Leisure travel was again suspended in March after a surge in COVID-19 cases, forcing the government to declare stricter quarantine measures in the Greater Manila Area and surrounding provinces (recently dubbed NCR Plus). But on Tuesday, June 1, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) announced the reopening of borders, as long as you’re heading to an area that’s under modified general community quarantine.
While the task force announced minimum requirements, such as RT-PCR tests for travelers below 18 years old and above 65, local government units can still impose additional guidelines. This means that it’s always best to check with the destination on what its specific protocols are.
These are just some of the local beach destinations you can now visit and what you need to know if you’re traveling:
Boracay Island, Malay, Aklan
Because of its white-sand beaches, Boracay remains top of mind when it comes to local beach destinations. Following the IATF’s announcement, the island officially reopened to travelers from Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal on June 1. Point of entry for leisure travelers is via Caticlan Airport only, while returning residents and other authorized persons outside residence may go through Kalibo. You’re required to present your negative RT-PCR test results (either swab or saliva) taken within 72 hours, confirmed hotel booking, government-issued ID, S-Pass, and filled out Online Health Declaration Card through TouristBoracay.com.
Tourism resumed in the province of La Union, dubbed the ‘Surfing Capital of the North,’ on May 22. Only travelers aged 15 to 65 from Luzon are allowed to enter the province. Requirements include pre-booked travel arrangements from a Department of Tourism-accredited tour operator or travel agency, negative RT-PCR test results (either swab or saliva) taken within 72 hours, and government-issued ID. You also need the QR-coded Tourist Pass, which is available through La Union’s Tara Na! VISITA System; and the Tourist Access Pass, which is obtained after verification upon arrival. DIY tours are suspended as of this writing.
Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte
Travelers from NCR are again permitted to travel to Ilocos Norte, including the province’s beautiful beaches in Pagudpud. The coastal town boasts lesser-known white-sand beaches such as Saud Beach and Maira-ira Beach, interesting geological formations such as the Kapurpurawan Rocks, and Kabigan Falls on the eastern side of the municipality.
To get there, you need to register through Ilocos Norte’s website, bring a government-issued ID, secure booking from an accredited hotel or travel agency, and get a QR code from Safe Pass. Travelers also need to get tested for COVID within 72 hours (for RT-PCR, either swab or saliva) or within 24 hours (for rapid antigen test) from departure, or upon arrival in Ilocos Norte. For travelers below 18 and above 65 years old, only the RT-PCR test is allowed.
Panglao Island, Bohol
Panglao Island in Bohol is famous for its white-sand beaches and astounding dive spots. To visit, all you have to do is register through Bohol’s tourism website, then upload your negative RT-PCR test (either swab or saliva) results taken within 72 hours, confirmed hotel booking, roundtrip airline tickets, and itinerary. DIY travel is not allowed at the moment, so you have to book your tours with accredited operators.
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