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 2022.

Featured Philippine Tourism News:

OCTA: NCR COVID-19 positivity rate now up at 5.9%

June 29, 2022

COVID-19 positivity rate in the National Capital Region (NCR) has increased to almost 6%, according to independent monitoring group OCTA Research on Monday.

OCTA fellow Guido David said the region’s positivity rate rose to 5.9% as of June 25 from a positivity rate of 3.9% as of June 18. NCR’s positivity rate was recorded at 5.6% as of June 22.

Positivity rate refers to the percentage of people who were found positive for COVID-19 among the total number of individuals tested.

“WHO recommends testing positivity rate less than 5%,” David stressed in a tweet.

Data also showed that the positivity rate in Rizal jumped to 11.9% from 6.3%.

Meanwhile, Laguna rose to 7.5% from 3.1%, Cavite to 6% from 3.6%, and South Cotabato to 7.4% from 6.3%

Batangas, Benguet, Bulacan, Cagayan, Cebu, Iloilo, and Pampanga also recorded an increase in their  COVID-19 positivity rates, according to OCTA. 

Source: GMA News

Japan opens borders to Filipino tourists

June 13, 2022

Japan is now open to Filipino tourists provided they book their trip through an accredited Japan-based tour operator.

The eased entry protocol took effect Friday, covering leisure travelers from 98 countries and territories on the “blue list”, including the Philippines, United States, Britain, China, South Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand, according to Kyodo News Agency.

Counselor Hideki Makino of the Japanese Embassy in Manila said in a statement that Filipinos can come as long as they acquire a tour package organized by an agent in Japan.

The Embassy said Japanese tour operators will handle the application of tourists. Once the guided tour is finalized, tourists may then apply for a visa through a travel agent.

Moreover, the Embassy said fully vaccinated individuals are exempt from quarantine but would have to present a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test result taken within 72 hours prior to departure.

Source: Philippine News Agency

Batanes reopens its doors to tourism

May 20, 2022

After keeping its border closed to non-residents for more than two years due to Covid-19, this archipelagic province in the northernmost tip of the country has reopened its doors for tourism since Sunday (May 15).

This means travelers who want to visit the paradise of the North can now plan for their Batanes trip.

The joint passage of Provincial Ordinance no. 363 and Executive Order no. 23 enabled Batanes to start the gradual reopening of the industry with a set of guidelines connected to the new normal.

Based on the announcement of The Provincial Tourism Office, only vaccinated travelers will be allowed to enter the province for tourism activities, and will have a trial period from May 15 to June 30,

During this period, the local government will limit the number of tourists that can travel to Batanes to 50 persons per week. The tourists can book their tour in the accredited tour operators, accommodations and tour guides of the provincial government and by the Tourism Department. Do-it-yourself (DIY) tourism is prohibited.

Meanwhile, the local government also set guidelines starting from the arrival of the visitor who has to undergo health screening.

If a traveler shows symptoms of Covid19, immediate testing will be conducted and if it yields positive, the tourist will be isolated in a government facility free of charge except for food and other supply expenses.

This gradual reopening of Batanes for tourism will be the basis of the local government if the place is ready for more tourism arrivals in the coming months.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Flight frequencies to several domestic destinations increase

Local carriers Philippine Airlines (PAL) and AirAsia Philippines on Thursday announced the increase in its flight frequencies to several domestic destinations this month.

In an advisory posted on its Facebook page, PAL said flights between Manila and Bohol, and Batanes, will be increased starting May 17 and May 20, respectively.

There will be three daily flights between Manila and Tagbilaran, Bohol from the current twice per day; and three weekly flights between Manila and Basco, Batanes from the current twice-weekly services.

Manila to Basco flights will be every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 6 a.m., while flights from Basco to Manila will be offered on the same days at 8:15 a.m.

PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna told the Philippine News Agency that this is a reflection of heightened passenger demand for flights to domestic tourist destinations, and a reflection of travel confidence and the signal of eventual return of domestic flights to pre-pandemic levels.

Meanwhile, AirAsia Philippines has announced increasing its flight frequencies to Caticlan from the current 35 weekly flights to 38 weekly by the end of May.

Flights to Iloilo will be 30 times weekly from 18 times weekly; while flights to Bacolod will also increase from 18 to 21 times weekly by the end of May.

Before the end of May, the flight frequencies to the following destinations will also be increased: Cagayan (from 9 weekly to 11 weekly); Kalibo (from 18 weekly to 27 weekly).

Source: Philippine News Agency

PHL exceeds 200K international visitors

April 11, 2022

As of April 7, 2022, the Philippines logged 202,700 foreign tourist arrivals, nearly two months since the country eased travel restrictions for international travelers.

“The sustained influx of tourists in the Philippines is a good measure of the industry’s success in its preparations to welcome foreign tourists in the new normal. Our high vaccination rate among tourism workers and reportedly low cases around the country have helped restore the confidence of travelers to visit the Philippines during the summer season,” Puyat said. She also added that this continued growth shall aid the stakeholders, as well as the economy, in recovering from the effects caused by the pandemic.

According to the data generated from the One Health Pass, tourists from the United States of America (USA) remain the top contributor to the total foreign tourist arrivals to the Philippines with 43,744 visitors; followed by Canada with 9,618; the United Kingdom with 9,315; South Korea with 8,440 and Australia with 8,212 tourists.

Last April 1, the Philippines also started accepting fully-vaccinated tourists from all countries. These visitors may be allowed entry without the need to provide Entry Exemption Document—provided that they comply with applicable visa and immigration laws, rules, and regulations.

Source: Philstar.com

PAL, AirAsia to increase flight frequencies for Holy Week

April 6, 2022

To provide travelers the flexibility to choose from a wider selection of schedules, Local carriers Philippine Airlines (PAL) and AirAsia Philippines announced Tuesday (April 5) the increased frequencies of several of their domestic routes this month.

PAL, in an advisory, said flights between Manila and Bacolod will be five times daily starting April 8, from the current thrice a day. From once a week, flights between Manila and Basco, Batanes will also be increased to twice weekly starting April 11. Flights between Cebu and Bacolod were operating thrice weekly in March but has been increased to four times weekly in April.

In a separate advisory, AirAsia Philippines said in anticipation of passenger influx during Holy Week, it has increased the flight frequencies of a number of its destinations.

Caticlan has increased to 41 times weekly from 34 in March; Iloilo from 14 to 28; Tacloban from 23 to 28; Tagbilaran from 14 to 18. Weekly flights to Bacolod have been increased to 18 from 11; Puerto Princesa from nine to 10; Davao from 11 to 14; Cagayan from nine to 11; Kalibo from 11 to 18; and Cebu from 21 to 26.

Source: Philippine News Agency

PH Reaches Over 96,000 Tourist Arrivals Since Feb 10 Reopening

March 22, 2022

TOURIST arrivals in the Philippines reached over 96,000 in just over a month since the reopening of international borders for foreigners from visa-free countries on Feb. 10, the Department of Tourism (DoT) reported.     

Tourism Secretary Ms. Puyat said the tourism industry is optimistic about keeping the momentum as full reopening for all nationalities will take effect on April 1.   

Starting April 1, the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) approved that all countries will be allowed to enter,” she said.   

The Philippine government has lifted the quarantine requirement, but arriving international passengers are still required to present a negative coronavirus test result.  The arriving tourists can present either a negative RT-PCR or a negative lab-based antigen test 48 hours before departure. 

In a separate statement on Thursday, DoT reminded hotels and other accommodation establishments on the relaxed guidelines on room occupancy under Alert Levels 1, 2, and 3. The department made the clarification after receiving reports of hotels insisting that guests could not share rooms if they are from different households.   

The hotels are also allowed full room occupancy, regardless of whether the leisure guests are from the same household or not, subject to minimum public health standards,” it said. 

Source: BusinessWorld

All Vaxxed Tourists Now Allowed Entry

March 15, 2022

Starting April 1, the PH government will open its borders to ALL fully vaccinated leisure tourists from abroad!

This decision was made by Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), which will greatly help in recovering the tourism industry in the Philippines. Also approved is the entry of tourists from Hong Kong and Macau for a period not exceeding 14 days.

As an alternative option for fully vaccinated foreign tourists, IATF has allowed them to submit a negative laboratory-based antigen test result taken within 24 hours from departure, instead of a negative RT-PCR test result taken 48 hours prior to departure, which was earlier required by the body.

“We thank our colleagues in the IATF for approving more measures that will help sustain the recovery of the tourism sector in the coming months. While our domestic travelers have been the pillar of recovery, we are also excited to welcome more foreign visitors in the coming weeks,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat added.

Romulo Puyat said she was particularly looking forward to more travelers from South Korea and Japan, the country’s top traditional source markets for tourists, due to their recent policy changes.

From February 10, when the Philippines reopened its borders to fully vaccinated foreign tourists from visa-free countries, to March 9, there were 76,736 arrivals from abroad. Of this, foreign tourists accounted for some 56.4 percent or 43,249, while balikbayans (homecoming Filipinos) accounted for 43.6 percent or 33,487, according to data provided by the DOT.

Romulo Puyat said the IATF has also approved the reciprocal recognition of Covid-19 vaccination certificates from Croatia, Cyprus, and Nepal, which are among the 157 countries whose citizens can enter the Philippines without a visa under Executive Order No. 408.

Source: BusinessMirror

PH Welcomes Over 47K Foreign Travelers in February

March 8, 2022

The Philippines attracted 47,715 foreign tourists and balikbayans in February 2022 alone, reflecting the international traveler’s eagerness to visit Filipino destinations even after almost two years of closure.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) on Thursday said 45 percent of the figures are balikbayans while 55 percent are foreign tourists, the majority of whom are from the United States, followed by Canada, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Australia, Vietnam, and Germany.

As restrictions slowly ease, many hotels are now rehiring their workers while a number of travelers are now starting to trickle into local destinations.

“The de-escalation of the National Capital Region to Alert Level 1 coupled with the reopening of our borders to foreign tourists and the removal of facility-based quarantine for fully vaccinated visitors from visa-free countries to the Philippines, will certainly boost recovery efforts for the country’s accommodation industry,” PHOA president Arthur M. Lopez said in a statement.

Under the more relaxed guidelines for areas under Alert Level 1, hotels can accommodate more guests for staycation, dine-in services, and social events. Guests only have to show proof of full vaccination when entering the hotels.

“We expect higher revenue not only from rooms but also from food and beverage operations and social events. Hopefully, Metro Manila stays under Alert Level 1 so we can sustain the momentum and help the government with its recovery efforts for tourism,” Lopez said.

“We also hope that other prime tourism destinations can be placed under a lower alert level so that our member hotels can generate a steadier revenue stream,” he added.

Metro Manila and 38 other areas will be under Alert Level 1 until March 15, 2022.

Source: Philippine News Agency

PH Accepts 12 More National Vax Certificates

February 19, 2022

The Department of Tourism (DOT) has welcomed the recent decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to expand its list of accepted and recognized national Covid-19 vaccination certificates, approving twelve more from countries whose travelers are allowed visa-free travel to the Philippines.

Based on Resolution No. 162 of the IATF-EID, the national/state vaccination certificates of Argentina, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Chile, Denmark, Ecuador, Indonesia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Portugal, and Spain, mainly 12 of the 157 countries that can visit the Philippines visa-free under Executive Order (EO) 408, shall be accepted and recognized as other proofs of vaccination required as entry requirements to the Philippines.

These are in addition to the national Covid-19 vaccination certificates that were approved in the previous resolutions of the task force.

The same resolution also directed the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ), and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) One Stop Shop (OSS) to only accept vaccination certificates recognized by the IATF-EID.

“The DOT commits to working with other member agencies of the IATF-EID in making the travel process and requirements to the country easier for balikbayans and foreign tourists alike. This move will greatly help in restoring jobs under the heavily impacted tourism industry,” tourism chief Berna Romulo-Puyat said on Saturday.

“We are grateful to the IATF-EID for this development as we aim to make travel as seamless as possible for our travelers from visa-free countries. We look forward to opening our doors to guests from all over the world, but of course, with all the necessary health and safety protocols in place,” the tourism chief added in a statement.

Meanwhile, Puyat noted that the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) scheme that has been agreed by the governments of the Philippines and Singapore will further boost arrivals from the latter.

Here is the full list of countries whose national vaccination certificates are recognized by the Philippines: https://visitor.tourism.gov.ph/vaxcert/.

Source: Philippine News Agency

COVID-19 vaccine for foreign visitors a shot in the arm for PH tourism, says lawmaker

February 16, 2022

COVID-19 vaccines can be offered to inbound foreign visitors in a bid to boost the local tourism industry which was impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, Senator Francis Tolentino said Wednesday.

Tolentino said many tourist hotspots across the globe have already taken their tourism recovery one step further, by offering foreign visitors the opportunity to get inoculated against COVID-19 upon arrival in a bid to attract more travelers.

“Kung talagang may mga ina-allow (na pumasok) kahit hindi bakunado lalo na yung mga galing sa ‘red-list’ countries, eh palagay ko dito sa ating NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport) dapat na i-require na rin magbigay ng bakuna,” Tolentino said in a radio DZRH interview.

(If in other countries they are allowing the entry of unvaccinated tourists even those from red-list countries, I believe we can also require the provision of vaccines here in NAIA.)

Tolentino said one-shot vaccines such as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine can be given to foreign tourists since it no longer requires a second dose.

The Philippines allowed the entry of fully vaccinated tourists from 157 countries that have visa-free arrangements with the country starting February 10.

Aside from being fully vaccinated, they should also present a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test taken within 48 hours prior to the date and time of departure from the country of origin.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Boracay offers COVID-19 booster shots to tourists – local or foreign

boracay magagandang tanawin sa pilipinas

February 15, 2022

Great news for travelers in Boracay! The world-famous Boracay now offers COVID-19 booster shots to tourists, may it be local or foreign.

The free booster jabs for fully-vaccinated leisure travelers are being offered under Resbakuna sa Botika, a government program that provides booster shots in pharmacies.

The vaccination for children aged 5 to 11, or the Resbakuna KIDS program, was also opened on the same date.

Puyat said the two COVID-19 vaccination programs would “add another layer of protection” amid the loosening of travel restrictions.

Fully vaccinated foreign tourists from visa-free countries have been allowed to visit the country starting Feb. 10 and enter Boracay Island without going through the previously required COVID-19 swab te

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

More than 9,000 overseas visitors entered PH after eased restrictions — DOT

January 15, 2022
 

More than 9,000 visitors from foreign countries have entered the country on the first few days of eased restrictions, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said.Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat said that 9,283 tourists have visited the country as of February 14, pointing out that 4,209 of them are “balikbayans” or returning Filipinos while 5,074 are foreign tourists.

Puyat added that visitors from the United States of America make up the majority of visitors with 2,227 arrivals, followed by 661 from Canada, 404 from Australia, 344 from the United Kingdom, 189 from South Korea, 169 from Japan, and 168 from Germany.

Romulo Puyat, in a statement, said: “We at the DOT are excited to see a revival in our local tourism and will continue to support our  partners in achieving this goal.”

“International travel and tourism saw an unprecedented decline in visitor arrivals amid the pandemic; the reopening of Philippines’ borders to visitors from visa-free countries will surely help in improving our numbers,” she added.

Fully vaccinated tourists are required to present proof of vaccination as approved by the country’s pandemic task force or the World Health Organization, as well as a negative RT-PCR swab test result taken within 48 hours before their departure in their country of origin.

Starting February 10, the Philippines has allowed  the entry of fully vaccinated tourists from 157 countries that have visa-free arrangements with the country.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

tourists waiting at naia

PH reopening for vaxxed travelers lifts business hopes

February 11, 2022

The government further eased the rules for foreign travelers as the Philippines opened its doors to fully vaccinated visitors from abroad, a move that is expected to spur tourism and businesses in the country and help the economy recover from two years of border closures and lockdowns.

The government’s pandemic task force on Thursday said it would no longer require the foreign spouses and children of Filipino citizens or “balikbayans” traveling with them to present a return ticket before being allowed to enter the Philippines.

In its updated rules, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) also said foreign nationals from visa-free countries who intend to stay beyond 30 days in the country would be allowed to come to the Philippines through an entry exemption document.

Foreign spouses and children of Filipino citizens who are from visa-required countries, or who are restricted foreign nationals, may enter the country without the need for an entry exemption document as long as they have been issued a temporary visitor’s visa.

All of these foreign nationals must be fully vaccinated and must be able to show proof of vaccination, according to acting presidential spokesperson Karlo Nograles.

Exempted are children below 12 years old who are traveling with their fully vaccinated parents, Nograles said.

The government further eased the rules for foreign travelers as the Philippines opened its doors to fully vaccinated visitors from abroad, a move that is expected to spur tourism and businesses in the country and help the economy recover from two years of border closures and lockdowns.

The government’s pandemic task force on Thursday said it would no longer require the foreign spouses and children of Filipino citizens or “balikbayans” traveling with them to present a return ticket before being allowed to enter the Philippines.

In its updated rules, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) also said foreign nationals from visa-free countries who intend to stay beyond 30 days in the country would be allowed to come to the Philippines through an entry exemption document.

Foreign spouses and children of Filipino citizens who are from visa-required countries, or who are restricted foreign nationals, may enter the country without the need for an entry exemption document as long as they have been issued a temporary visitor’s visa.

All of these foreign nationals must be fully vaccinated and must be able to show proof of vaccination, according to acting presidential spokesperson Karlo Nograles.

Exempted are children below 12 years old who are traveling with their fully vaccinated parents, Nograles said.

These travelers must also present a negative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test taken within 48 hours prior to date and time of departure from country of origin or first port of embarkation in a continuous travel to the Philippines, he said.

Ready for reopening

The IATF will also now recognize the vaccination certificates of Brazil, Israel, South Korea and Timor Leste for purposes of arrival quarantine protocols as well as for interzonal and intrazonal movement.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat said at the Laging Handa public health briefing on Thursday that the tourism sector has been preparing for this reopening since the pandemic began in March 2020.

She said the Department of Tourism (DOT) was looking forward to the return of travelers from the country’s top travel market, South Korea, as well as tourists from other Asian countries and balikbayans (expatriates) from the United States.

The secretary said that in many of the country’s travel destinations, tourist workers were 100-percent vaccinated and already getting their booster shots.

The government began admitting vaccinated foreign tourists from visa-free countries on Feb. 10.

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) said it was expecting an increase of at least 30 percent in arrivals or 7,000 tourists on Thursday, the first day of the opening of the country’s borders to foreign tourists.

According to BI port operations division chief Carlos Capulong, this would be higher than Feb. 9’s 4,816 arrivals and most of the expected travelers were Filipinos.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said the numbers could rise to 10,000 to 12,000 arrivals a day in the succeeding months.

Also speaking at the Laging Handa briefing, Nograles said the government was confident with its health and safety protocols and that the admission of vaccinated foreign tourists would not lead to a spike in COVID-19 cases.

Nograles said the resumption of tourism activities would lead to economic growth and development because of the many industries dependent or related to the tourism sector.

“There will be a cascading effect in the various industries connected with tourism,” he added.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Unvaxxed, Partially Vaxxed Foreigners Barred From Entering PH—BI

February 6, 2022

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) clarified that unvaccinated and partially vaccinated foreign nationals will not be allowed to enter the country.

BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said that fully vaccinated aliens are required to present proof of vaccination and the negative RT-PCR result valid for 48 hours prior to departure from the country of origin.

They are also required to have a passport valid at least for six months and an outbound ticket.

Morente said those who cannot present the required documents will be excluded and sent back to the next available flight to their port of origin.

Airlines bringing them will be sanctioned and fined, according to Morente.

He added that aliens coming from 157 countries listed under Executive Order No. 408 and other circulars issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs may enter the country even without a visa.

He said others may secure visa and entry exemption documents from the nearest Philippine embassy, or consulate.

Source: Manila Bulletin

New Zealand announces plans to reopen to the world

February 3, 2022

New Zealand has announced it will begin reopening to the world, signaling an end to nearly two years of tough border rules that have separated families and shut out almost all foreigners.

 
By July, fully vaccinated people from Australia or visa waiver countries — including the United Kingdom, the United States, and many European nations — will be able to enter New Zealand and self-isolate on arrival, according to the plan.
 
The government website states that “self-isolation can be in your home or suitable alternative accommodation,” so it’s not yet known whether non-residents will be able to use hotels, rented apartments or other similar accommodations for their own self-isolation purposes.
 
 
Foreign nationals will be required to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus in order to enter the country when it reopens.
 
New Zealand’s move on February 3 comes in the wake of similar steps from neighboring Australia. Like New Zealand, Australia imposed strict border rules to shut out Covid. Fully vaccinated citizens, visa holders and people from certain countries — including New Zealand, Japan and Singapore — are now able to travel to Australia without a travel exemption.
 

Source: CNN

Indonesia to reduce quarantine time to bolster tourism

February 3, 2022

Indonesia will shorten mandatory quarantine time to five days from the previous seven for arrivals from February 4, in an effort to bolster tourism, especially in Bali resort island.

The new regulation is applicable for those who have received two shots of the COVID-19 vaccine, while people with only one jab still have to stay seven days in quarantine.

Bali will open to all foreign tourists starting February 4 to foster the local economy hard-hit by the ongoing pandemic.

Source: Vietnam Plus

No More RT-PCR Requirement for Fully-Vaccinated Boracay Travelers

February 1, 2022

Fully-vaccinated travelers will no longer be required to present negative RT-PCR test results to gain entry to Aklan and to Boracay island, under an executive order issued by Aklan Governor Florencio “Joeben” Tumbocon Miraflores.

The province’s latest move follows those of Negros Occidental and Bacolod and Iloilo cities that have also waived RT-PCR tests for fully-vaccinated travelers.

All of these Western Visayas areas remain under Alert Level 3 until February 15.

Until the last week of January, Aklan, Bacolod, and Iloilo City were under the Department of Health’s “critical” local government units in relation to COVID-19.

Under the new EO which was to take effect immediately, unvaccinated or partially vaccinated individuals – whether returning residents or local or foreign visitors – will have to present negative RT-PCR test results taken not later than 72 hours prior to arrival in Aklan.

Miraflores placed mainland Aklan under curfew from 9 pm to 4 am but gave Malay town, which includes Boracay, discretion to set curfew hours on the island.

On February 1, the town shortened the curfew in Boracay from 1 am to 4 am.

All tourists and travelers need to fill out a contact tracing form and get a QR Code from https://www.touristboracay.com/ . Those heading for the mainland should click the corresponding icon on the same page.

Source: Rappler

PH to Accept Fully-Vaxxed Tourists from Visa-Free Countries Starting Feb. 10 – DOT

The Philippines will start to accept fully-vaccinated foreign leisure travelers from visa-free countries beginning February 10. 

Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat made the announcement today January 28 (Friday) after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) approved the proposal of the Department of Tourism (DOT). 

“We at the DOT are very thankful to our partners in the IATF-EID for approving our proposal to allow the entry of foreign leisure travelers. The Department sees this as a welcome development that will contribute significantly to job restoration, primarily in tourism-dependent communities, and in the reopening of businesses that have earlier shut down during the pandemic,’’ Puyat said. 

“With years of coordination between national agencies, industry stakeholders, and the various local government units (LGUs) to prepare our destinations for tourism in the new normal, we are confident that we will be able to keep pace with our ASEAN neighbors who have already made similar strides to reopen to foreign tourists,” added the tourism chief. 

Puyat clarified that the recent IATF-EID decision will cover only leisure travelers from countries whose nationals are allowed visa-free entry to the Philippines. 

It can be recalled that last year, the IATF-EID approved the entry of fully vaccinated tourists from Green List countries/territories/jurisdictions starting Dec. 1, 2021 but was temporarily suspended due to the omicron variant. 

Earlier today, the IATF-EID announced the suspension of the country classification system starting Feb. 1, 2022. Also starting Feb. 1, fully-vaccinated returning overseas Filipinos will no longer be required to undergo quarantine as long as they are able to present a negative result of an RT-PCR test taken 48 hours prior to departure from point of origin. 

Likewise, starting Feb. 10 and upon consultation with health experts, qualified leisure travelers will also no longer be required to undergo quarantine as long as they are able to present a negative result of an RT-PCR test taken 48 hours prior to departure from point of origin. 

“We are also aware that there is no room for complacency given the unpredictability of the virus. We will closely monitor the situation and ensure that health and safety protocols are strictly implemented in all tourism establishments,” Puyat noted. 

Based on the IATF-EID guidelines, leisure travelers from visa-free countries will be allowed to enter the country, provided that their passports are valid for at least six months at the time of arrival, and they possess outbound tickets to their country of origin or next country of destination. 

Leisure visitors must also carry proof of vaccination against COVID-19 that is recognized by the IATF-EID. They include certificates of vaccination issued by the World Health Organization (WHO), VaxCertPH of the Department of Health, and a national/ state digital certificate of a foreign government that has accepted VaxCertPH under a reciprocal arrangement unless otherwise permitted by the IATF.  

The list of countries whose nationals are allowed to enter the Philippines without a visa are those listed under EO 408 and can be found in this link: https://dfa.gov.ph/list-of-countries-for-21-day-visa 

Source: Department of Tourism

Palace: Facility quarantine no longer required for fully vaxxed travelers starting Feb. 1

Fully vaccinated international arriving passengers and returning Filipinos will no longer be required to undergo facility-based quarantine upon arrival starting February 1 as the government suspended the color classification of countries and territories, Malacañang said Friday.

Starting February 1, fully vaccinated inbound travelers will instead be required to present a negative RT-PCR test taken within 48 hours prior to departure from the country of origin, Cabinet Secretary and acting presidential spokesperson Karlo Nograles said in a press briefing.

Inbound travelers earlier were categorized based on their country of origin’s “green,” “yellow,” or “red” classification.

The inbound travelers should monitor themselves for any sign or symptom for seven days, with the first day being the data of arrival. They shall also be required to report to their respective local government unit if they will have symptoms.

Nograles said that international arriving passengers should have the following proof of COVID-19 vaccination:

  1. World Health Organization international certificates of vaccination and prophylaxis
  2. VaxCertPH
  3. National/state digital certificate of the government which has accepted VaxCertPH under a reciprocal arrangement unless otherwise permitted by the Inter-Agency Task Force

Meanwhile, unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or individuals whose vaccination status cannot be independently validated will be required to present a negative RT-PCR test taken within 48 hours prior to departure from the country of origin.

They will be required to undergo facility-based quarantine until the release of their negative RT-PCR test taken on the fifth day, according to Nograles.

They will also be required to undergo home quarantine until the 14th day after their arrival. Their respective LGUs are tasked to monitor arriving passengers who will undergo home quarantine.

Nograles said that children below 12 years old who cannot be vaccinated shall follow the quarantine protocols of parents or the accompanying guardian traveling with them.

Also starting February 16, foreign nationals entering the country must show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Ifugao deescalates to Alert Level 3 on Feb. 1-15

January 31, 2022

 

The government’s pandemic task force has decided to place the province of Ifugao under Alert Level 3 from Alert Level 4 beginning February 1 until February 15, Malacañang announced.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles made the statement a day after he announced the coronavirus (COVID-19) alert level classifications for other areas in the country on January 30.

The Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases decided on Ifugao’s risk classification on January 31.

 

Aside from Ifugao, the following areas in Luzon are also under Alert Level 3 from February 1 to 15, 2022:

  • Abra
  • Apayao
  • Baguio City
  • Benguet
  • Kalinga
  • Mountain Province
  • Dagupan City
  • Ilocos Norte
  • Ilocos Sur
  • La Union
  • Pangasinan
  • City of Santiago
  • Cagayan
  • Isabela
  • Nueva Vizcaya
  • Quirino
  • Angeles City
  • Aurora
  • Bataan
  • Nueva Ecija
  • Olongapo City
  • Pampanga
  • Tarlac
  • Zambales
  • Batangas
  • Laguna
  • Lucena City
  • Quezon Province
  • Marinduque
  • Romblon
  • Occidental Mindoro
  • Oriental Mindoro
  • Puerto Princesa City
  • Albay
  • Camarines Norte
  • Camarines Sur
  • Catanduanes
  • Masbate
  • Naga City
  • Sorsogon

A total of 50 other areas, 21 in the Visayas and 29 in Mindanao, were likewise placed under Alert Level 3 for the first half of February 2022.

Meanwhile, the IATF placed Metro Manila and the following provinces under Alert Level 2:

  • Batanes
  • Bulacan
  • Cavite
  • Rizal
  • Biliran
  • Southern Leyte
  • Basilan

Source: Manila Bulletin

Alert level 2 eases mobility in NCR: ‘No vax, no ride’ policy shelved; minors allowed outdoors

January 31, 2022

 

Policies limiting the movement of people in the National Capital Region (NCR) will be effectively suspended starting Tuesday as the region shifts to Alert Level 2 on February 1 to 15, 2022, Malacañang said.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles made the statement a day before Metro Manila’s return to Alert Level 2 after being placed under stricter restrictions due to a surge of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases this month.

In his press briefing, Nograles reiterated that the No Vaccination, No Ride policy in Metro Manila “is not perpetual” and is only effective under the Alert Level 3 status.

He also said that minors can now go outside again under Alert Level 2 but appealed to parents to keep infants in their homes, noting the pediatric cases of COVID-19 that were recorded in December.

According to Nograles, it is the responsibility of parents to ensure the safety of kids.

Why shift?

Meanwhile, the acting Palace spokesman explained the reason why the government’s pandemic task force decided to deescalate Metro Manila to a lower alert level despite the Department of Health (DOH) statement last week that such a move was premature.

According to Nograles, Metro Manila’s total bed utilization is at 49 percent, making the region qualified for de-escalation.

Despite this, he appealed to the public to continue cooperating with the government and continue following health protocols.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Alert Level 2 ‘possible’ in Metro Manila by February – NTF special adviser

January 22, 2022

An expert sees the possibility of placing Metro Manila under an Alert Level 2 status by February 2022.

National Task Force (NTF) against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) special adviser Dr. Teodoro “Ted” Herbosa said that Metro Manila’s Alert Level status may be downgraded from Alert Level 3 to Alert Level 2 if cases continuously decline.

Herbosa likewise said that the areas with the most number of new infections now were located outside Metro Manila.

Herbosa added that he is hoping that the “data will be good” and that the COVID-19 admissions and cases continuously decline.

“Pwede. Sana maganda ‘yung mga datos natin sa mga hospital, although puno pa rin ‘no. Pero di naman gagaling agad ang mga na-confine d’yan. It will take them two to three weeks bago sila ma-discharge so the hospitals will continue to fill up. Alam mo naman na isa ‘yan sa mga factor whether ibababa na ang Alert Level status or not (It is possible. I hope our data in our hospitals will be good, even though it is still full. However, those who are confined there will not recover immediately. It will take them two to three weeks before they are discharged so the hospitals will continue to fill up. [We] know that it is one of the factors whether the Alert Level status will be lowered or not),” Herbosa said.

Source: Manila Bulletin

PH, South Korea Promote Tourism Engagement Amid Pandemic

south korea mga bansa sa asya

Photo credits to The Girl Behind the Pen

January 22, 2022

The Philippines and South Korea are aiming to strengthen their tourism engagement with the former expressing Manila’s “keen interest” in revitalize its membership in the Tourism Promotion Organization for Asia Pacific Cities (TPO).

Philippine Ambassador to South Korea Ma. Theresa Dizon-De Vega met with Ambassador Woo Kyoung-ha, Secretary General of the TPO, to discuss strengthened tourism engagement between the the two countries through the TPO Secretariat.

According to De Vega, Woo, who is the new Secretary General of the TPO, is “currently undertaking initiatives to promote the organization and to reach out to its members.”

During the meeting, the Filipino diplomat conveyed the City of Manila’s keen interest to revitalize its membership with the organization.

“He said that the Philippines is very important because the City of Manila is one of its founding members and has a seat in the executive board composed of 14 members,” De Vega said in a statement.

De Vega also noted that the TPO plays a significant role in encouraging tourism engagement among cities in the region, adding that keeping the people’s interest in travel even during the pandemic will redound to more robust tourism once the situation normalizes.

De Vega also met with Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) President Hyuk-Sang Sohn on Jan. 18 to discuss ways to strengthen the development cooperation partnership between the two nations.

She emphasized the importance that the Philippines accords to KOICA and how beneficial the partnership with KOICA is in furthering the Philippine human capacity development agenda, especially through projects in agriculture, rural community development, strengthening local governance, and climate resilience.

She also expressed that KOICA has been integral in the improvement of digital governance in the Philippines, including through funding Philippine KOICA scholars on e-governance, agriculture, and climate management.

The KOICA, De Vega further said, is forging a very innovative path in terms of smart farming and rice production that complements the Philippine goals of developing food security, something that was brought to light in the onset of the logistical challenges brought by the pandemic.

President Sohn, on the other hand, conveyed that the Philippines remains the most critical and strategic partner of KOICA in the region in terms of volume and manpower.

Source: Manila Bulletin

IATF revises rules for ‘recovered ’Filipino arrivals who again tested positive

travelers at naia

January 22, 2022

The government’s pandemic task force has allowed the entry of Filipinos from abroad who recently recovered from COVID-19 but still showed a positive result in their pre-departure tests.

These travelers would be subject to quarantine upon arrival and would have to present certain documents in lieu of a negative result from their reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests, according to Secretary Karlo Nograles, who cochairs the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

He said they must show a medical certificate from a physician stating that they have completed their mandatory isolation period, are no longer infectious, and are allowed free travel and movement.

Risk classification

The task force also said, regarding the positive RT-PCR tests of those passengers, that these should have been taken either “within 48 hours prior to the date/time of departure from country/port of origin,” or “not earlier than 10 days but not later than 30 days prior to date/time of departure from country/port of origin.”

Upon arrival, they must undergo facility quarantine, with the protocols depending on the risk classification of their country of origin.

Green list countries

But fully vaccinated travelers from low risk or green list countries would be required to undergo a facility-based quarantine, as also prescribed for fully vaccinated travelers from yellow or moderate risk countries.

Fully vaccinated travelers from yellow list countries are to go through an RT-PCR test on the fifth day and may be released upon testing negative. But they must still be quarantined at home up to the seventh day from their arrival.

Fully vaccinated travelers from green countries with a negative RT-PCR test are allowed to skip facility quarantine.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Time to ease rules for int’l arrivals, says Concepcion

January 21, 2022

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion called on the government to consider relaxing quarantine protocols for international visitors, saying the requirements to enter the country had become unnecessarily complicated.

Concepcion particularly suggested a review of current policies on facility-based quarantine regulations and the use of reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests.

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion called on the government to consider relaxing quarantine protocols for international visitors, saying the requirements to enter the country had become unnecessarily complicated.

Concepcion particularly suggested a review of current policies on facility-based quarantine regulations and the use of reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests.

The government, the businessman said, should instead opt for regulations leaning more toward home-based isolation and antigen tests for incoming travelers.

Risk level per country

“It is quite understandable that public health should be the primary concern of governments. But as COVID itself changes, policy should be also open to re-examination,” Concepcion said in a statement on Thursday, “The entry requirements are so extensive and complicated that they put the country out of the reach of international visitors, and even our returning kababayans,” he added.

The Philippines currently applies different rules on international arrivals depending on the passengers’ point of origin and vaccination status. Countries are categorized and color-coded based on their prevailing risk level of COVID-19 contagion.

All arriving passengers must test negative from an RT-PCR test, which would be taken 48 hours before departure from the country of origin. For example, if a passenger flew from a country under the “moderate risk” yellow list, he or she should stay first in a quarantine facility upon arrival until the release of the negative test result.

Instead of facility-based quarantine, Concepcion is pushing for one that is home-based.

He also said the cheaper, more practical antigen test taken 24 hours prior to departure would suffice. But as an additional safeguard, he suggested that passengers take another antigen test upon arrival.

Citing Thailand, Switzerland and the United States as examples, Concepcion said other countries had already relaxed their international travel restrictions, which were no longer as restrictive as those in the Philippines.

“Other countries seem to have already accepted the fact that COVID is here to stay. Maybe it’s time we practice living with COVID or else the Philippine economy will suffer and along with it, its MSMEs [micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises],” he said.

“We have already started taking the necessary steps by vaccinating and boosting the population. We have moved from prevention to treatment, thanks to efforts to make accessible antiviral medicines like Molnupiravir, which, from my own personal experience, seems to work,” he added. —Roy Stephen C. Canivel

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Boracay Brings Back RT-PCR Requirement

The province of Aklan has reinstated a negative RT-PCR result as a requirement for tourists, including those who are fully vaccinated.

The new rule will start by January 8. The governor said his executive order aims to minimize the spread of COVID-19, especially with the entry of the Omicron variant.

The governor also returned the curfew from 9 pm until 4 am on mainland Aklan, while in Boracay curfew is from 10 pm to 4 am daily.

Prior to the new policy, the curfew was from 11  pm to 6 am on mainland Aklan and from midnight to 4 am in Boracay.

The town of Malay, which oversees Boracay, lifted the RT-PCR test requirement for fully vaccinated tourists in November 2021 as Boracay reached zero covid cases.

Source: Rappler

Entry of unvaxxed aliens at BI satellite offices in malls banned

January 10, 2022
 

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) said unvaccinated aliens will not be allowed to transact business inside its field offices located inside commercial centers.

BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said, however, that unvaccinated foreign nationals may do so with its field office outside malls after securing online appointment.

The BI chief issued the clarification due to many queries posted in social media pages.

Morente explained that the ban was based on a resolution issued by the Metro Manila Council (MMC) that disallowed unvaccinated individuals from dining in restaurants and entering malls in a bid to contain the resurgence of coronavirus (COVID-19).

He warned that aliens caught violating the restriction could be deported.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Baguio City Closes Borders to Tourists Anew Amid COVID-19 Scare

January 3, 2022

Baguio City has again closed its borders to tourists on Sunday amid the threat posed by the COVID-19 Omicron variant and the rising number of infections.

The city’s Visitor Information and Travel Assistance (Visita) platform stopped entertaining applications from tourists on Jan. 2.

But Baguio will honor approved schedules and hotel bookings secured by guests prior to the Jan. 2 suspension, “until further notice,” said Aloysius Mapalo, city tourism operations supervisor.

Local hotels have booked guests from January until March, he said.

“We’ll have a flexible travel policy depending on the situation of (COVID-19) cases. As of now, all those pre-approved (trips) are allowed, without adding more. But that may change in the future,” Mapalo said.

“(But) all pending travel requests are considered rejected and (would not be) allowed entry,” according to a tourism office advisory.

More than 190,000 visitors have toured Baguio as of Dec. 26 since the city reopened leisure travel during the Halloween and All Saints Day weekend in November, which helped revive the economy.

The city also achieved herd immunity and has vaccinated 91 percent of a targeted 281,000 population. Based on the 2020 census, Baguio has 366,358 residents.

But the city health services office says Baguio’s COVID-19 active cases rose to 64 on New Year’s Day from only four on Christmas Day. On Sunday, Jan. 2, the number increased to 73.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Metro Manila placed anew on Alert Level 3

January 2, 2021

The increase in the number of new daily COVID-19 cases and the confirmation of at least three local cases of the highly transmissible Omicron variant pushed the IATF to place the National Capital Region (NCR) under the stricter Alert Level 3 starting January 3 until January 15.

This came two days after the government said Metro Manila will remain under Alert Level 2 until Jan. 15.

The change in position came after the country logged 2,961 cases on New Year’s Eve. This is the highest in nearly two months.

The 10.3 percent positivity rate is also the highest since October 22.

The following are not allowed under Alert Level 3:

  1. Face to face classes for basic education
  2. Contact sports, except those conducted under a bubble-type setup
  3. Funfairs/peryas and kid amusement industries such as playgrounds, playroom, and kiddie rides
  4. Venues with live voice or wind-instrument performers and audiences such as in karaoke bars, clubs, concert halls, and theaters
  5. Casinos, horse racing, cockfighting and operation of cockpits, lottery and betting shops, and other gaming establishments
  6. Gatherings in residences with individuals not belonging to the same household

While intrazonal and interzonal travel remain allowed under Alert Level 3, the following activities and businesses are allowed at 30% indoor capacity for the fully vaccinated and 50% outdoor capacity for the unvaccinated:

  1. Venues for meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE)
  2. Permitted venues for social events such as parties, wedding receptions, family reunions, and other similar activities
  3. Visitor or tourist attractions such as libraries, museums, galleries, parks, plazas, public gardens, scenic viewpoints or overlooks, and the like
  4. Amusement parks or theme parks
  5. Recreational venues such as internet cafes, billiard halls, amusement arcades, bowling alleys, skating rinks, archery halls, swimming pools, and similar venues
  6. Cinemas and movie houses;
  7. Limited face-to-face classes for higher education and for technical-vocational education and training
  8. In-person religious gatherings
  9. Gatherings for necrological services, wakes, inurnment, and funerals for COVID-19 non-COVID-19 deaths
  10. Licensure or entrance/qualifying examinations and specialty examinations
  11. Dine-in services in food preparation establishments
  12. Personal care establishments such as barbershops, spas, salons, aesthetic/cosmetic services or procedures, reflexology, and other similar procedures including home service options
  13. Fitness studios, gyms, and venues for non-contact exercise and sports (group activities are not allowed)
  14. Film, music, and television production

Stricter measures

Aside from this, Nograles said the IATF has tasked a technical working group led by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the National Vaccination Operations Center to formulate guidelines for stricter measures for unvaccinated individuals against COVID-19.

The Palace official likewise reminded the public of the existing isolation and quarantine period.

Individuals who test positive but are asymptomatic, or show mild or moderate symptoms are required to undergo isolation for 10 days. Those who test positive but show severe and critical symptoms are to undergo isolation for 21 days.

Fully vaccinated close contacts are to undergo quarantine for seven days while unvaccinated or partially vaccinated individuals must undergo quarantine for 14 days.

 

Source: Manila Bulletin

Resumption of Cebu, Siargao Flights Depends on Wind Condition

December 21, 2021

As Cebu and Siargao were greatly damaged by Typhoon Odette last week, an executive of a regional airline said mounting of flights will depend on wind condition and they can only accommodate relief distribution teams.

A notice to airmen (NOTAM) was issued to the Surigao and Siargao airports, canceling all commercial flights.

Both will only accommodate relief, humanitarian, and government flights.

“CEB (Cebu Pacific) ticket holders remain our priority. Siargao Airport, however, has suspended operations for commercial travel until February 2022. Right now, we have very limited capacity for the passengers we can board and this is due to technical and aircraft capability because wind condition is also a factor in aircraft capacity. So, flights will always depend on the weather and wind condition,” airline spokesperson Carmina Romero said in a public briefing on Tuesday.

Humanitarian flights include carrying stranded individuals to Manila, Romero added.

“If passengers would notice, there were empty seats. Those are for weight and balance. We are very conservative, and we are aiming for safety. It’s not that we don’t want to accommodate passengers. Today, we were able to accommodate 65 passengers with bags. We assess based on the weather condition and wind strength,” she said.

Mounting more flights, Romero said, will also depend on the airport situation.

She cited for instance that Mactan-Cebu International Airport in Cebu province, which is also under a state of calamity, has resumed operations but only for limited domestic flights.

Romero also clarified that canceling flights from Dubai, United Arab Emirates to Cebu was not the airline’s initiative.

“Cebu is currently experiencing a shortage in (quarantine) hotel rooms, which is part of the arrival protocols. Because of that, Cebu only accommodates limited international arrivals,” she said.

Around 600 Cebu Pacific employees based in Cebu were also affected by the typhoon. They were provided with assistance, such as basic needs food and water.

An augmentation team was sent to man the counters so flight operations can continue in Cebu.

Romero said the estimated 25,000 CEB passengers affected by cancellations may opt to refund, rebook, or place the ticket value into a travel fund for future use.

Those who want to postpone travel even if their flights were not canceled can rebook or avail of the travel fund option.

Source: Philippine News Agency

Surigao, Siargao Airports Remain Closed

December 20, 2021

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said two local airports remained shut due to the impact of Typhoon Odette (international name: Rai), with carriers expecting flight cancellations until February 2022.

According to the latest update from the CAAP released on Monday, both the Surigao Airport and the Siargao Airport remain closed, except for government/military, emergency, cargo, and humanitarian flights.

“Most of the airports that were affected by the typhoon are still experiencing commercial power and telecommunication signal loss,” the CAAP said in an advisory released via mobile message.

CAAP spokesperson Eric Apolonio said that there was still no timeline as to when the commercial operations of both airports would resume, but budget carrier Cebu Pacific said this could last until February 2022.

Flights from Manila to Siargao are currently only for cargo, while return trips from Siargao to Manila are sweeper flights that would ferry tourists stranded in the island due to the storm.

According to CAAP, among the airports that sustained damage but were operational were the San Vicente Airport, the Antique Airport, Bacolod-Silay Airport, Iloilo International Airport, Dumaguete Airport, Maasin Airport, and the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

Meanwhile, CAAP-operated airports on the path of Odette that were operational are the Busuanga Airport, the Puerto Princesa International Airport, Bicol International Airport, Caticlan Airport, the Kalibo International Airport, Roxas Airport, Bohol-Panglao International Airport, Tacloban Airport, Ormoc Airport, and Laguindingan Airport.

Also operational are the Cotabato Airport, Davao International Airport, General Santos Airport, and Butuan Airport.

Hundreds of flights have been canceled due to Odette, which left the Philippine Area of Responsibility on Saturday afternoon, after causing “total devastation” along its path.

Source: GMA News

PH Tightens Testing and Quarantine Protocols Due to Omicron Variant

December 3, 2021

The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) disclosed the new testing and quarantine protocols for travelers arriving from countries that are not on the Philippines’ red list amid the threat of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

Acting presidential spokesperson Karlo Nograles said the new protocols would take effect on December 3.

Under the new guidelines, fully vaccinated travelers will be required to have a negative RT-PCR test conducted within 72 hours prior to departure from the country of origin.

The fully vaccinated travelers will undergo facility-based quarantine with an RT-PCR test taken on the 5th day, with the date of arrival being the first day.

Regardless of a negative result, they shall be required to undergo home quarantine for 14 days from the date of arrival.

Travelers who have yet to be vaccinated or those who have only been partially vaccinated will also be required to take a negative RT-PCR test conducted within 72 hours prior to departure from the country of origin.

Upon arrival in the Philippines, they will undergo facility-based quarantine with an RT-PCR test done on the 7th day, with the date of arrival being the first day.

They shall be required to undergo home quarantine for 14 days from the date of arrival regardless of a negative result.

The Philippines updated its red list after the detection of the more infectious Omicron variant.

Countries on the red list are deemed COVID-19 high-risk areas and travelers from these countries are temporarily barred from entering the Philippines.

Currently, the Philippines has 14 countries on the red list.

These include Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Mozambique.

The list and the travel ban are effective until December 15.

The Bureau of Quarantine has been monitoring passengers from red list countries who arrived in the country before the travel ban was announced.

It said those travelers had no symptoms of COVID-19.

Nograles said the Department of Transportation (DOTr) has been directed to ensure that airlines board only passengers who comply with the negative RT-PCR test-before-travel requirement.

He said minors would follow the testing and quarantine protocol of the parent or guardian traveling with them, regardless of their vaccination status and country of origin.

For those international passengers who have already arrived and are currently undergoing quarantine, they will continue with the testing and quarantine protocols in place at the time of their arrival.

Meanwhile, Filipinos from red list countries are allowed entry via government-initiated or non-government repatriations, and Bayanihan Flights will only be allowed to deplane via the Ninoy Aquino International Airport or Clark International Airport.

Upon arrival, they will comply with the testing and quarantine protocols as prescribed under IATF Resolution No. 149-A (s.2021).

Source: GMA News; Philippine News Agency

PH Bans Inbound Flights From 7 More Countries Due to Omicron Variant

November 29, 2021

The Philippines coronavirus task force placed Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, and Italy under its so-called “red list” until Dec. 15, banning the entry of travelers from these countries.

The ban initially covered South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Mozambique.

The government also backpedaled on a plan to allow the entry of some vaccinated foreign tourists starting Dec. 1.

“Inbound international travel of all persons, regardless of vaccination status, coming from or who have been to red list countries/jurisdictions/territories within the last 14 days prior to arrival to any port of the Philippines, shall not be allowed,” acting Presidential Spokesperson Karlo Nograles said in a statement.

“Only Filipinos returning to the country via government-initiated or non-government-initiated repatriation and Bayanihan flights may be allowed entry subject to the prevailing entry, testing, and quarantine protocols” for areas in the Red List, he added.

Source: Reuters, Philippine Daily Inquirer

Updated Testing, Quarantine Protocols for Arriving International Passengers

The Department of Tourism (DOT) said the hotel quarantine period for fully vaccinated returning overseas Filipinos, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), and balikbayans from yellow countries will be reduced from five to just three days starting November 22.

Acting Presidential Spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles announced that fully vaccinated Filipinos coming from nations in the Green List, “must undergo facility-based quarantine with on-arrival RT-PCR testing until the release of their negative results. After which, the individual is enjoined to self-monitor until the 14th day of their arrival with the date of arrival being the first day.”

If the fully-vaccinated Filipino traveler from a Green List country arrives with a negative test taken within 72 hours prior to departure from the country of origin, no facility-based quarantine and no on-arrival RT-PCR test is required, per Secretary Nograles.

He added that for fully-vaccinated foreign individuals coming from Green List, a negative RT-PCR test shall be required to be taken within 72 hours prior to departure from the country of origin. Upon arrival, no facility-based quarantine and no on-arrival RT-PCR test shall be further required, but the passenger is enjoined to self-monitor for any symptoms until the 14th day from the date of arrival.

Meanwhile, for unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, and those whose vaccination status cannot be independently validated, and those vaccinated but failed to comply with the test-before-travel requirements, they shall have to undergo facility-based quarantine until the release of their negative RT-PCR test taken on the fifth day, after which they can do self-monitoring until the 14th day from the date of their arrival.

For passengers coming from nations in the Yellow List, fully-vaccinated individuals shall be required to present a negative RT-PCR test done within 72 hours prior to departure from country of origin. They shall then undergo facility-based quarantine, with RT-PCR test done on the third day, after which they may be discharged if they tested negative and are enjoined to self-monitor up to the 14th day.

“On the other hand, fully-vaccinated individuals from Yellow List nations without a negative pre-departure test shall be required to undergo facility-based quarantine with a fifth day RT-PCR test, with the date of arrival considered the first day,” added Sec. Nograles.

Upon the release of a negative RT-PCR test, fully-vaccinated travelers from Yellow List countries without pre-departure test may be discharged from facility quarantine, after which they shall be required to undergo home quarantine until the 10th day from date of their arrival from a Yellow List country.

For the unvaccinated, partially-vaccinated, or whose vaccination status cannot be independently validated, who came from a Yellow list area, they are to undergo facility-based quarantine with RT-PCR test done on the seventh day, then upon release of a negative result, they shall be required to undergo home quarantine until the 14th day.

In the case of minors, Nograles said the IATF’s decision is for minors to follow the testing and quarantine protocols of the parent or guardian traveling with them, regardless of the minor’s vaccination status and country of origin. (OPS)

Source: Philippine Information Agency

Palace announces COVID-19 alert levels for rest of country from Nov. 22 to 30

November 20, 2021

The government’s COVID-19 task force has approved the alert levels for areas previously not covered by the new system for determining mobility restrictions amid the pandemic.

Alert Level 2 will be implemented from November 22 to 30 in:

  • Benguet
  • Abra
  • Kalinga
  • Oriental Mindoro
  • Puerto Princesa
  • Marinduque
  • Romblon
  • Palawan
  • Occidental Mindoro
  • Butuan City
  • Surigao del Norte
  • Agusan del Sur
  • Surigao del Sur
  • Agusan del Norte
  • Basilan
  • Cotabato City
  • Tawi-Tawi
  • Lanao del Sur
  • Maguindanao

Meanwhile, the following areas will be deemed under alert level 3 from Nov. 22 until the end of the month:

  • Apayao
  • Mountain Province
  • Ifugao
  • Dinagat Islands
  • Sulu

Source: GMA News, Philippine Daily Inquirer

Operating Hours of NCR Malls Adjusted

November 6, 2021

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has announced new mall operating hours in the upcoming holiday season.

Starting November 15, Metro Manila malls will operate:

  • 11am – 11pm (weekdays)
  • 10am – 11pm (weekends)

The adjustment is in line with MMDA Resolution No. 21-25, which was signed by all 17 Metro mayors, for the coming Christmas season.

Curfew hours have also been lifted in the region—the first time since the start of lockdowns amid COVID-19 pandemic.

Following the shift to a lower Alert Level of Metro Manila, children are now allowed to enter malls.

The alert level effective until Nov. 21 removes the limit on going to select establishments like malls based on age and vaccination status, the department of health said.

Source: Manila Bulletin; ABS-CBN News

Coron, Palawan is Reopening to Tourists Starting Nov. 15

November 5, 2021

Starting November 15, Coron, Palawan is finally reopening its doors to domestic tourism!

An executive order from the office of the municipal mayor was signed on November 4, listing down specific travel requirements for all incoming travelers.

Only “fully vaccinated domestic tourists and foreigners, particularly those already staying in the Philippines before the start of the pandemic” are allowed to enter the island.

Here are the latest Coron travel requirements (as of November 4):

  • Government ID
  • COVID-19 vaccination card
  • Negative results of an RT-PCR test conducted by the Philippine Red Cross with official receipt taken within 72 hours of departure
  • Confirmed hotel, tour, or diving booking accredited by DOT
  • Approved S-PaSS travel application

Source: Spot.ph | Coron Public Information Office

DOT Offers Free Swab Tests for Local Tourists

November 2, 2021

Calling all domestic tourists! Great news for you because you can now have anti-COVID swab tests for free!

The Department of Tourism (DOT) has rolled out a new phase of its financial subsidy, through the Tourism Promotions Board, to boost its domestic tourism recovery program.

Under the subsidy, 350 applicants a day will be given free RT-PCR tests at the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC).

More than 12,000 qualified domestic tourists are seen to benefit from the program until the end of the year, the DOT said.

Domestic tourists wishing to avail themselves of the free testing at the PCMC may visit https://www.tpb.gov.ph/rtpcrphtravel/ for application procedures and requirements.

Puyat clarified that the free testing was only for domestic tourists whose destination still required a negative result from an RT-PCR test or for staycation purposes, adding that many of the country’s destinations now accept fully vaccinated visitors without requiring the swab test.

Source: Philippine News Agency; Philippine Daily Inquirer

No more quarantine for vaccinated Pinoys, gov’t urged

October 31, 2021

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion has called anew on the government to consider removing the facility-based quarantine requirement for fully vaccinated Filipinos coming from the United States and Canada.

In a statement, Concepcion said his proposal was meant to make it easier for Filipinos abroad to come home and reunite with their families during the holidays, which ultimately would also be good for business since people would spend more.

Concepcion said the United States and Canada are currently not on the Philippines’ list of green countries, which means that fully vaccinated travelers from these countries would still be required to undergo a COVID test after spending five days at a quarantine facility.

Under Concepcion’s proposal, travelers from the United States and Canada would be tested 48 hours before departure and tested again on their arrival in the Philippines.

The test would be done either at their homes if they live within Metro Manila, or at the quarantine hotel if they don’t have a place to stay. The proposed system will necessitate confirmed test schedules from the passengers.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

14 PH Tourist Spots Drop COVID-19 Test Requirement for Fully Vaxxed Travelers

October 29, 2021

Good news to those who are itching to travel again! The Department of Tourism (DOT) said 14 local government units (LGUs) with jurisdiction over tourist destinations have decided to scrap the swab test requirement for guests who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

These are the Philippine destinations that have agreed to remove the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and antigen testing for fully-vaccinated travelers as of Oct. 24:

  1. Cebu Province
  2. Lapu-Lapu City
  3. Catbalogan City
  4. Bohol
  5. Iloilo City
  6. Negros Occidental
  7. Clark Freeport Zone (except travelers from areas under ECQ)
  8. Subic Bay Freeport Zone
  9. Tarlac (for travelers coming from ECQ and MECQ areas)
  10. Masbate Province
  11. Southern Leyte
  12. Tacloban City
  13. Maasin City
  14. Misamis OrientalAccording to the DOT, travelers bound to Bohol, Iloilo City, and Negros Occidental are required to present vaccination certificates acquired through VaxCertPH via the Department of Health (DOH) website.Most of the remaining destinations on the list are requiring a vaccination card but the DOT advised travelers to check directly with the concerned LGU for the updated required entry documents.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Boracay may scrap COVID-19 test for vaccinated tourists

boracay philippines tourism news

October 27, 2021

DOT said Aklan may do away with the requirement of negative COVID-19 swab tests for vaccinated tourists ahead of the holidays.

In an interview with ANC’s Headstart, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Puyat said the Aklan provincial government appeared open to the request as long as tourism workers and residents are fully vaccinated, which she said is what the DOT “has been doing.”

“According to him (Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores), in a month’s time or maybe in three weeks’ time, he will already be accepting fully vaccinated in lieu of RT-PCR,” said Puyat on Wednesday, October 27.

“But of course, if you’re not vaccinated, you still have to give a negative RT-PCR,” added Puyat.

A fully vaccinated individual is someone who already had either a one-dose vaccine or their second dose of a two-dose vaccine for at least 14 days, the tourism chief explained.

Source: Rappler

Baguio City Reopens Strictly to Fully Vaccinated Travelers

minesview park baguio philippines tourism news

October 27, 2021

Baguio City has reopened its doors to fully vaccinated travelers!

In an announcement by Baguio Tourism on October 26, fully vaccinated individuals can visit Baguio without having to present an RT-PCR or antigen test.

Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated minors (from 12 to 17 years old) can join their fully vaccinated parents and guardians as long as they have negative RT-PCR or antigen test taken within 72 hours of arrival. Those younger than 11 years old shall be tested at the option of their accompanying parent or adult guardian.

On the other hand, unvaccinated and partially vaccinated adults are prohibited from entering the city. Those from areas under Enhanced Community Quarantine, Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine, and Alert Levels 4 and 5 are also not allowed to enter.

Here are the latest Baguio travel requirements (as of October 26):

  • Baguio Visita registration with QR-coded Tourist Pass
  • Vaccination card or vaccination certificate
  • Health screening and verification at the triage in Baguio upon arrival

Source: Spot.ph

DENR clarifies only kids aged 11, below not allowed in dolomite beach

October 26, 2021

Kids aged 11 and below are not allowed to enter the dolomite beach at the Manila Bay, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said, clarifying an earlier statement that the ban includes 12-year-olds.

At a Palace briefing, DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda corrected DENR’s earlier announcement that kids aged 12 and below are not allowed at the dolomite beach following the overcrowding at the area over the weekend.

“Sad to say, isa hong masamang balita para sa mga bata, from 11 pababa ang edad ay hindi muna papayagang makapasok dito because of the alert level,” Antiporda said.

“Sana maunawaan natin ito although sinasabi na pwede kayo sa open areas, but this is a crowded open area so we want to be sure na hindi kayo madisgrasyo o magkasakit ng COVID,” he added.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Finally, Staycation! DOT Allows Staycation in NCR Hotels

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Philippine Star, Philippine News Agency

New Alert Level Systems to Start on Oct. 20

October 20, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

ALERT LEVEL 4

  1. Negros Oriental
  2. Davao Occidental

ALERT LEVEL 3

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

ALERT LEVEL 2

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

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

On alert level 2:

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

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

On alert level 3:

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

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

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

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

October 19, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Travelers from Romania barred from PH

October 16, 2021
 

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

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

GREEN LIST COUNTRIES

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

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

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

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

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

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

October 14, 2021

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

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

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

The green countries as of October 8 are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Philippine Tourism News Source: Rappler

Fully Vaxxed People Regardless of Age Can Now Travel: DOT

Maasin River siargao tourist spots in mindanao

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

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

Who are allowed?

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Manila Bulletin; Philippine News Agency

Gov’t eases restrictions for arriving, vaccinated travelers

travelers at naia
October 9, 2021
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Siargao, Palawan, Boracay win spot in Condé Nast awards

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Philippine News Agency

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

September 30, 2021
 

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

IATF also approved:

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

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

New Quarantine classifications in the Philippines

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

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

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

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

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

GCQ from October 1 – 31 include:

Luzon

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

Visayas

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

Mindanao

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

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

Restricted countries in the Philippines

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

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

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

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

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

220 Areas Under Granular Lockdown in NCR — PNP

manila philippines tourism news

September 24, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

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

minesview park baguio philippines tourism news
September 23, 2021
 

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

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

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

During the implementation of GCQ with heightened restrictions:

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

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

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

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

BI Implements Travel Ban on 4 Countries

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

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

These countries are:

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

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

The travel restrictions will be until Sept. 30

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

Green list countries

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

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

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

Source: Manila Bulletin

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

hidden beach palawan philippines tourism news
September 17, 2021
 

Here’s another awesome Philippine tourism news to know!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Manila Bulletin
 

Ilocos Norte tourist sites reopened only for residents

September 16, 2021

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

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

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

Subject to restrictions

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Intramuros, Rizal Park Reopens Today, Sept. 16

intramuros philippines tourism news

September 16, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Department of Tourism

Subsidized RT-PCR test for NCR travelers resumes

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Applicants must attach the following supporting documents:

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

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

Source: Philippine News Agency

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

September 15, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

MECQ

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

GCQ with heightened restrictions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Philippine News Agency

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

September 15, 2021

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

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

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

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

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

BI Announces Travel Ban on 9 Other Countries

September 12, 2021
 

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

These countries are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Bureau of Immigration; Manila Bulletin

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

September 12, 2021
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Manila Bulletin

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

September 7, 2021

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Source: GMA News

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

September 6, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other areas under GCQ are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

PH Travel Ban on 10 Countries, Now Lifted

airplane taking off at naia philippines tourism news

September 6, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

American SamoaComorosMaliSaba
AnguillaRepublic of the CongoFederated States of MicronesiaSaint Pierre and Miquelon
AustraliaDjiboutiMontserratSierra Leone
BeninEquatorial GuineaNew CaledoniaSint Eustatius
Burkina FasoFalkland Islands (Malvinas)New ZealandSlovakia
CameroonGabonNigerTaiwan
Cayman IslandsGrenadaNorthern Mariana Islands 
ChadHong KongPalau 
ChinaHungaryPoland 

New listings

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

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

Yellow List

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Red List

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Manila Bulletin

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

manila philippines tourism news
September 4, 2021
 

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

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

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

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

Siargao is welcoming tourists again

guyam island siargao

September 3, 2021

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

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

Source: Surigao Del Norte Tourism and Culture Office

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Manila Bulletin

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

travelers at naia philippines tourism news

September 1, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Manila Bulletin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Manila Bulletin

Travel ban on 10 countries extended until September 5

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

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

August 30, 2021
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Manila Bulletin

MECQ in Metro Manila extended until September 7

makati philippines tourism news
August 29, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Philippine Star

IATF OKs OneHealthPass for all arriving travelers starting Sept. 1

travelers at naia philippines tourism news
August 27, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

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

manila philippines tourism news
August 23, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Manila Bulletin
 

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

August 22, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

NCR, Laguna, Bataan move to MECQ until August 31

August 20, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

Religious gatherings shall also remain virtual in the said areas.

Source: Manila Bulletin; Philippine Daily Inquirer

Laguna to Stay Under ECQ Until August 20

laguna tourist spot philippines tourism news

Auhust 14, 2021

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

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

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

Source: Rappler

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

August 13, 2021

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

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

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

ApayaoIlocos NorteBulacanCavite
Lucena CityRizalAklanIloilo Province
Lapu-Lapu CityMandaue CityCebu City 

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

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

The following areas are under GCQ:

TarlacGuimarasGeneral Santos CitySarangani
Baguio CityNegros OccidentalSultan KudaratNorth Cotabato
Santiago CityZamboanga SibugayAgusan del SurSouth Cotabato
QuirinoZamboanga CitySurigao del Norte
Agusan del Norte
IsabelaZamboanga del NorteSurigao del Sur 
Nueva VizcayaDavao OrientalDinagat Islands 
Puerto PrincesaDavao del SurCotabato City 

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

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

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

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

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

AlbaniaCayman IslandsGrenadaNigeria
American SamoaChadHong Kong
Northern Mariana Islands
AnguillaChinaHungaryPalau
AustraliaComorosMaliPoland
BeninCote d’ Ivoire (Ivory Coast)Federated States of MicronesiaRomania
Bosnia and HerzegovinaDjiboutiMontserrat (British Overseas Territory)
Saint Pierre and Miquelon
BruneiEquatorial GuineaNew CaledoniaSlovakia
Burkina FasoFalkland IslandsNew ZealandSudan
CameroonGabonNigerTaiwan
 

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

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

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

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

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

a traveler on quarantine philippines tourism news

August 12, 2021

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

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

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

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

DOH recommendation

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

PH extends travel ban on 10 countries until Aug. 31

travelers at naia philippines tourism news

August 12, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Manila Bulletin

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

manila philippines tourism news
August 9, 2021
 

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Bataan escalated to ECQ from August 8 to 22

las casas filipinas de acuzar bataan philippines tourism news

August 7, 2021

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

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

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

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

Source: Manila Bulletin

Laguna, Iloilo City, Cagayan de Oro under ECQ

Laguna seven lakes philippines tourism news

August 6, 2021

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

The new quarantine classifications are as follows:

ECQ from August 6 to 15

  • Laguna
  • Iloilo City
  • Cagayan de Oro City

MECQ from August 6 to 15

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

GCQ with heightened restrictions from August 6 to 15

  • Batangas
  • Quezon

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

Vaccination activities will likewise continue during ECQ.

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

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

Source: Rappler; Manila Bulletin

Boracay tourism activities suspended during MECQ, says Aklan gov

boracay philippines tourism news
August 4, 2021
 

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

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

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

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Boxer Eumir Marcial Wins Olympics Bronze for PH

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

August 5, 2021

Cover Photo by Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters via Rappler

Filipino athletes aren’t stopping!

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

Congrats, Eumir!

Source: Yahoo! News; Rappler

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Manila Bulletin

PH travel ban for passengers from 10 countries extended anew

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Manila Bulletin

Leisure flights from NCR suspended: DOT

naia facade philippines tourism news
 

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

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

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

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

‘Staycation suspended’ 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Philippine News Agency

Be sure to always check this blog for weekly updates about the travel situation in the Philippines.

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