, while those taking domestic flights should be there three hours before their plane leaves.

Passengers are also encouraged to travel as light as possible, with just one small carry-on baggage. Everyone is also obliged to wear a mask or face cover and physical distancing of at least one meter should be respected inside aircraft and terminals.

Passengers should also move as little as possible within the cabin, and not line up outside toilets to lessen the risk of infecting other passengers.

People will be assigned specific toilet stalls on the plane in relation to where they are seated. Flight attendants will be provided with personal protective equipment (PPE) that could include visors, gloves and medical masks.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

 

‘No registration, no swimming’ Policy Implemented in Boracay

 

June 3, 2020

Swimming with physical distancing is now allowed in Boracay, but those who wish to do so will need to log their information for contact tracing purposes.

Boracay will start accepting tourists but only those who have prior bookings or reservations in hotels and resorts. Incoming tourists shall be verified at the Caticlan and/or Tabon Port by the Department of Tourism VI and Municipal Tourism Office.

People are only allowed to swim in four beaches for swimming from 6 am to 6 pm and must maintain two meters distance from each other.

They are also encouraged to bring their own gear such as goggles and snorkeling masks, as renting equipment is still prohibited.

Other establishments in Boracay have been allowed to reopen, provided that the local government unit has given them a certificate and they maintain minimum public health standards. Tourism establishments who wish to resume operations must apply to the Department of Tourism Region VI.

Source: GMA News

 

8 Designated Areas for Swimming in Boracay

 

June 1, 2020

The LGU Malay Facebook page provided the eight (8) areas designated for swimming.

1. In front of White House (Station 1)

2. In front of Willy’s Rock (Station 1)

3. In front of the Elizalde Compound (Station 1)

4. In front of D’Mall (Station 2)

5. In front of Mandarin Hotel (Station 2)

6. In front of La Carmela (Station 3)

7. In front on Paradise Garden (Station 3)

8. Puka Beach (Barangay Yapak)

Source: GMA News

 

DOT Welcomes the Resumption of Tourism Operations in Areas Under MGCQ

 

May 30, 2020

The DOT welcomes the gradual re-opening of tourism operations in light of the varied community quarantine levels across the country, hoping to pave the eventual recovery of the Philippines’ tourism industry.

Travel for tourism purposes may be allowed only between places under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), and subject to Philippines travel restrictions imposed by the Local Government Units (LGUs). Only essential non-leisure travel between General Community Quarantine (GCQ) to MGCQ areas or vice-versa is allowed.

Tourist destinations that will re-open during the MGCQ are still subject to the approval of their LGU Officials and must adhere to the health and safety guidelines issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF–EID).

Source: Department of Tourism

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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