Israel, Opening to Fully Vaccinated Tourists

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

Featured Philippine Tourism News:

Israel, Opening to Fully Vaccinated Filipinos, Foreign Tourists starting May 23

April 15, 2021

Good news for the travelers who are itching to explore the world again! Israel will open for foreign tourists but with one strict condition: you must be fully vaccinated.

Starting on May 23, travelers, including Filipinos, will be allowed into Israel in its “second stage”, with health considerations determining the timeline.

Philippine passport holders can enjoy visa-free entry to Israel for up to a 90-days stay.

Under this program, all visitors will be required to undergo a PCR test before boarding the flight from their ports of origin. 

Upon arrival at the Ben Gurion International Airport, visitors will undergo a serological test to prove their vaccination. This is a blood test to detect the presence of antibodies against a microorganism. 

Source: Philippine News Agency; Manila Bulletin

Pagudpud beach listed among the world’s most beautiful

April 14, 2021

Saud Beach in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, dubbed as the “Boracay of the North” was hailed as one of the “25 Most Beautiful Beaches in the World” by New York-based magazine Travel+Leisure.

The American travel magazine was stunned about Saud Beach’s white sand and clear-as-glass waters, further describing it as “like a real-world example of a zero-entry swimming pool.”

Ilocos Norte is currently under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), meaning tourists planning to visit the province are required to register first at ilocosnorte.ph where they would be informed of the guidelines and required documents before traveling.

Source: Philippine News Agency

NCR Plus Placed Under MECQ Until April 30

April 11, 2021

President Rodrigo Duterte has placed NCR Plus (Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal) under the less restrictive modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from April 12 to April 30.

Santiago City in Isabela and the province of Quirino will remain under MECQ, while Abra was added to the list of areas under MECQ until the end of the month.

The guidelines allowed “all establishments” that were shut down during ECQ to operate at a 50-percent on-site capacity, except for certain activities such as indoor dine-in services, personal care services like beauty salons and derma cli­nics, and entertainment venues like cinemas, bars and theaters.

Meanwhile, the following areas will be placed under general community quarantine:

  • Cordillera Administrative Region
  • Batangas province
  • Tacloban City
  • Iligan City
  • Davao City
  • Lanao del Sur province
  • Quezon province

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

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer, Rappler

 

PH Eyes Use of IATA Digital Travel Pass

April 7, 2021

The Philippine government is considering the use of the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) travel pass as part of the country’s preparations for the resumption of international travel amid the pandemic, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said.

In a nutshell, the IATA Travel Pass is a mobile application that can be used to create a digital passport, verify tests or vaccinations with regulatory authorities, and submit requirements such as test results or vaccination certificates to facilitate travel. 

It helps people travel with ease while meeting government travel requirements for COVID-19 tests or vaccines.

USers can use it to create a digital passport, verify their tests or vaccinations with regulatory authorities, and submit requirements such as test results or vaccination certificates to facilitate travel.

The initiative also features a “Lab App” to allow authorized Covid-19 testing centers and laboratories to securely send test results or vaccination certificates to passengers.

The DOT, however, did not provide any timeline when the IATA initiative will be adopted in the Philippines.

Source: Rappler

ECQ Extended by 1 Week in NCR Plus

makati philippines tourism news

April 3, 2021

Amid the continued surge in Covid19 cases, the government on Saturday, April 3, 2021, announced that it will be extending the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in the NCR Plus region by 1 week. The extended ECQ will start on April 5, 2021, and end on April 11, 2021. NCR Plus regions include Metro Manila and its neighboring regions of Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, and Cavite. The announcement was made by Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. on Saturday. The ECQ guidelines under the extended tenure will remain the same for the extended tenure as well.

Here are the ECQ Rules for NCR Plus: 

  • Strict home quarantine in households to be followed except for accessing essential goods/services or work in permitted offices.
  • No mass gatherings allowed
  • Curfew to be followed from 6 PM to 5 AM (except for APORs, workers, cargo vehicles, public transportation)
  • No malls except for essential stores such as groceries, pharmacies, hardware
  • Restaurants permitted for take-out and delivery only
  • Staycations are not allowed
  • Public Transport in ECQ: Jeepneys and buses to operate at 50% capacity. Rail lines to retain passengers at 20-30% capacity. International inbound passenger capacity for Ninoy Aquino International Airport will remain at 1,500 flyers a day like before. 

Travel Restrictions in the Philippines: FAQs

Updated April 3, 2021

Q1. Who all are allowed to enter the Philippines in 2021?

As per the latest directive by The National Task Force, all Filipino citizens, whether a returning Overseas Filipino or overseas Filipino worker shall be allowed to return to the Philippines. Foreigners’ entry will remain restricted from March 22 until April 21, 2021. However, there are some travelers exempted from the above rules and these are: 

  • Diplomats and members of international organizations and their dependents provided they hold a valid 9(e) visa or 47(a)(2) visa
  • Foreign nationals involved in medical repatriation duty endorsed by the Department of Foreign Affairs – Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, provided that they have a valid visa at the time of entry
  • Foreign seafarers under the “Green Lanes” program for a crew change, provided that they hold a 9(c) crew list visa at the time of entry
  • Foreign spouses and children of Filipino citizens traveling with them provided they have valid visas, provided that they have a valid visa at the time of entry
  • Emergency, humanitarian, and other analogous cases approved by the chairperson of the NTF COVID-19 or his duly authorized representative

Q2. What are the local travel restrictions in and around Metro Manila, Philippines?

ECQ has been extended in Metro Manila and its 4 surrounding areas namely Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal (also known as NCR Plus) and earlier ECQ rules will still apply. Here are the guidelines for ECQ in NCR Plus:

  • Strict home quarantine in households to be followed except for accessing essential goods/services or work in permitted offices.
  • No mass gatherings allowed
  • Curfew to be followed from 6 PM to 5 AM (except for APORs, workers, cargo vehicles, public transportation)
  • No malls except for essential stores such as groceries, pharmacies, hardware
  • Restaurants permitted for take-out and delivery only
  • Staycations are not allowed
  • Public Transport in ECQ: Jeepneys and buses to operate at 50% capacity. Rail lines to retain passengers at 20-30% capacity. International inbound passenger capacity for Ninoy Aquino International Airport will remain at 1,500 flyers a day like before.

Q3. When will the Philippines reopen for international travel?

Due to the rising Covid-19 situation, the Philippines is only allowing Filipinos (OFWs and non-OFWs) to enter the country with exceptions for some travelers in exempted categories related to diplomatic relations, foreign spouses, humanitarian causes, and foreigners involved in medical repatriation endorsed by Dept. of Foreign Affairs. The govt. will take steps to open the Philippines for international travel once the Covid-19 situation is under control and it deems fit for allowing international travel. Please stay tuned for more updates regarding the opening of international travel in the Philippines. 

Q4. Are staycations allowed in the Philippines? 

These are the destinations in the Philippines where staycations and leisure travel is allowed given the traveler follows the travel conditions.

Please note: Residents/locals from Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal are not allowed to have staycations since these regions are currently under ECQ. Therefore by default, no resident from these areas will be able to travel outside to any other destination for staycation purposes. 

Philippines Destinations open for travel Travel Conditions
Metro Manila and Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal (NCR Plus) Staycations not allowed until April 4 due to ECQ in NCR Plus.
Boracay Leisure travel is allowed. A negative test result of RT-PCR Swab Test or Saliva RT-PCR Test is accepted taken not earlier than 72 hours before visiting the island
Cebu Leisure travel is allowed. Travelers to show a valid medical certificate issued by a reputable doctor within 7 days prior to travel date, proof of pre-booking at an accredited hotel or resort in the Province of Cebu, and pass symptoms checking or screening at the point of departure.
Palawan (includes El Nido, Coron, Port Barton, Puerto Princesa, and San Vicente) Open to domestic tourists with a negative RT-PCR test.
Tagaytay (part of Cavite) Staycation allowed and leisure travel allowed for locals only.
Surigao del Norte (including Siargao) Open to domestic tourists with negative RT-PCR test or RT-PCR Saliva test
Bohol Open to domestic tourists with negative RT-PCR test or RT-PCR Saliva test
Aklan Open to domestic tourists with negative RT-PCR test or RT-PCR Saliva test
Baguio Open to domestic tourists with a QR-coded tourist pass
Puerto Galera Open to domestic tourists with negative RT-PCR test
Batangas Open to domestic tourists (Anilao diving sites open to tourists from GCQ and MGCQ areas with a negative RT-PCR test results, proof of accommodation reservation, valid ID, and medical clearance).
Ilocos Sur (including Vigan) Open to tourists with a negative RT-PCR test

Q5. What all destinations are accepting saliva RT-PCR for travel?

Currently, the following destinations are accepting the RT-PCR Saliva test for travel:

  1. Aklan and Boracay
  2. Bohol
  3. Siargao

We will keep updating the list as and when more destinations start accepting the RT-PCR saliva test for travel. 


Philippine tourism news from earlier this month:

NCR Plus under ECQ from March 29 to April 4

makati philippines tourism news

March 29, 2021

Starting March 29 until April 4, Metro Manila as well as Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, and Cavite (also known as “NCR Plus” by the government) will be under ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) to reduce the spread of COVID19 in the region.

Here are the ECQ Guidelines for NCR Plus: 

  • Strict home quarantine in households to be followed except for accessing essential goods/services or work in permitted offices.
  • No mass gatherings allowed
  • Curfew to be followed from 6 PM to 5 AM (except for APORs, workers, cargo vehicles, public transportation)
  • No malls except for essential stores such as groceries, pharmacies, hardware
  • Restaurants permitted for take-out and delivery only
  • Staycations are not allowed
  • Public Transport in ECQ: Jeepneys and buses to operate at 50% capacity. Rail lines to retain passengers at 20-30% capacity. International inbound passenger capacity for Ninoy Aquino International Airport will remain at 1,500 flyers a day like before. 

Philippines Adds More Restrictions In And Around NCR Amid COVID-19 Surge

March 22, 2021

In an effort to curb the surge of COVID-19 in NCR, additional restrictions like those in effect in Metro Manila currently are now being implemented in its 4 major surrounding areas of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal. Under the new restrictions, these 4 areas will also be having night-time curfews and a ban on mass gatherings starting from March 22 until the next two weeks. Only essential travel to and from the capital region and the above-mentioned surrounding 4 areas which Roque mentioned as “bubble areas” will be permitted. 

Movement within the bubble areas will not be restricted however as per rules, anyone under the age of 18 or over the age of 65 will be required to remain indoors.

Weddings, baptisms, and funeral services will be allowed but with a maximum gathering of 10 people. Restaurants will also be allowed to operate but will be restricted to delivery, take-out, and outdoor dining. 

All Filipinos Allowed To Enter Philippines As Per Revised International Travel Rules

travelers at naia

March 19, 2021

As per the latest and revised update from The National Task Force, all Filipinos will now be permitted to enter the Philippines as opposed to only OFWs earlier. The restriction on foreigners’ entry still remains in effect although the date of implementation has moved from March 22  – April 21. 

As stated and signed by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana in memorandum circular, “All Filipino citizens, whether a returning Overseas Filipino or overseas Filipino worker shall be allowed to return to the Philippines”

Travelers exempted from the above restrictions are:

  • Diplomats and members of international organizations and their dependents provided they hold a valid 9(e) visa or 47(a)(2) visa
  • Foreign nationals involved in medical repatriation duty endorsed by the Department of Foreign Affairs – Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, provided that they have a valid visa at the time of entry
  • Foreign seafarers under the “Green Lanes” program for a crew change, provided that they hold a 9(c) crew list visa at the time of entry
  • Foreign spouses and children of Filipino citizens traveling with them provided they have valid visas, provided that they have a valid visa at the time of entry
  • Emergency, humanitarian, and other analogous cases approved by the chairperson of the NTF COVID-19 or his duly authorized representative

Source: Inquirer.net

Foreigners and non-OFWs not allowed in the Philippines from March 20 – April 19

Metro Manila GCQ News

March 16, 2021

As per the latest update from The National Task Force in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases, travel into the Philippines would be restricted starting from March 20 until April 19, 2021. 

Under the memorandum signed by Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Foreigners and “Returning Overseas Filipinos who are non-OFWs” will not be allowed to enter the Philippines except for:

  • Holders of 9(C) visas (seafarers)
  • Medical repatriation and their escorts endorsed by the Department of Foreign Affairs-Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs or the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration
  • Distressed ROFs endorsed by the Department of Foreign Affairs-Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs
  • Emergency and humanitarian cases

Other updates from the memo also include 1500 daily passenger limits being applied to not just NAIA but all the other airports. The measure comes in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases and is intended to prevent the “entry of new virus”

Please see the official memorandum for further details. Link 1 Link 2

Aklan Now Accepts Saliva RT-PCR Tests

willy's rock boracay

March 10, 2021

The local government unit (LGU) of Aklan–the gateway province to the world-famous Boracay Island–is now accepting negative results from cheaper, saliva-based Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) tests as a valid travel requirement.

“Please be informed that as per March 10, 2021 Advisory of the Provincial Government of Aklan, saliva-based RT-PCR is accepted as a requirement for travelers entering the Province of Aklan,” the advisory read.

However, it specified that Boracay–the province’s main draw–would still impose “separate requirements” on would-be visitors.

“Saliva-based RT-PCR is accepted for travelers bound for mainland Malay. As per Executive Order No.005 of the Provincial Government of Aklan, separate requirements shall still be implemented for local tourists bound for Boracay Island,” it added.

Source: Manila Bulletin

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Test before travel still in place in most PH destinations

March 10, 2021

Some destinations that reopened still impose a test-before-travel policy, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat clarified Wednesday.

Among these are Boracay, Bohol, Ilocos Sur, El Nido, Coron, Puerto Princesa, and San Vicente in Palawan, which will open on March 15.

Romulo-Puyat said some Luzon destinations opening up this month would also require a negative test result, such as Pangasinan and La Union.

“Siargao requires also, Siquijor will require, Dumaguete, Negros Oriental will also require; Iloilo also requires. Actually, halos lahat they require test before travel (nearly all destinations require test before travel). Even Cebu City requires,” she said.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) through Resolution No. 101, removed the mandatory testing except when the local government unit requires it before travel.

Source: Philippine News Agency

Puerto Princesa reopens destinations to domestic tourists

puerto princesa underground river

March 5, 2021

 Puerto Princesa City has started to accept domestic tourists on March 1, a piece of welcome news for both tourism workers and travelers itching to take a vacation after a year in quarantine.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the Department of Tourism (DOT) supports the decision of Puerto Princesa City’s executives to reopen attractions to more domestic tourists with minimum health and safety standards in place. It initially opened its destinations last December 8 but only for Palawan locals.

The coastal city requires visitors to take the RT-PCR test before travel with 48 hours validity, the negative result of which should be emailed directly by the Department of Health (DOH)-accredited testing facility to the City’s Incident Management Team (IMT).

Also required is a confirmed booking from a DOT-accredited accommodation establishment and travel agency for guided tours. The use of the StaySafe.ph system as a contact tracing application is likewise mandatory.

Source: Philippine News Agency

Baguio City also ditches COVID test requirement for tourists

minesview park baguio tourist spots

March 3, 2021

After Cebu, Baguio has followed the trend of not requiring local tourists to present a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test or swab test result before entering the city.

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong confirmed that swab tests are no longer required in the Summer Capital unless mandated by the tourist’s accommodation establishments or public transport providers.

The amended Executive Order (EO) No. 1 signed by Magalong indicates that other travel requirements have also been dropped by the local government unit (LGU) such as the travel authority, and the mandatory quarantine — except for symptomatic travelers.

Meanwhile, the LGU has maintained the city’s triage requirement. Triage 1 is located at checkpoints while Triage 2 is at the Central Triage Unit in Baguio Convention Center.

Travelers are also still required to sign up on the city’s registration portals at visita.baguio.gov.ph for tourism, personal, or leisure travels; or at hdf.baguio.gov.ph for returning Baguio residents and other traveler classifications.

Magalong further reminded those going to Baguio City that compliance with the minimum public health standards such as the proper wearing of face masks and face shields, and observing physical distancing will be strictly imposed at all times.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Boracay still requires a negative swab test result

boracay magagandang tanawin sa pilipinas

March 2, 2021

Malay, Aklan clarified that there has been no change on its list of travel requirements for tourists going to the world-famous Boracay Island.

A negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test result is still being required before entry to the island.

Aside from a negative RT-PCR test result taken 72 hours before travel, entry requirements for Boracay also include hotel confirmation from a Department of Tourism (DOT)-accredited accommodation establishment issued with a Certificate of Authority to Operate (CAO); a valid ID showing proof of residence in an area under general community quarantine (GCQ) or modified GCQ; and a completed online health declaration form from https://www.touristboracay.com.

Source: Manila Bulletin

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National Museum set to reopen with ‘new normal’ protocols

national museum of the philippines

March 1, 2021

The National Museum of the Philippines (NMP) has finally reopened after almost a year of closing its doors due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

According to the NMP, only these museums are open for visitors: the National Museum Complex in Manila namely the National Museum of Fine Arts, the National Museum of Anthropology, and the National Museum of Natural History.

With the limited reopening of its museums, the NMP said “tight restrictions and limitations” will be imposed to ensure the health and safety of visitors amid the health crisis.

NMP Director-General Jeremy R. Barns said the museums will open every Tuesdays to Sundays, excluding religious holidays, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon for the morning session, and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. for the afternoon session.

Barns said the museums have also adopted smaller maximum capacities in line with the quarantine rules set by the government’s pandemic task force.

Each museum can only accommodate 100 people per session to ensure that the required two-meter physical distancing is followed. Only visitors aged 15 to 65 years old are allowed.

Walk-ins will not be permitted and those who plan to visit the library are required to book online through reservation.nationalmuseum.gov.ph at least a day before the planned visit. A confirmation of the online reservation will be sent through email.

Groups and group reservations will be limited to a maximum of five persons only, while guided tours will not be permitted.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Malacañang Drops Swab Testing and Quarantine for Travelers

February 27, 2021

Malacañang announced that it is no longer mandatory for travelers to undergo coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) testing and quarantine.

“Travelers shall no longer be required to undergo Covid-19 testing, except if the local government unit (LGU) of destination will make testing as a requirement prior to travel. Testing will be limited to RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) test,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press statement. 

However, travelers who exhibit symptoms upon arrival at their destination have to undergo quarantine, Roque said.

However, the Department of Tourism said it’s up to the local government units (LGUs) whether to drop the swab testing. Under IATF-EID Resolution 101, mandatory testing may be removed except when the LGU requires it before travel.

Source: Philippine News Agency

No more swab test for all tourists in Cebu

magellan's cross cebu

February 23, 2021

Cebu province has eliminated the swab test requirement for tourists to revive its economy.

Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia issued Executive Order No. 12, Series of 2021 that eases restrictions for travelers who would engage in tourism-related activities in the province, provided they submit and comply with the following:

  1. Present a valid medical certificate issued by a reputable doctor within seven days prior to the travel date.
  2. Proof of pre-booking a resort or hotel establishment where he or she would stay during the duration of his or her visit. The resort or hotel establishment should be located within the province of Cebu and duly accredited by the Cebu Provincial Task Force
  3. Pass symptoms checking or screening at the point of departure and at the point of arrival.

The Department of Tourism asked travelers, especially those visiting destinations with eased entry protocols to continue following the health and safety protocols imposed by the government.

Source: Philippine Star, Philippine News Agency

 

More foreigners allowed to enter PH

February 20, 2021

The Philippines is now allowing more foreigners with visas to enter the country. However, tourists are still not permitted to enter the Philippines.

In its latest resolution, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases removed the March 20, 2020, reckoning period in reference to the visas of foreign nationals who would be allowed to enter.

This means those with valid and existing visas at the time of entry would be accepted into the country.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

 

3 Intramuros sites now open to visitors

fort santiago manila

February 17, 2021

It’s official, Intramuros is welcoming tourists again!

Fort Santiago, Casa Manila Museum, and Baluarte de San Diego are open to visitors again but will drastically lower the capacity.

Fort Santiago and Baluarte de San Diego will only hold 100 people at a time, down from its peak capacity of 10,000 people. Casa Manila Museum, meanwhile, will only have 15 people at a time and only up to 5 people in a group.

Visitors are required to practice safety guidelines, which include wearing masks and face shields, physical distancing, practicing hand hygiene and cough etiquette, and undergoing mandatory temperature screening and sanitizing protocols. 

They are also required to register on the StaySafe.PH app before entering the sites.

The Intramuros Administration posted a detailed guide to the reopening on their Facebook page, along with their opening hours.

Beginning February 18, the sites will have the following schedule:

  • Fort Santiago – Daily from 12 nn to 8 pm
  • Casa Manila – Tuesday to Sunday from 8 am to 5 pm
  • Baluarte de San Diego – Saturday and Sunday from 8 am to 5 pm

Entrance fees remain at P75 for adults, while the discounted fee for students and persons with disability is at P50. Visitors can pay in cash, via Beep card, or PayMaya.

Source: Rappler, Philippine News Agency

Cebu province opens doors to Filipino visitors

oslob cebu tourist spot in the philippines

February 12, 2021

Cebu is opening its doors to tourists from other provinces across the Philippines who are planning to visit Cebu may now be able to enter the island province with lesser restrictions.

Tourists who wish to stay in resorts and hotels will only need to show their pre-booked reservations while those who want to experience the different tourism activities here will have to register ahead through the Capitol’s booking portal, discover.cebu.gov.ph.

Based on the latest Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of the Community Quarantine in the Philippines issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID), areas under MGCQ and GCQ can now cross borders with minimum requirements.

“Inter-zonal movement of persons not authorized outside of residences or non-APOR between areas placed under GCQ and MGCQ for any purpose shall be permitted subject to reasonable regulations imposed by the LGU concerned, if any,” Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia said.

Source: Philippine News Agency

 

Qualified Foreigners May Enter PH in February

January 30, 2021

Effective February 1, with the lifting of travel restrictions on COVID-19 new variant countries, foreign nationals will be re-allowed to enter under relevant IATF resolutions but subject to the following conditions:

  • With valid and existing visa at the time of entry, except for those qualified under the Balikbayan program under RA 6768*;
  • With pre-booked accommodation for at least seven (7) nights in an accredited quarantine hotel/facility;
  • Subject to COVID-19 testing at the quarantine hotel/facility on the sixth (6th) day from the date of arrival
  • Subject to the maximum capacity of inbound passengers at the port and date of entry

Source: Department of Tourism

 

CAR back to stricter quarantine; still GCQ for Metro, 6 other areas

January 30, 2021

Malacañang said the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) would revert to the stricter general community quarantine (GCQ) next month, following new cases of COVID-19, including its more contagious or United Kingdom variant.

Before the new cases, the region was already under the more relaxed MGCQ. For the entire month of February, it will be under GCQ, together with Metro Manila, Tacloban City, Davao City, Iligan City, and the provinces of Batangas, Davao del Norte and Lanao del Sur.

The rest of the country will be under MGCQ, said presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.

The Cordillera region—which is made up of Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province, and Baguio City—had been anticipating the stricter quarantine after 12 people in the municipality of Bontoc, capital of Mountain Province, contracted the UK variant of the coronavirus this month.

The Department of Health said 45 other people in Bontoc have tested positive for COVID-19. It was not immediately known if they contracted the new variant.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

 

PH to Enforce New Quarantine and Test Rules for Incoming Travelers

January 28, 2021

Starting Feb. 1, the Philippines will enforce new testing and quarantine rules for travelers from other countries to curb the spread of more infectious variants of the coronavirus.

Under the new rules laid down by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, all incoming passengers, regardless of origin, will be required to go into isolation in quarantines upon arrival in the Philippines.

They will take RT-PCR tests five days after their arrival, unless they show Covid-19 symptoms earlier.

Those who will test negative will be endorsed to their local governments, which will monitor their condition during the remainder of their 14-day quarantine period.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Czech Republic now included in PH travel restrictions

January 26, 2021

The Philippine government has included the Czech Republic in the list of countries under travel ban due to new COVID variants, Malacañang announced.

The move was made after the Czech Republic’s National Institute of Public Health confirmed the detection of the more transmissible B.1.1.7. COVID-19 variant that was first detected in the United Kingdom.

According to Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, Filipino citizens coming from the Czech Republic shall be allowed to enter the Philippines subject to testing and quarantine protocols. 

“Those who tested negative from both RT-PCR tests will be endorsed to their respective local government units, which will strictly monitor the remainder of their 14-day quarantine,” he added.  

He said Filipino and foreign passengers merely transiting through the Czech Republic shall be covered by the rules as provided in the Memorandum from Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea dated December 31, 2020.

The ban on foreign travelers now covers 36 jurisdictions, including Czech Republic, after they confirmed the presence of new COVID-19 variants in their areas, namely: United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Netherlands, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United States, Portugal, India, Finland, Norway, Jordan, Brazil, Austria, China, Pakistan, Jamaica, Luxembourg, Oman, United Arab Emirates, and Hungary.

The travel ban in these countries will also end on Jan. 31.

Source: Manila Bulletin

 

PH eases travel curbs for tourists from countries with variants

January 23, 2021

The government has allowed foreigners from some countries that have the new COVID-19 variants to enter the Philippines and has amended quarantine protocols on passengers arriving from these areas, with the new rules requiring them to be tested twice for the disease within five days from their arrival.

IATF said passengers from countries subject to travel restrictions have to be tested upon arrival and quarantined until the result of a subsequent test administered on the fifth day is released. Those who yield a negative result on their second test would be endorsed to the local government of destination, which would be required to monitor the remainder of their 14-day quarantine.

Exempted are accredited foreign diplomats and foreign employees of accredited international organizations, such as the World Health Organization and the United Nations.

But they must undergo a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test upon arrival, execute an undertaking and observe a strict 14-day quarantine.

The spouse and children of Filipino citizens traveling with them are also now allowed to enter the country, subject to the same testing and quarantine protocols applicable to Filipino citizens.

Those traveling to the Philippines for medical and emergency cases and their medical escorts could also enter the country but would be subject to applicable testing and quarantine measures prescribed by the Department of Health.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

PH Travel Ban to 34 Countries Extended to Jan. 31

January 16, 2021

The Philippines has extended its travel ban on 34 countries until January 31, 2021, due to the new COVID-19 variants, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque announced.

Foreign travelers from the following countries will not be allowed to enter the Philippines until the end of the month:

  1. The United Kingdom
  2. Denmark
  3. Ireland
  4. Japan
  5. Australia
  6. Israel
  7. The Netherlands
  8. The People’s Republic of China, including the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
  9. Switzerland
  10. France
  11. Germany
  12. Iceland
  13. Italy
  14. Lebanon
  15. Singapore
  16. Sweden
  17. South Korea
  18. South Africa
  19. Canada
  20. Spain
  21. United States of America
  22. Portugal
  23. India
  24. Finland
  25. Norway
  26. Jordan
  27. Brazil
  28. Austria
  29. Pakistan
  30. Jamaica
  31. Luxembourg
  32. Oman
  33. United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  34. Hungary

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Vaccinated individuals still need to follow travel protocols — DOH

covid vaccine

January 18, 2021

Individuals who were injected with COVID-19 vaccines still need to follow the national government’s travel protocols, the Department of Health (DOH) said.

DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said there is no certainty that all vaccinated individuals will be exempted from travel restrictions or protocols set by the  Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

Duque said “the evidence is not sufficient” as to whether the vaccines could prevent transmission.

Dr. Edsel Maurice Salvana of the DOH-Technical Advisory Group (DOH-TAG) cited the need for the country to have a transmission-blocking vaccine to warrant the lifting of travel restrictions. 

“If we actually have a vaccine that is proven to be 100-percent transmission-blocking then anybody who is vaccinated with it should be able to travel freely. They don’t need to wait for everybody kasi hindi ka nakahahawa (because you are not contagious).

Source: Manila Bulletin

 

PH listed as second most ‘Instagrammable’ place in the world

January 15, 2021

The Philippines is the world’s second most “Instagrammable” place for this year, according to a renowned travel website, Best 7 Travel.

It placed the Philippines in the second place of its “50 Most Instagrammable Places in World” next to Tokyo, Japan. 

“Home to incredible natural wonders like an underground river and tranquil rice terraces in addition to a vibrant culture and history spanning several millennia; and over 7,500 islands – the Philippines as a whole are extremely Instagrammable,” the website said in its list published recently.

The country beat 47 other famous destinations such as Paris, France; New York City; Istanbul in Turkey; Dubai, UAE; Havana, Cuba; Sydney, Australia; London, England; and Chicago also in the USA.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Filipinos bound for US required to present proof of negative COVID test

January 14, 2021

All air passengers, including US citizens, traveling to the United States from a foreign country are now required to present either proof of negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of departure or documentation of having recovered from the virus, the US Embassy in the Philippines announced.

The updated travel requirements are effective starting Jan. 26. 

The embassy also advised airlines to confirm the negative test result or documentation of recovery for all passengers before they board.  

Travelers are also asked to visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about the travel to the US as well as check the embassy’s COVID-19 webpage for information about conditions in the Philippines.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Passengers traveling to Korea no longer need RT-PCR at NAIA

January 11, 2021

Passengers from the Philippines transiting to Incheon, Korea, are no longer required to present a negative Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test upon check-in at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the Korean Air (KE) announced.

In a Facebook post, KE said this is a directive of the Korean government and is effective immediately.

“Please note that this exception only applies to transit passengers,” it said.

The airline added that requirements from the origin or destination country must be checked separately.

To properly observe measures against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), KE reminded that all passengers are still required to wear face masks at the transit area. Those without face masks will not be allowed to board.

Further, temperature checks will still be conducted before boarding the flight from Manila.

Those with a body temperature of 37.5 degrees and above cannot board the aircraft.

Also, those originating from the UK and South Africa with temperature of 37.3 degrees and above will not be allowed to board, KE said.

Source: Philippine Travel News Agency

PH Includes Austria in Travel Ban Due to Threat of New COVID-19 Variant

January 8, 2021

The Philippines is banning the entry of foreign travelers from Austria until January 15 due to the outbreak there of the new South African COVID-19 variant.

Foreign passengers arriving directly from Austria, as well as those who have been there within 14 days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines, will be restricted from entering the country.

Filipino travelers from the said country will be allowed to enter the country but they also need to undergo 14-day quarantine and RT-PCR testing.

The Philippines has previously imposed a temporary travel ban on 27 other countries due to the coronavirus variant from UK, known as B117, which is believed to be more infectious than the original variant.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

PH bans entry of foreigners from 6 more countries

January 7, 2021

Six more countries have been included in the list of nations covered by the travel restrictions until mid-January to curb the spread of the new coronavirus strain, Malacañang announced Wednesday.

These countries include:

  • Portugal
  • India
  • Finland
  • Norway
  • Jordan
  • Brazil

Foreigners coming from or who have been to these six countries within 14 days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines, shall be prohibited from entering the country effective January 8, 2021, 12:01 a.m., Manila time, until January 15, 2021.

The government had earlier barred the entry of foreign travelers from 21 countries, including:

  1. United Kingdom
  2. United States
  3. Denmark
  4. Ireland
  5. Japan
  6. Australia
  7. Israel
  8. The Netherlands
  9. Hong Kong
  10. Switzerland
  11. France
  12. Germany
  13. Iceland
  14. Italy
  15. Lebanon
  16. Singapore
  17. Sweden
  18. South Korea
  19. South Africa
  20. Canada
  21. Spain

Exempted from the travel restrictions are returning Filipinos, foreign diplomats and dignitaries provided they undergo coronavirus testing and facility-based quarantine for 14 days.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Unaccompanied minors from countries with travel restriction won’t be allowed entry into PH from Jan. 8-15

January 7, 2021

All unaccompanied minor Filipino citizens coming from countries where travel restrictions are in place will not be allowed entry into the Philippines starting January 8 until January 15, except if such minors are returning through the repatriation program.

This was based on the recent advisory issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) related to the expansion of travel bans against six more countries with confirmed cases of the new COVID-19 variant — Portugal, India, Finland, Norway, Jordan, and Brazil. 

 “All unaccompanied minor Filipino citizens who are not part of the repatriation program arriving prior to January 8, 2021 shall be turned over to an authorized DSWD officer (Department of Social Welfare Development) who can similarly ensure the minors’ safety and observance of quarantine protocols,” the DFA said. 

Source: Manila Bulletin

Boracay, El Nido Among World’s 25 Best Island Beaches

majestic view of boracay

January 6, 2021

Boracay and El Nido, two of the Philippines’ popular island beach destinations, have been listed by readers in the 25 Best Island Beaches in the World in 2020 organized by American travel publisher Condé Nast Traveler.

White Beach on Boracay Island and El Nido, Palawan placed as the second and ninth best island beaches respectively in the world in the prestigious list.

“Boracay is a screensaver brought to life, with dazzling white sand, so-clear-you-can-see-your-toes water, and a lush jungle backdrop, available to anyone willing to make the journey. The island used to fly under the radar with one of the most beautiful beaches in the world – but the secret’s out. Now the three-mile White Beach, with its grottos and beachside dining (and nightlife), is its busiest swath of sand,” wrote Conde Nast’s Caitlin Morton.

On El Nido, Morton gushed, “Shockingly, Palawan remains steadily under the radar, even though it continues to rank highly in our Readers’ Choice Awards. El Nido alone is home to around 50 white sand beaches – it’s impossible to choose just one – all of which are set around dramatic limestone formations and have the finest and whitest sand you’ll ever see. The water is so blindingly blue it makes the Caribbean Sea look murky in comparison. And the sunsets? Well, they’ll ruin you for life. Consider yourself warned.”

Both Boracay and El Nido are open to domestic tourists coming from general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ areas with health and safety protocols, which you can find at www.philippines.travel/safetrip or download the Travel Philippines app at app.philippines.travel.

As a means to make domestic travel more affordable, the DOT, through the Tourism Promotions Board, encourages domestic tourists to avail of the 50-percent subsidized reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests.

The program, in collaboration with the University of the Philippines – Philippines General Hospital and the Philippine Children’s Medical Center, brings down the test cost to PHP900 and PHP750, respectively. To apply, visit https://www.tpb.gov.ph/rtpcrphtravel/

Source: Philippine News Agency

IATF: Travelers to PH who already received COVID-19 vaccines are not exempt from testing and quarantine protocols

travelers at naia

January 6, 2021

Persons who received the coronavirus vaccines will not be exempted from strict testing and quarantine protocols upon arrival in the Philippines.

“Any individual arriving in the Philippines who may have received vaccination for COVID-19 in other countries/jurisdictions shall still be required to observe the mandatory testing and quarantine protocols,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said.

Source: Manila Bulletin

PH Expands Travel Ban to US Amid Threat of New COVID-19 Variant

December 30, 2020

The Philippine government has included the United States in the list of countries where a travel restriction is imposed to prevent the transmission of the new COVID-19 variant.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the travel restriction is effective starting January 3 until January 15.

Filipino citizens are exempted from the order, but Roque said they are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine regardless of a negative COVID-19 swab test result.

The first known case of the COVID-19 variant in the United States was detected in Colorado.

Earlier, the Philippines already imposed a travel ban to 20 countries where the variant was detected until Jan. 15, 2021.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Philippines to Ban Travel From Countries With New COVID-19 Variant 

December 29, 2020

Effective December 30 at 12:01 midnight, the Philippines will impose a travel ban on countries that have registered cases of a new coronavirus variant which experts fear to be more contagious. It will take effect until January 15, 2021.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that as of early Tuesday afternoon, December 29, Malacañang was still preparing the guidelines on the travel ban which is “highly recommended” by health officials.

The new coronavirus strain, which experts fear to be at least 50% more contagious first originated in the United Kingdom but has since spread to other European countries as well as Canada, Singapore, Japan and South Korea.

Per an advisory from the Manila International Airport Authority, passengers from the following countries will be prohibited from entering the country: 

  • United Kingdom
  • Switzerland
  • Denmark
  • Hong Kong, China
  • Ireland
  • Singapore
  • Japan
  • Germany
  • Australia
  • Iceland
  • South Africa
  • Italy
  • Israel
  • Spain
  • Netherlands
  • Lebanon
  • Canada
  • Sweden
  • France
  • South Korea

A travel ban on the UK was imposed by the government earlier this month. It was set to expire on December 31 but has since been extended for another two weeks.

The Department of Health said it was also monitoring other countries that have reported their own local strains of COVID-19.

Source: Rappler; Philippine Star

Tourists Can Now Get P750 RT-PCR Test at PCMC—DOT

boracay

December 28, 2020

Good news for those planning a vacation soon! Tourists can now apply for a PHP750 reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test at the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC), the Department of Tourism (DOT) confirmed.

This cuts into half the PHP1,500 regular cost of RT-PCR test at PCMC for qualified locals or foreigners residing in the country as long as their purpose for travel is for tourism.

To avail of PCMC’s 50 percent testing cost subsidy, travelers must first register online to pre-schedule their RT-PCR test at http://www.tpb.gov.ph/rtpcrphtravel/ and submit a valid government-issued identification card, proof of hotel booking in a DOT-accredited accommodation establishment, and proof of mode of travel such as airline or bus ticket.

The TPB reminded the public that PCMC will accept RT-PCR test applications on a first-come-first-served basis.

Source: Philippine News Agency

Metro Manila, 9 other areas remain under GCQ

December 28, 2020

Metro Manila and nine other areas will stay under general community quarantine (GCQ) until January 31, 2021, President Duterte announced amid fresh appeals to stay at home as much as possible to avoid coronavirus infection. 

Also placed under GCQ are Isabela, Santiago City, Batangas, Iloilo City, Tacloban City, Lanao del Sur, Iligan City, Davao City, and Davao del Norte from January 1 to 31, 2021 to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, according to the President. 

The rest of the country will remain under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), the most relaxed of the four lockdown levels implemented by the government to stem the outbreak.

The President said the latest quarantine classification of these places would take effect next month subject to the appeal of concerned local government units.

Recently, the government decided to extend the travel ban for flights coming from the United Kingdom for another two weeks or until January 14 to prevent the entry of the more contagious second COVID-19 strain in the country. The President has also raised the possibility of reimposing a stricter lockdown depending on the severity of the COVID cases.

Source: Manila Bulletin

PH Eyes Travel Ban on Nations with New COVID Variant

travelers at naia

December 27, 2020

The Philippine government is eyeing a travel ban on nations with the new COVID-19 variant but would only be considered once there is already a community transmission of the new COVID variant there, DOH Secretary Francisco Duque said.

DOH said areas or countries with recorded cases of the UK variant are currently being monitored. The confirmation of community transmission in these areas is our standard in imposing a travel ban. Some of the countries that have recorded a case of the new coronavirus variant are Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, South Africa, and Japan. 

The new COVID variant was first discovered in the United Kingdom. This variant was reported to be more transmissible. 

Source: Manila Bulletin

Gov’t extends ban on flights from UK to Jan. 14

naia facade

December 27, 2020

Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Jaime Morente announced that the travel restrictions for passengers from the United Kingdom (UK) have been extended up to January  14.

“As directed by President Duterte in a meeting of IATF, flights from the UK remain banned for two more weeks after December 31, 2020,” the BI chief stated.

The ban was an offshoot of the discovery of a new super spreader variant of COVID-19 in the UK, which is reportedly 70 percent more infectious than the original disease.

Currently, the BI is implementing a strict 100 percent passport inspection to determine the travel history of arriving passengers in the last 14 days.

Source: Manila Bulletin

International flights to Cebu to resume soon

mactan international airport cebu ph travel news

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

December 22, 2020

Cebu will soon reopen to international flights ferrying foreign tourists.

The provincial government and city government of Lapu-Lapu, where the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) is located, have agreed to reopen the country’s second busiest air hub to international arrivals.

Governor Gwen Garcia pushed for the reopening of tourism activities in the province to allow the economy to recover from the crippling effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The governor also pushed for the reopening of the province’s borders for tourists from neighboring provinces in Central Visayas.

Cebu province has been placed under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), the most relaxed form of mass quarantine since July wherein tourism businesses were allowed to resume.

Source: Philippine News Agency

IATF Allows Foreigners’ Re-entry to PH

December 18, 2020

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has allowed the re-entry of foreigners who were in the Philippines but temporarily left since December 17.

Among the foreigners who can return to the Philippines are those with permanent residence in the Philippines.

Section 9 (g) of the Commonwealth Act 613 or the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940 states that foreign visa holders are those “lawfully admitted into the Philippines for permanent residence, who is returning from a temporary visit abroad to an unrelinquished residence in the Philippines.”

Roque said foreign nationals who would re-enter the Philippines are required to secure a valid and existing visa on the date of the arrival, pre-booked quarantine facility, and pre-booked COVID-19 testing at a laboratory operating at the airport; and must be subjected to the maximum capacity of inbound passengers at the port and date of entry.

Returning foreigners must also be subject to the maximum capacity of inbound passengers at the port and date of entry, he added.

The Immigration bureau in November allowed foreign traders and investors to enter the country amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Source: Philippine News Agency

DOT swab test subsidy to help 11,000 tourists

El Nido beach tourismDecember 18, 2020

Around 11,000 domestic tourists will benefit from subsidized reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) or swab tests for the coronavirus as the Department of Tourism (DOT) formally partners with the University of the Philippines- Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH).

The DOT, through the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), yesterday inked a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the UP-PGH to subsidize 50 percent of the P1,800 RT-PCR testing cost administered by the PGH.

As per the TPB “To avail of the test’s 50-percent subsidy, the tourist must register at https://www.tpb.gov.ph/rtpcrphtravel/ five days before the scheduled departure date and submit a copy of a valid government-issued ID, a copy of a confirmed accommodation booking and proof of transportation ticket for the appropriate mode of travel,” the TPB said.

Tourists with approved applications will receive an email from the UP-PGH to access the online Client Investigation Form: https://cif.pgh.gov.ph and be notified of their swab test schedule.

“As the UP-PGH can only accommodate 100 RT-PCR tests per day, applications will be attended to on a first-come, first-served basis,”

In case you don’t know, a negative RT-PCR test is among the requirements that tourists need to have before traveling to various domestic tourist destinations such as Palawan, Boracay, Ilocos Norte and more. These guidelines from the tourism industry are based to ensure health and safety protocols. 

As per Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat “ The partnership aims to encourage more tourists to travel domestically as tourist destinations are starting to open up.” 

This program is said to help revise domestic tourism in travel destinations that are deemed safe by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease and the DOT.

The MOA was signed by TPB chief operating officer Maria Anthonette Velasco-Allones and UP-PGH director Gerardo Legaspi.

Source: PhilStar Global

PAL offers free RT-PCR tests to returning OFWs

naia tourists

December 17, 2020

Philippine Airlines (PAL) will provide free reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests to select vacationing/returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their dependents from Dec. 21 to 31.

The free RT-PCR tests with results released within 24 hours upon arrival. 

PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna said all land-based OFWs and their dependents coming from Dubai, Doha, Dammam, Riyadh, and Bahrain may now avail themselves of PAL’s own One-Stop Shop (OSS) facility for their complimentary RT-PCR tests upon arrival. 

To avail of the free testing, passengers must register via this link: https://bit.ly/MNLPALeCIF, at least three days before flight departure. The RT-PCR test will be done in PAL’s own One-Stop Shop (OSS) located at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2.

The test may be availed of either through walk-in or drive-through at PAL Learning Center at 540 Padre Faura Street, Ermita, Manila.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Leisure travelers to Bohol will only be allowed to explore Panglao Island — Governor Yap

panglao bohol

December 14, 2020

Local tourists planning to visit Bohol Province will only be allowed to explore the COVID-free island Panglao according to Governor Arthur Yap. 

As of Dec. 14, the entire province only has 69 COVID-19 active cases, with its top dive destination Panglao Island maintaining the coronavirus-free status since the government imposed a lockdown in March. 

But the governor stressed that would-be travelers are required to submit a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test result conducted 72 hours prior to travel and confirmed booking at tourism-certified accommodation establishments and tour operators at www.tourism.bohol.gov.ph to validate the travel registration. 

Tourists are only allowed to stay within the bubble for five days and on the fifth day, a confirmatory RT-PCR test is again required to allow an extended stay in Bohol. He said accredited testing centers are also available on their website to validate the authenticity of the swab test results amid the recent incident of forged swab test results in Boracay Island.

If there are no COVID-19 symptoms exhibited, tourists can still extend their stay for 14 days and that is the time when they can mingle with the locals and visit nearby towns through arranged tours at tourism-accredited operators. 

Source: Manila Bulletin

Zambales opening borders, beaches to tourists

anawangin cove magagandang tanawin sa luzon

 

December 13, 2020

 

After months of closure, Zambales is reopening its borders to local tourists soon with the assistance of the Department of Tourism.

 

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat assured Gov. Hermogenes Ebdane of the certification for the reopening of the province to tourism during an online planning and consultation forum on Friday.

“Zambales is one of the most prepared and best-managed areas in terms of curbing the spread of the coronavirus disease,” Puyat said.

She said the DOT would assist the province, particularly on health protocols, to restore the confidence of tourists and assure locals welcoming visitors of their safety.

DOT said it would fund a visitor management system similar to what the DOT provided to Baguio City through its Tourism Promotions Board.

Puyat said the DOT would continue its inspection and accreditation of tourism-related establishments in the province and the provision of capability-building training on the implementation of health and safety guidelines.

Data from the DOT-Central Luzon office shows that Zambales was among the most visited destinations in Central Luzon.

In 2019, it ranked second in the region in terms of tourist arrivals, which translated into P1.9 billion in tourism expenditure.

Bohol is reopening to travelers on December 15

December 8, 2020

Starting December 15, Bohol province will finally welcome tourists, including those from areas under general community quarantine (GCQ), for leisure travels. 

Bohol Gov. Arthur Yap said the province will impose a test-before-travel policy for leisure tourists, who have to prebook their accommodations and tours with hotels and operators accredited by the Department of Tourism (DOT) and certified by the province under its Ultimate Bohol Experience (Ube) program.

According to DOT-Region 7 (Central Visayas), 24 accommodation establishments in Bohol have already received their certificates of authority to operate (CAO), while 130 have provisional CAOs.

Yap said tourists won’t have much to worry about when it comes to rates as it remained relatively affordable even after the Covid-19 hit, with some establishments even slashing about 50 percent off.

Source: Philippine News Agency

DOT to subsidize COVID-19 tests for Boracay-bound tourists

 

December 3, 2020

Department of Tourism announced that it is partially subsidizing the cost of COVID-19 tests to Filipino tourists bound for Boracay, as the government looked to revive the sector that suffered as a result of the pandemic. 

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the move had come from a partnership with the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH).

The present RT-PCR test cost at the UP-PGH is at PHP1,800 per kit, much lower than those charged by most of the testing laboratory centers.

Puyat said the DOT wanted to make this more affordable by subsidizing at least 50 percent of the cost, which will come from its marketing arm, the Tourism Promotion Board (TPB).

Boracay Island first opened to local tourists in October. Tourists are required to present a negative result from an RT-PCR test 48 to 72 hours prior to travel to the island. 

Source: Philippine News Agency and Philippine Star

Bohol eyes reopening by 2nd week of December

 

December 1, 2020

Bohol is planning to welcome travelers by the second week of December 2020, DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.

“Bohol will also be opened. They are already open for MICE, for big events or weddings but I think about second week of this December, (they will reopen) also for independent travelers, kahit small groups, kahit mag-isa ka (even for small groups, even if you are alone) you can already go,” she said in a television interview.

Like many other tourist sites reopened under the new normal, Puyat said visitors would be required to submit a negative RT-PCR result upon entry to the island.

Source: Philippine News Agency

NCR, 7 other areas to stay under GCQ until Dec. 31

 

November 30, 2020

Metro Manila or the National Capital Region (NCR) will remain under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) until December 31. 

In a televised address, President Duterete also placed seven other areas under GCQ from Dec. 1 to 31, namely:

  1. Batangas
  2. Iloilo City
  3. Tacloban City
  4. Lanao del Sur
  5. Iligan City
  6. Davao City
  7. Davao del Norte

The rest of the country will remain under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ), the least restrictive of the government’s lockdown levels.

Source: Manila Bulletin

El Nido is now open for tourists

 

November 29, 2020

El Nido is finally welcoming local tourists of all ages outside the island province of Palawan under a test-before-travel policy.

Activities like island-hopping and scuba-diving will be allowed on the second phase of its reopening, provided it must be booked through an accredited travel and tour operator. But trips to mainland beaches are not yet an option.

To be allowed to enter the province, tourists must acquire a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) result two days before travel.

While tourists will be allowed to do island activities, meals will only be served at hotels and resorts. Food deliveries are also allowed. Metro Manila visitors, however, are still restricted when it comes to going to restaurants in town.

Tourists are also advised to book their tours, as well as their accommodation, at hotels and resorts that have already secured a Certificate of Authority to Operate (CAO) from the Department of Tourism (DOT).

Once finalized, all bookings, including the health declaration forms and valid identification cards (IDs), should be uploaded at the elnidotourism.ph/. The tourism office will issue a unique QR code for tourists who have been cleared for travel called QT-ID.

Source: Manila Bulletin

PH named world’s top dive destination, Intramuros is top tourist attraction

 

November 28, 2020

For the second year in a row, the Philippines was named as the World’s Leading Dive Destination by the 2020 World Travel Awards. 

The Philippines bested eight different popular dive hubs, such as the Azores Islands, Bora Bora, French Polynesia, Cayman Islands, Fiji, Galapagos Islands, Great Barrier Reef, Australia, Maldives, and Mexico.

Meanwhile, Intramuros was named for the first time as the World’s Leading Tourist Attraction, beating 15 different attractions, such as the Acropolis of Greece, Burj Khalifa of Dubai, the Grand Canyon National Park of the US, Mount Kilimanjaro of Tanzania, and Taj Mahal of India.

Source: Philippine News Agency

Visa-free entry for ‘balikbayans’ starting Dec. 7

 

November 28, 2020

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) announced that “balikbayans” will be allowed visa-free entry starting Dec. 7.

Balikbayans are former Filipinos and spouse and children of Filipinos or former Filipinos who are allowed visa-free entry under Executive Order No. 408.

The procedure requires inbound balikbayans to come from visa-free countries and have a pre-booked quarantine facility.

They must also have a pre-booked COVID-19 testing at the airport laboratory.

Morente also reminded that former Filipinos who wish to avail themselves of the balikbayan privilege should present their old Philippine passports or a copy of their birth certificate to the Immigration officer upon arrival, while their spouses and children shall present their marriage certificates and birth certificates, respectively.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Masungi Georeserve reopens to tourists

 

November 26, 2020

After months of closure due to the pandemic, the Masungi Georeserve in Rizal province has finally opened.

Guests are required to book their reservations at Masungi’s website, with the number per group limited to five to eight persons to observe minimum health protocols.

The entrance fee ranges from PHP1,500 to PHP1,800, with no testing required except if you are exhibiting symptoms while already at the site.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Coron to welcome local tourists starting Dec. 1

 

November 24, 2020

Brace yourselves… Coron Island will start accepting local tourists beginning December 1.

Based on the approved guidelines and protocols for prospective visitors to Coron, Palawan, any Filipino citizen or foreigner residing in the Philippines aged 15 to 65 may enter the island for leisure purposes.

Tourists must book via a DOT-certified accommodation establishment first. A negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) result within 48 to 72 hours before arrival is also required. Visitors must also register and fill up the required health declaration form, which may be accessed soon at www.corontourism.ph.

Once the registration is approved, the visitor will be given a unique QR code, which will serve as a pass upon entry and while in Coron.

Upon check-in, the visitor needs to present the negative RT-PCR test; roundtrip ticket, and confirmed booking itinerary.

All tourists will also undergo health assessment at the triage area of Francisco Reyes Airport in Coron, Palawan.

If symptomatic, antigen testing will be required with a fee of PHP3,500 to be paid by the tourist, and once tested positive, the tourist will be isolated in a hotel isolation room.

Coron will be implementing a 50% carrying capacity for destinations with corresponding minimum health protocols implemented.

Last October 30, El Nido also expanded its travel bubble to more areas allowed for tourism activities.

Source: Philippine News Agency

Ilocos Sur reopens to Luzon tourists

 

November 22, 2020

Another Philippine tourism news that will light up the travelers. Ilocos Sur is welcoming Luzon tourists!

Ilocos Sur first welcomed back tourists from Ilocos region and Baguio City with the launch of the ridge and reef corridor last month.

A maximum of 50 visitors per day will be allowed to ensure effective crowd control aside from the strict implementation of minimum health protocols.

Tourists will be required to present several documents upon arrival at the border of Tagudin and Sinait towns, such as a negative swab test result within 48 hours prior to their travel, a digital or printed SafePass QR code, a confirmed itinerary from a DOT-accredited tour and travel agency, a DOT-accredited accommodation and transport booking as well as a government-issued ID.

Visitors will be required to take an antigen test upon arrival. Those who intend to stay for more than three days must take another antigen test on their fourth day, which is valid for another three-day stay.

The DOT said 18 tourist sites in Ilocos Sur are now open. Ten diving spots will also be opened to the public. These include the Heritage Village in Calle Crisologo, Ilocos Sur Adventure Zone, Caniaw Heritage, and Forest Park, Nuestra Senora De La Asuncion Church, Pinsal Falls, Moro Watch Tower, Hidden Garden, Baluarte Zoo, and the Ilocos Sur Dancing Fountain. Ten diving spots in different barangays will likewise be opened to the public.

Source: Philippine Star

Siargao is now open for local tourists

 

November 21, 2020

This is not a drill. The Philippines’ surfing capital, Siargao Island, is now open for domestic tourists.

The reopening was also confirmed by Mayor Cecilia Ruson of the municipality of General Luna, Surigao del Norte through a local executive order.

“This is encouraging news for everyone who loves the sea, especially the surfers. As Siargao reopens to travelers, subject to minimum health and safety standards, the people of the island will regain their livelihood and share their paradise to our kababayans once more with the same level of hospitality they have always been known for,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.

Flights to Siargao will resume on December 1, the DOT said, allowing travelers from outside the region to visit the teardrop-shaped island through Sayak Airport near the barangays of Del Carmen and General Luna.

Source: Department of Tourism

Cebu City eyes new outdoor tours to attract more visitors

 

November 18, 2020

The Cebu City Tourism Commission (CCTC) plans to offer new tourism products to travelers visiting the provincial capital.

CCTC chairperson Jocelyn Pesquera said they will be developing coastal tours in the city, which is hoped to become a new tourist draw as the industry eventually recovers next year. They are looking to take advantage of the city’s long coastline stretching from the South Road Properties, which is seeing rapid commercial developments, to the city’s ports in the downtown areas.

Development works for the coastline tour project are expected to take off in 2021, Pesquera said in a statement.

In addition, developing mountain tours will also be prioritized to offer tourists more outdoor experiences.

Pesquera said they also plan to expand tour routes that would explore the city’s historical connections to the American and Japanese era.

Source: Philippine News Agency

 

November 10, 2020

More than 7,200 hotels, resorts, and other accommodation establishments (AEs) have been authorized by the Department of Tourism (DOT) to operate under different quarantine classifications and cater to different types of travelers, depending on their location and purpose.

“Not only will a Certificate of Authority to Operate (CAO) or a provisional CAO from DOT indicate the allowable operation of accommodation establishments, it likewise adds to guests’ confidence, knowing that these establishments have been inspected and are compliant with our protocols that follow globally-recognized health and safety standards.” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.

Puyat said that the regions with the highest number of hotels and resorts issued with CAOs and PCAOs by the DOT are Region 4-A with 1,303, Region 3 with 830, and Region 1 with 806.

Meanwhile, inbound travel to the Philippines for tourism remains restricted. Puyat said the DOT shall continue its coordination with national government agencies under the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), local government units (LGUs), and stakeholders to safely reopen more destinations for domestic tourism, and steer the industry to recovery.

The Secretary likewise encourages accommodation and other tourism-related establishments to apply for DOT accreditation which remains free-of-charge and can now be done online through an Online Accreditation System that the agency launched in September.

Source: Department of Tourism

PH hailed as Asia’s leading beach and diving destination

 

November 3, 2020

It looks like we already know where to travel after the pandemic.

The 27th World Travel Awards recognized the Philippines as Asia’s leading beach destination and Asia’s leading dive destination in 2020.

The award-giving body also declared the Department of Tourism (DOT) as this year’s leading tourist board in Asia, besting 11 nominated countries.

This is the Philippines’ fourth time to win Asia’s Leading Beach Destination and the second time to win Asia’s Leading Dive Destination, following a number of nominations for categories since 2006. And this is the second time for the DOT to win Asia’s Leading Tourist Board.

Meanwhile, both the Philippines and the DOT have the following remaining nominations under the world category of the 27th World Travel Awards:

  • World’s Leading Beach Destination 2020: Philippines
  • World’s Leading Dive Destination 2020: Philippines
  • World’s Leading Island Destination 2020: Siargao
  • World’s Leading Tourist Board 2020: The Philippines, Department of Tourism
  • World’s Leading Tourist Attraction 2020: Intramuros

Source: DOT, Philippine News Agency

Intramuros is Asia’s Leading Tourist Attraction

 

November 3, 2020

The World Travel Awards on Wednesday hailed the famed walled city of Manila, Intramuros, as Asia’s leading tourist attraction in 2020.

This recognition comes a day after the award-body recognized the Philippines as Asia’s leading beach destination and leading dive destination.

Source: Philippine Star

Travel PH app launched to keep tourists updated on open destinations

 

Photo credits to app.philippines.travel

October 30, 2020

The Department of Tourism and the attached agency Tourism Promotions Board launched “Travel Philippines” – the country’s official travel app which provides users access to the latest travel advisories and safety guidelines in various destinations that have reopened to tourism.

The travel app allows users to create itineraries for their future trips, find up-to-date information on their favorite tourist attractions, and securely store digital copies of travel documents.

The app works online and offline and has the capability to run on all the known devices and browsers such as desktop and tablet, among others.

The app during the launching featured six major tourist destinations that are now allowing the entry of local tourists – Palawan, Boracay, Bohol, Baguio, Ilocos Norte, and Metro Manila. Readers can access the app here.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Palawan, Boracay listed among world’s most beautiful places

 

October 30, 2020

Two of the Philippines’ famous destinations Palawan and Boracay are eighth and 18th, respectively, in the list of “50 Most Beautiful Places in the World” by Big Seven Travel, edging some of the world’s strongest contenders and tourist magnets such as Venice, Italy (43rd), Cappadocia, Turkey (30th), Angkor Wat, Cambodia (26th), and Paris, France (24th).

The global travel site praised Palawan’s “immaculate string of islands” and mentioning Boracay that it is one of the world’s top destinations for rest and recreation.

Boracay opened its shores to domestic tourists, including from those in areas under general community quarantine last October 1. Palawan, on the other hand, is currently assessing its El Nido-Manila travel bubble launched in July 2020 and expanded on Friday. 

Source: Philippine News Agency

Bohol will reopen to local tourists starting November 15

 

October 29, 2020

Latest Philippine Tourism News: Starting November 15, Bohol will reopen to local tourists as long as they test negative for COVID-19.

Bohol Governor Arthur Yap said tourists who plan to visit the island must present a 72-hour negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) COVID-19 test result prior to entering the province.

“So if you have a valid negative PCR test result to COVID, then you can register, let us know about that, mabibigyan kayo ng QR [quick response] code. You will use that QR code to register then you can now book your stay with accredited establishments,” Yap explained.

Local tourists can register and get their QR codes via tourism.bohol.gov.ph.

Yap noted that do-it-yourself trips are not allowed, but the local government will provide guided itineraries to travelers.

Keep following ZEN Rooms for the latest travel updates in the Philippines.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Related article: Bohol Itinerary: Best Places to Visit and Budget Guide All in One

GCQ in Metro Manila extended by a month, until Nov. 30

October 27, 2020

Latest Philippines travel news: President Rodrigo Duterte once again extended the implementation of the general community quarantine (GCQ) in Metro Manila for another month.

In a taped interview, the president said that the National Capital Region (NCR) will be under GCQ until November 30. 

Aside from Metro Manila, also under GCQ until the end of next month are the provinces of Batangas and Lanao del Sur, and the cities of Iloilo, Bacolod, Tacloban, and Iligan.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

El Nido expands travel bubble starting Oct. 30—DOT

 

October 26, 2020

El Nido is easing its travel restrictions to welcome more tourists, including Manila residents, starting October 30, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said. 

The expanded travel bubble would allow tourists to enter the island, provided they undergo and submit a negative RT-PCR test result at least 72 hours before their trip.

No specific information has been released yet by the DOT as local authorities iron out details for the travel bubble’s expansion.

“There are nine establishments for now that have obtained a Certificate of Authority to Operate (CAO) and 27 establishments with Provisional Certificate of Authority to Operate (PCAO) from the DOT and which may start accommodating guests,” DOT said.

Source: Philippine News Agency

PH reopens doors to foreigners, particularly those with investor visas starting Nov. 1

 

October 26, 2020

Latest Philippines travel news: Starting November 1, the Philippines is reopening its doors for certain foreigners, particularly those with investor visas.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the foreigners allowed to enter the country must still abide by certain conditions set by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases (IATF) such as having valid and existing visas as well as a pre-booked quarantine facility.

The latest decision on easing travel restrictions on some foreigners was contained in IATF Resolution No. 80 following a meeting via video conference Thursday.

Also allowed entry to the Philippines are foreigners with the 47(a)(2) visas issued by the Department of Justice as well as those visas issued by the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Authority and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, according to Roque.

Roque said the foreigners must have valid and existing visas at the time of entry as well as a pre-booked accredited quarantine facility.

In addition, they must be subject to the maximum capacity of inbound passengers at the port and date of entry as well as abide by the country’s immigration laws, rules, and regulations.

Roque clarified that the government has not yet relaxed its entry restrictions on foreign tourists.

Source: Manila Bulletin

ZEN Rooms will keep you posted on this latest travel update in Philippines

Ilocos Sur to welcome more tourists from Luzon starting Nov. 15

 

October 23, 2020

Starting Nov. 15, Ilocos Sur will reopen its doors to more tourists from Luzon “once all systems and health and safety measures are in place,” the Department of Tourism (DOT) said.

Ilocos Sur first welcomed back tourists through a travel corridor linking the province with Baguio City, La Union, Pangasinan, and Ilocos Norte.

Some of the tourist destinations in Ilocos Sur are the Vigan Heritage Village and Calle Crisologo, Plaza Salcedo Dancing Fountain, Bantay Bell Tower, Santa Maria Church, and Plaza Burgos.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

DOT-Bicol plans reopening of tourism sites to ‘outsiders’

 

October 23, 2020

DOT-Bicol said plans are being ironed out in consultation with local government units and industry stakeholders, especially with regard to their respective travel and health protocols in case the different tourism sites are reopened to domestic travelers.

Some LGUs were amenable to reopening their tourism sites to visitors from other regions on conditions that travel and health protocols are strictly enforced. Camarines Sur has agreed to open their tourism destination, DOT-Bicol added.

The opening of the tourism sites would take place soon once the agreement with LGUs and the BRTC is approved.

Last month, 104 sites across the region were opened including beach resorts, island destinations, natural tourism areas (mountain, waterfalls, and river cruising), cultural and historical places, and landmark sites, but only to Bicolanos.

Source: Philippine News Agency

Metro Manila mayors recommend GCQ in NCR until year-end

October 21, 2020

Metro Manila mayors are seeking to keep NCR (National Capital Region) under GCQ (General Community Quarantine) until Dec 31, 2020.

The announcement came from Metro Manila Development Authority General Manager, Jojo Garcia, who said that keeping the NCR in GCQ was discussed in a meeting that had 17 local chief executives and several members from IATF Inter-Agency Task Force.

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez was also consulted and he agreed that keeping the NCR in GCQ while slowly relaxing the rules is the safest way to open the economy.

The Metro Manila mayors will submit a recommendation to the IATF which will then be presented for recommendation to President Duterte.

Aside from the above,  quarantine restrictions on people aged 18-65 will also be eased for and they will be allowed to leave their homes for non-essential travel.

In the coming days until Christmas, Metro Manila cities and municipalities, except for Navotas, are also set to shorten the curfew timings to 12 AM – 4 AM.

Source: CNN Philippines

Coron, Palawan possible to welcome local tourists again this October

 

October 19, 2020

Good News! Coron, Palawan may very soon open for local tourists!

In an announcement posted by Coron’s municipal tourism office, town residents will be allowed to engage in tourism activities beginning October 26, while those coming from the Calamian Island group will be permitted to enter the area starting November 16. The tentative reopening date for tourists nationwide is on December 1.

“We’re waiting for the approval from the regional IATF. Once approved, we have to prepare for the airport. We have to meet with the airline [companies], and of course the business establishments,” Mayor Mario Reyes Jr. said.

No guidelines were announced yet.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Metro Manila, Cagayan Valley, Region 3 residents allowed to visit Baguio starting Oct. 22

 

October 17, 2020

Starting October 22, Metro Manila, Cagayan Valley, Region 3 residents will be allowed to visit Baguio.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the maximum of 200 guests allowed in Baguio per day shall still be implemented to ensure proper visitor management.

New health and safety measures on the reopening will be finalized in coordination with the technical working group of the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), she said.

The city government of Baguio has also decided to relax its documentary requirements for tourists in its Baguio Visitor Information and Travel Assistance or “VISITA.”

Visitors are no longer required to book their itineraries through a DoT-accredited tour agency. However, they will still be required to book in a DoT-accredited accommodation establishment issued with a Certificate Authority to Operate

Source: Manila Bulletin

Philippines Lifts Ban on Non-Essential Outbound Travels Starting October 21

 

October 16, 2020

The Philippines has lifted its ban on non-essential outbound travel effective October 21, Malacañang said Friday.

Filipinos traveling abroad must present the following:

  • Submission of confirmed roundtrip tickets
  • Adequate travel and health insurance for those traveling in tourist visas
  • Execution of an immigration declaration acknowledging the risks involved in traveling
  • Negative Antigen result taken within 24 hours before departure, subject to the Department of Health guidelines 

Upon their return, Filipino travelers must adhere to the protocols set by the National Task Force for OFWs. Included in this are mandatory COVID-19 testing and quarantine until they turn up negative for the virus.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Diving now allowed in Batangas—DOT

 

October 14, 2020

Batangas is now accepting guests for recreational diving according to the Department of Tourism.

“Dive establishments in Batangas Province, insofar as the area is still under General Community Quarantine (GCQ), are hereby determined to be permitted to accept guests for Recreational Diving, taking into consideration the general preparedness of the area and its impact on the tourism industry,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.

While guests of all ages from GCQ and modified GCQ areas are welcome, the activity is off-limits to those with comorbidities and currently pregnant, she added.

Source: Philippine News Agency

DOT issued guidelines for recreational diving under ‘new normal’

 

October 13, 2020

As the country eases into the reopening of sports tourism activities with the easing of quarantine restrictions, the Department of Tourism has issued health and safety rules for recreational diving.

The guidelines require guests to bring their own set of scuba gear and equipment box. Divers are reminded of the liberal use of hand disinfectants and hand washing throughout the day, the practice of physical distancing and the wearing of protective face masks when not on an actual dive.

Even when on dive boats, boat crew and passengers must wear face masks and observe physical distancing. Dive boats must also be disinfected before and after use.

The dive establishments are also required to provide a defog solution consisting of soap or shampoo for guests to use on their dive masks. Spitting on the mask or the use of saliva as a defogger is prohibited.

“Violation of any of these guidelines will subject the dive establishments to appropriate fines and penalties, including the revocation of PCSSD accreditation,” Puyat said.

Distance learning or e-learning in teaching the theory part of the dive course is also encouraged. Dive schools are also advised to use current technology and digital platforms and to refer to their certifying agencies for further instruction, available materials, and training techniques.

In case physical training is unavoidable, classrooms may be set up according to physical distancing requirements. Smaller classes with a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio are highly encouraged.

Source: Philippine News Agency

Ilocos Norte to reopen for Luzon tourists on October 15

 

October 9, 2020

Starting October 15, Ilocos Norte will welcome travelers from Luzon. 

Ilocos Norte Gov. Matthew Marcos Manotoc said the province is ready to welcome visitors from Luzon, even those coming from areas that are under general community quarantine, after seven months of closure to tourists since the declaration of enhanced community quarantine across Luzon.

Ilocos Norte only set an initial target number of 50 tourists per day in a bid to prevent COVID-19 spread.

All tourists are required to secure a travel authority, medical certificate, accomplish a health declaration form not earlier than 48 hours before departure for Ilocos Norte using the Stay IN app, and show a negative rapid antigen test within 48 hours before arrival at the border checkpoint. Said original documents and IDs must be presented at the border for verification.

Source: Department of Tourism

Dive tourism in GCQ, MGCQ areas given green light

October 9, 2020

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has allowed dive shops and resorts in “special areas” under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ to accept tourists traveling for recreational diving.

Based on IATF resolution No. 78, tourists covered by the soon-to-be issued guidelines are those from similar community classification or GCQ and MGCQ areas.

The agency is also instructed to take into consideration the general preparedness of the area and its impact on the tourism industry. Also included in the guidelines would be the test-before-travel requirement.

No specific destinations were identified yet by the DOT as of this posting.

Source: Philippine News Agency

Cebu, Palawan, Siargao, and Boracay named among top 10 islands in Asia

October 7, 2020

The Philippines did it again!

International travel magazine Condé Nast Traveler has named Cebu and Visayan Islands the best island in Asia in its 2020 Readers’ Choice Awards.

“Cebu draws nearly 2 million travelers annually for its pristine beaches and diving off the island’s northern coast. Spanish and Roman Catholic influences permeate Cebu City; Basilica Minore del Santo Niño houses a small statue of Christ that was presented by Ferdinand Magellan,” said travel writer Caitlin Morton.

The islands of Palawan, Siargao, and Boracay also made it to the top 10 in Asia list, ranking fourth, fifth, and sixth, respectively, to give the Philippines the most slots in the ranking of the prestigious international travel magazine.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Pagudpud resorts ready for tourists

October 6, 2020

Resort owners in Pagudpud town in Ilocos Region are ready to host tourists with great optimism they can recover from their losses due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Tourism stakeholders are gearing up to host visitors again but they have to comply with government regulations to ensure that tourists will not be bringing infection in the province.

Since the Oct. 1 gradual opening of tourism in the province for Region 1 and Baguio City residents, Provincial Tourism Officer Aianree Raquel said tourists have started to come in but they are limiting the entry of visitors to 50 persons per day only.

“We want to start slowly but surely,” said Raquel, adding it may take some time for people from the tourism industry to bounce back to normal.

Source: Philippine News Agency

Boracay visitors may get up to 75% discount on room rates—Aklan gov

October 5, 2020

Good news for Boracay visitors! Tourists can get up to 75% discount on room rates in Boracay Island, Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores said.

Miraflores said tour operators and establishments in Boracay agreed to offer the discount to “offset” the cost of the COVID-19 testing, which is among the requirements for visitors of the world-famous island resort.

Tourists who want to visit Boracay must have a negative RT-PCR test result not earlier than 48 hours before they travel. This rule, however, exempts Aklan residents.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Palawan-based tourists may now visit El Nido

October 1, 2020

Palawan-based tourists, both foreign and local, may now travel to El Nido following an executive order from the local government unit (LGU). 

But Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said El Nido Resorts is the only establishment on the island which allows tourists from general community quarantine areas (GCQ) like Metro Manila since its soft reopening in July.

Tourists will be required to undergo the usual mandatory health checks and are asked to comply with the government’s minimum public health and safety standards. 

They are also required to accomplish health declaration forms through the El Nido tourism website or using the QR code provided by the local tourism office. 

Pre-booked accommodation bookings at accredited hotels and other establishments are also a must.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Bohol may reopen to tourists in November — governor

October 1, 2020

Bohol will reopen to tourists from across the country possibly in November, according to Governor Arthur Yap.

But only Panglao Island will be initially opened for tourists, Yap said. According to him, this will serve as a trial to determine effective measures that they can also implement in more destinations when they open.

The tourism in Bohol opened on June 21 but for the residents of the province only, Yap said.

Source: GMA News

PNP travel authority no longer needed for local tourists visiting Boracay

September 30, 2020

Local tourists who plan to visit Boracay Island beginning Oct. 1 no longer have to secure a travel authority from the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said a negative result from a real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test at least 48 to 72 hours prior to travel would suffice.

Local tourists are also required to accomplish online health declaration forms and confirmed accommodation bookings prior to check-in.

The Department of Tourism also advised travelers to keep the tourist QR codes that were developed to access services in Boracay Island.

Last month, DOT announced that Boracay will reopen for tourists starting Oct. 1.

Source: Manila Bulletin

 

DOT releases guidelines for ‘staycation’ in GCQ areas

September 29, 2020

The Department of Tourism (DOT) has issued strict guidelines for “staycations” as part of the government efforts to re-start the economy through tourism.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat signed the administrative order which allows “staycations” for persons of all ages, except those with underlying medical conditions, within areas under general community quarantine (GCQ).

Here are the guidelines in the administrative order:

  1. Negative antigen results – Guests are required to present negative antigen test results from a rapid antigen test conducted on the day of check-in.
  2. Cashless transaction – Contactless and cashless transactions are mandatory for taking bookings and payments to promote minimal physical contact among staff and guests.
  3. DOT Certificate of Authority to Operate – For establishments under GCQ, this certificate must be secured from the DOT. They should follow a strict set of guidelines on guest handling, including the maximum number of guests per room and other safety protocols.
  4. Reopening of other function areas – According to the administrative order, hotels and other establishments may now also reopen their gyms, swimming pools, restaurants, and other beverage outlets aside from bars, which are prohibited in areas under GCQ.

Source: Philippine News Agency

ZEN Rooms will keep you updated on this latest staycation travel update in Philippines. 

Bohol might reopen for tourism in October —Palace

September 28, 2020

Bohol province might welcome tourists again next month, Malacañang said Monday.

“I understand Bohol might be opening soon, within the month of October, if I’m not mistaken. So unti-unti naman pong nagbubukas ang ating mga tourist spots,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a televised briefing.

Source: GMA News

Metro Manila and other areas stay under GCQ until October 31

September 28, 2020

Metro Manila and several areas will remain under general community quarantine (GCQ) October 31 after President Rodrigo Duterte approved the recommendation of the government’s coronavirus task force to keep these areas under GCQ.

Aside from NCR, Bacolod, Tacloban, Iloilo City, Batangas and Iligan will also stay under GCQ.

Lanao del Sur will be under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) for the duration, while the rest of the country will remain under or shift to the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

Source: Rappler

DOT Issues Advisory To Hotels For Staycations Under GCQ

 

September 28, 2020

DOT on Sep 27, issued an advisory to DOT-star hotels in the National Capital Region regarding staycations under General Community Quarantine (GCQ). 

A memo was released on Sunday by DOT-NCR Regional Director Woodrow Maquiling Jr. which said that 4-star and 5-star hotels may send their Letter of Intent (LOI) if they wish to participate in the staycation program approved by Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) against COVID-19 and the department. 

Upon receiving an LOI, the Department will then physically inspect the property and if everything is found in order, it will issue a Certificate of Authority to Operate for Staycation (CAOS). 

About two weeks ago, DOT said it received approval from the government’s pandemic response task force to allow staycations or short-term leisure stays in hotels. 

“That marks the beginning of the reopening of our tourism industry here in Manila,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Palace press briefing.

Tourism in the Philippines was badly hit due to COVID-19 restrictions however this initiative by the DOT brings a sigh of relief to the tourism industry that wants to bounce back. 

Source: ABS-CBN

Boracay now open for tourists nationwide starting Oct. 1—DOT

September 23, 2020

Starting October 1, Boracay Island will  accept visitors from all over the country. 

Tourists from places under a general community quarantine and modified GCQ classifications including Metro Manila will then be allowed to visit the island, but foreign tourists will remain prohibited.

“This development came as a result of a special meeting convened by the principals of the Boracay Interagency Task Force (BIATF) led by its Chairperson Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu and Co-Vice Chairpersons Interior and Local Government Secretary Ed Ano and Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat with Province of Aklan Governor Joeben Miraflores on 22 September,” the tourism department added.

DOT said they will implement a “Test Before Travel” rule, which requires all visitors to have a negative result of reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) 48 to 72 hours prior to traveling to Boracay Island.

Travelers are also mandated to undergo “strict quarantine immediately after a test and until the time of travel to the island.”

The “Test Before Travel” regulation will also permit tourists from areas under general community quarantine status to visit the island, Puyat said.

Also, the DOT said travelers aged below 21 and above 60 years old are allowed to visit Boracay as long as they have no comorbidity or worse health conditions.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

80% of restaurants in Tagaytay reopen for tourists

September 21, 2020

Nearly 80% of food establishments in Tagaytay City have reopened for tourists in a bid to boost the city’s economy amid the pandemic.

Tagaytay administrator Gregorio Monreal said tourists are now allowed in the city as long as they follow minimum health standards like wearing face masks and observe physical distancing.

But senior citizens, those below 21 years old, and pregnant women will not be allowed to enter establishments.

Top tourist spots in Tagaytay City such as Picnic Grove, People’s Park, and Sky Ranch have likewise reopened to the public.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Region 1 ‘tourism bubble’ opens September 22

September 20, 2020

Starting September 22, tourism bubble will open in Region 1 covering the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union and Pangasinan, and this city.

City Tourism Officer Engr.  Alex Mapalo said the city will only accept tourists coming from these four provinces in Region 1 during phase 1 of the opening of its borders to visitors.

Tourists must pre-register at the online visitors registration system using the VIS.I.T.A application  (Visitors Information and Tourist Assistance) that is available on android and IOS.

Initially, only 200 tourists a day will be allowed in the city for easy monitoring of movement.

Guests, who may have relatives or friends in the city, will not be allowed to stay in residential homes, and are constrained to book hotel accommodations to abide by health sector recommendations, and keep residential areas free from travelers.

Source: Manila Bulletin

IATF okays Staycations in GCQ areas

September 12, 2020

In a bid to jumpstart tourism in the Philippines, staycations will soon be allowed after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) recently approved hotels to accommodate guests who would check-in for leisure purposes even if the area is under GCQ.

“Upon the recommendation of the Department of Tourism (DOT) to explore various ways in restarting tourism activities during quarantine, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) approved during its Principals Meeting on 10 September 2020 to allow staycations under GCQ,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.

She added that a staycation must involve a “minimum overnight stay for leisure purposes” in a DOT-accredited accommodation establishment located near one’s residence.

The DOT said they would soon issue a memorandum circular on staycations under GCQ based on comments and suggestions of the IATF-EID.

The memorandum circular would have specific regulations on all aspects involved in this activity, ranging from the maximum allowable number of persons in a guestroom to the use of ancillary services, such as restaurants and recreational areas.

Source: Philippine News Agency and Philippine Star

PH bags “Best Overseas Diving Award 2020”

September 4, 2020

The Philippines was awarded as the Best Overseas Diving Area in the Marine Diving Awards 2020 held recently in Tokyo.

Garnering 814 out of the 3,572 total votes cast by subscribers of the Marine Diving Magazine, the Philippines was number one for the first time in the Overseas Diving Category. The magazine cited the country as “the first pick for many diving lovers.”

“This award is a testimony that diving is more fun in the Philippines, with each underwater paradise offering a unique adventure and experience to behold, and return to. Our underwater landscape is a colorful kaleidoscope of nature’s living jewels, one that divers cannot find anywhere else,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo- Puyat said.

Source: Department of Tourism

3 PH destinations among the “spectacular diving sites” in the world

September 3, 2020

Not just one, but three Philippine destinations were included among the list of spectacular diving sites in the world by the largest travel guide book publisher, Lonely Planet.

These destinations are the Tubbataha Reefs National Park in Palawan, Amos Rock in Puerto Princesa City, and Moalboal in Cebu.

Source: Department of Tourism

Tagaytay opening its doors to tourists

September 6, 2020

Tagaytay City now welcomes tourists who would like to visit the place under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) status, City Administrator Gregorio Monreal said Saturday.

However, tourists should follow minimum health standards including physical distancing, and wearing of face masks. Monreal added that checkpoints at entry points to Tagaytay will be maintained.

Private vehicles traveling to and from Tagaytay will be allowed provided that physical distancing is observed inside the vehicle, Tolentino added.

Source: GMA News

DOT prepares for ‘gradual re-opening’ of tourist spots

September 5, 2020

The Department of Tourism (DOT)  said it has been working with local government units, concerned agencies, and stakeholders to gradually reopen the country’s tourism industry “consistent with the President’s direction.”

They also added that its regional offices have already identified several tourism circuits that can be reopened in light of the new normal.

“Similar to the Ridge to Reef Corridor of Baguio City with the Provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union and Pangasinan, these circuits may either be inter-region or inter-provinces depending on the readiness of the local governments to accept new visitors,” the DOT said.

The DOT said it expects the granular resumption of domestic tourism by the last quarter of this year and until the first six month of 2021. It also foresees regional international visitors by the second half of 2021, once border controls are lifted by other countries.

Source: Manila Bulletin

NCR remains under GCQ; 3 cities revert to stricter quarantine measures until September 30

August 31, 2020

President Duterte decided to keep the National Capital Region (NCR) and the provinces of Bulacan and Batangas under the general community quarantine (GCQ) while three other areas revert to stricter quarantine measures until September 30.

In his speech, President Duterte approved the recommendation of the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to keep the following areas under GCQ for the entire month of September:

  • Metro Manila
  • Bulacan
  • Batangas

While the following areas revert to stricter quarantine measures:

  • Iligan City from modified GCQ (MGCQ) to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ)
  • Bacolod City (from MGCQ to GCQ)
  • Tacloban City (from MGCQ to GCQ)

All places not mentioned are under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ).

Source: Manila Bulletin

BI allows foreigners with visas to leave PH anytime

August 31, 2020

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has again eased its requirements for departing foreigners to prevent crowding in immigration offices as the COVID-19 cases continue to surge.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said foreign nationals with visas approved by the BI may now leave the country before they could be issued their alien certificate of registration identity card (ACR I-Card). According to Morente, they will no longer require departing aliens with approved and implemented visas to secure an ACR I-Card waiver order.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Baguio City to open tourism in September to local residents only

August 30, 2020

Baguio City government is planning to reopen all the parks, and the night market, as well as resume with the weekly pedestrianization of Session Road in September for local residents only. But the reopening of tourism for visitors, especially those coming from Manila or elsewhere remains suspended.

No specific date has been set yet for the reopening of tourism this month.

Source: Manila Bulletin

5 nations lift inbound travel restrictions on Filipinos amid pandemic

August 23, 2020

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has received reports that five new countries have lifted inbound restrictions on Filipino travelers, subject to medical protocols such as proof of purchase of health insurance, institutional or home quarantine, and presentation of a negative COVID-19 test result, among others.

In an advisory, the DFA said that these countries are Brazil, Kiribati, United Kingdom, Benin, and Chad.

On the other hand, while general entry is not yet allowed in Canada, Armenia, Slovak Republic, and Kuwait, these countries have imposed stricter medical protocols for those who are exempt from entry restrictions such as their returning citizens, diplomatic, and United Nations passport holders.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal back to GCQ until August 31

August 17, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte has returned Metro Manila and nearby provinces to a general community quarantine (GCQ) from August 19-31 as proposed by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases.

The following areas will be under GCQ are Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Nueva Ecija, Batangas, Quezon, Iloilo City, Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu City, Mandaue City, Talisay City in Cebu, and the municipalities of Minglanilla and Consolacion.

The rest of the country will be under modified GCQ.

Under GCQ, more establishments will be allowed to open at varying levels of capacity.

Among the industries that could resume full operations are the following:

  • agriculture
  • fishery
  • forestry
  • food manufacturing and its entire supply chain
  • food retail (supermarket, market, and restaurant for takeout and delivery only),
  • healthcare (hospitals, clinics, drugstores)
  • logistics
  • information technology
  • telecommunications
  • media

Establishments that could operate at 50-100% capacity:

  • mining and other manufacturing
  • export-oriented
  • e-commerce companies
  • delivery for essential and non-essential items
  • repair and maintenance services
  • housing and office services

For these establishments, a 50% onsite work and 50% work from home arrangement would be implemented

  • financial services
  • business process outsourcing
  • legal and accounting and auditing services
  • professional, scientific, technical and other non-leisure services
  • other non-leisure wholesale and retail establishments

Face shields now required for international, domestic passengers

August 15, 2020

All international and domestic passengers are required to wear face shields aside from face masks.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr)  issued a directive mandating face shields in public transportation. All passengers are required to wear face masks upon arrival at the airport and wear the face shields prior boarding the aircraft. Aside from wearing masks and face shields, passengers are also required to bring their negative COVID-19 results or certification and present to airline staff at the counters.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Kadayawan Festival to be staged online

August 10, 2020

The celebration of “Kadayawan sa Dabaw” will be done online from August 17 to 24, a first in the 35 years since Davao City’s grandest and most colorful festival began.

In an interview with  Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5), Mayor Sara Duterte said the local government has lined up a few activities for the Dabawenyos, which could be viewed through Facebook live and Zoom, in celebration of Kadayawan this month.

Duterte highlighted the importance of pursuing the festival even online as it was a celebration of bountiful harvest and of the cultural diversity of the indigenous peoples.

Source: Manila Bulletin

 

Baguio eyes reopening of tourism in September

August 9, 2020

Baguio City tourism office announced on social media of their plans to gradually re-open tourism, with regulated, controlled entry and monitored movement, by September.

Tourists will be required to pre-register through the Baguio VIS.I.T.A. (Visitor Information & Travel Assistance), an online registration system to help the city operation center for list of tourists who wish to visit the city. Once the tourist registers online, they will see the guidelines on how to proceed.

Among the requirements are to pre-book accommodation, preferably through accredited tour operators, and tourists should declare their itinerary.

Tourists are also required upon entry to undergo mandatory triage and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing, the expense for which would be shouldered by the tourist. The tourist will also have to stay in the hotel until the results are released.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Hundred Islands now open to all Pangasinan residents

August 9, 2020

The famous Hundred Islands National Park (HINP) is now open to all Pangasinan residents with the continued modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) status in effect in the province, provided they comply with set requirements and health protocols.

Only residents of Pangasinan, aged between 21 and 59 years old, will be allowed to visit the HINP.

Source: Manila Bulletin

No public transport allowed under MECQ — DOTr

August 3, 2020

Public transportation will be suspended anew in Metro Manila and other areas under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

Based on the guidelines of the Department of Transportation for public transport operations, only public shuttles will be allowed to transport frontline workers or those who will return to work in allowed industries under the MECQ.

This means that buses, jeepneys, taxis, ride-hailing services, as well as all railway systems such as PNR, LRT-1, LRT-2, and MRT-3 will not be allowed to operate and ferry commuters.

Source: Manila Bulletin

 

Whale shark watching in Oslob, Cebu resumes

August 2, 2020

Cebu has reopened the tourism industry in the town of Oslob, marking the start of the gradual recovery of one of the hardest-hit industries by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among the tourism activities that the province now allows include whale shark watching, snorkeling, trekking, diving, and island-hopping.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Traveling public are advised to secure complete documents before coming to Cebu port

August 2, 2020

The Cebu Port Authority (PCA) called on the traveling public to secure all the necessary documents and requirements to travel before coming to the ports as the government geared up for the resumption of travel of locally stranded individuals (LSIs), repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), and authorized persons outside residence (APOR). 

Each passenger will be required to present a medical certificate issued by the City or Municipal Health Office, a travel authority issued by the Philippine National Police (PNP), a letter of acceptance issued by the local chief executive of the receiving local government unit, a boat ticket, and a valid ID or any official document that sufficiently identifies the passenger. These will be presented at the Port Main Entrance of Pier 1 and Pier 3, otherwise, they will be refused entry into the port area.

Source: Manila Bulletin

IATF eases age restrictions on Boracay Island visitors

 

July 23, 2020

Inter-agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has eased the age limit restrictions for tourists entering Boracay Island in Aklan after the Departmen of Tourism requested to relax the age limit requirement for tourists.

But DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said even with the lifting of the ban on younger and older tourists, the existing policy on allowing only residents of Western Visayas region to visit the island remains. This means that only residents from the provinces of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, and Negros Occidental can go to Boracay.

Source: Manila Bulletin

IATF approves essential outbound travel

 

July 23, 2020

Filipinos can now proceed with their essential overseas trips after IATF allowed essential outbound travel.

Based on IATF Resolution No. 57, essential outbound travel of Filipinos is now allowed but subject to the following condition

  1. The execution of a Bureau of Immigration (BI) declaration acknowledging the risks involved in traveling, including the risk of delay in their return trip, to be provided for in the check-in counters by the airlines.
  2. Upon return, they shall follow the Guidelines of Returning Overseas Filipinos of the National Task Force.
  3. The omnibus guidelines of the IATF on interzonal travel were likewise amended to allow Filipinos leaving for abroad to pass through checkpoints subject to the presentation of sufficient supporting documents.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Non-essential overseas travel of Filipinos, suspended anew

 

July 23, 2020

Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has temporarily banned non-essential outbound travels of Filipinos because only one travel insurance in the Philippines agreed to adhere with the conditions to cover rebooking, accommodation expenses and hospitalization should a traveler contract the virus Malacañang sokesperson Harry Roque said.

Roque, however, noted that travelers with confirmed bookings as of July 20 will be allowed to fly out of the country.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

 

Philippines named “Best Diving Area, Overseas”

 

July 20, 2020

After Palawan has been named the “Best Island in the World,” the Philippines is set to receive another international award as it was named as the “Best Diving Area, Overseas” in the 2020 Marine Diving Awards in Japan. Subscribers of one of Japan’s leading magazines, Marine Diving, voted the Philippines as the Best Diving Area, Overseas.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Foreigners with long-term visas may again enter PH

 

July 18, 2020

Starting August 1, the government will allow foreign nationals with long-term visas to enter the Philippines.

Foreigners with long-term visas who wish to travel to the country should have valid and existing visas at the time of entry. “However, no new entry visa application shall be accepted,” the IATF said.

Foreigners should also pre-book an accredited quarantine facility and a COVID-19 testing provider.

IATF also added that their entry into the country is also subject to the maximum capacity of inbound passengers at the port and date of entry.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

GCQ in Metro Manila is extended until July 31

 

July 15, 2020

Metro Manila will stay under general community quarantine (GCQ) until July 31 after President Rodrigo Duterte rejected the proposals to place NCR under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

According to Malacañang spokesman Harry Roque, Duterte initially agreed to return NCR to the more stringent MECQ as proposed by UP to curtail the further spread of the respiratory disease.

However, Roque said the president changed his mind after COVID-19 response Chief Implementer Carlito Galvez and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año appealed to keep NCR under GCQ, which has been its status for six weeks now, citing the promise of the region’s mayors to implement stricter enforcement of health protocols and quarantine restrictions.

Source: GMA News

Cebu City placed under MECQ

 

July 15, 2020

Meanwhile, Cebu City lockdown downgraded to MECQ from ECQ until July 31. Despite the easing of restrictions, Roque explained city residents would be allowed only to go out for essential travels like buying necessities or going to work if they belong to an industry whose members were already allowed to resume work. Public gatherings would still be prohibited, except for those with only five people.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Palawan recognized as “Best Island in the World”

July 13, 2020

And so Palawan once again, named as the Best Island in the World by international travel magazine Travel + Leisure!

Palawan scored 94.83 in the survey of the magazine to regain the “Best Island in the World” title. Last year, it placed second. The Department of Tourism also highlighted that Palawan has so far topped the World’s Best Islands list four times already.

Aside from Palawan, Boracay also made it to the list, placing 14th with a score of 88.22.

This is the third time that the Philippines was recognized since community quarantines were implemented due to the COVID–19 pandemic. Forbes magazine ranked the Philippines among the seven countries “that have the potential to become a major tourist destination in a post–COVID world”; Last month, Condé Nast Traveler (CNT) cited the Hidden Beach in El Nido, Palawan, as one of the 30 Best Beaches in the World.

Source: Travel + Leisure and Department of Tourism

Travel ban on Filipinos now lifted

July 7, 2020

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has allowed non-essential travel for Filipinos, Malacañang said on July 7.

Malacañang Spokesperson Harry Roque said travel of Filipinos abroad would now be allowed provided that traveling individuals adhere to certain conditions, which include the following:

-Submission of confirmed roundtrip tickets for those traveling on tourist visas

-Adequate travel health insurance to cover rebooking and accommodation expenses

-Allowed entry by the destination country in accordance with travel, health and quarantine restrictions

-Execution of a Declaration acknowledging the risk of the travel

Source: Philippine News Agency, GMA News, and Philippine Daily Inquirer

 

DFA: 31 countries have lifted inbound border restrictions on Filipinos

July 5, 2020

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirms that a total of 31 out of 177 countries and territories have already lifted the inbound border restrictions on Filipino travels, subject to medical protocols on arriving passengers. Among the newly-added countries who have recently opened their borders to Filipinos include Bahamas, Egypt, Ethiopia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Source: DFA

Malacañang: Travel agencies in GCQ areas can reopen

July 3, 2020

Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) have allowed travel agencies in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) to resume operations. Travel agencies, however, are limited to the use of a skeleton workforce once they reopen to the public

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

International flights at NAIA Terminal 3 resumes beginning July 8

July 3, 2020

Starting July 8, international flight operations at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 will finally resume, according to the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA).

Flights of All Nippon Airways (ANA), Air Asia Berhad (AK), Cathay Pacific (CX), Emirates (EK), KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM), Qatar Airways (QR), Singapore Airlines (SQ) and Turkish Airlines (TK) will arrive and depart from Terminal 3. International operations of other airlines assigned in Terminal 3 however remain suspended to date. These are Cebu Pacific, Delta Air, Qantas Airways, and United Airlines.

Meanwhile, NAIA Terminal 2 continues to service international arrival flights of Philippine Airlines. PAL international departures on the other hand operate from NAIA Terminal 1 as of now. Airlines assigned in NAIA Terminal 1 shall remain in Terminal 1. These airlines are Air China (CA), Air Niugini (PX), Asiana Airlines (OZ), China Airlines (CI), China Eastern (MU), China Southern (CZ), Etihad Airways (EY), Eva Air (BR), Ethiopian Airlines (ET), Gulf Air (GF), Hong Kong Airlines, Japan Airlines (JL), Jeju Air (7C), Jetstar Asia (3K), Jetstar Japan (GK), Korean Airlines (KE), Kuwait Airways (KU), Malaysian Airlines (MH), Oman Air (WY), Royal Brunei Airlines (BI), Saudia Airlines (SV), Scoot (TR), Thai Airways (TG) and Xiamen Air. Some foreign carriers operating in Manila also service repatriation flights.

Source: NAIA / MIAA

DFA: Filipinos now allowed to enter 25 countries

July 2, 2020

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Filipinos will be allowed to enter 25 countries that have lifted their border restrictions on Filipinos arriving from the Philippines for essential travel. These countries include the United States of America, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, and New Zealand.

The DFA said 78 other countries have eased their travel restrictions on Filipinos coming from the Philippines including Japan, Hong Kong, Canada, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Camp John Hay to open for Baguio residents starting June 30

June 28, 2020

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

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

Source: GMA News

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

 

June 26, 2020

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

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Condé Nast Traveler names Hidden Beach one of the world’s 30 best beaches

 

June 22, 2020

Palawan does it again!

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

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

Source: Manila Bulletin

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

 

June 19, 2020

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

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

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

Source: GMA News

Boracay reopens to tourists from Western Visayas

 

June 15, 2020

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

Source: Philippine Star

 

LGUs allowed 23 more airports to operate commercial flights

June 15, 2020

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

Source: GMA News

 

PAL to resume 8 more domestic flights

June 10, 2020

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

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

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

 

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

 

June 4, 2020

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

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

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

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

Source: ABS-CBN

 

Baguio to reopen possibly on September

June 3, 2020

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

Source: Manila Bulletin

 

Bohol government plans to welcome tourists either in July or August

June 3, 2020

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

Source: Manila Bulletine

 

New Rules Await Passengers as Flights Resume in 8 PH Airports

 

June 3, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

 

‘No registration, no swimming’ Policy Implemented in Boracay

 

June 3, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

Source: GMA News

 

8 Designated Areas for Swimming in Boracay

 

June 1, 2020

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

1. In front of White House (Station 1)

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

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

4. In front of D’Mall (Station 2)

5. In front of Mandarin Hotel (Station 2)

6. In front of La Carmela (Station 3)

7. In front on Paradise Garden (Station 3)

8. Puka Beach (Barangay Yapak)

Source: GMA News

 

DOT Welcomes the Resumption of Tourism Operations in Areas Under MGCQ

 

May 30, 2020

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

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

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

Source: Department of Tourism

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

 

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