February 14, 2022
We booked a trip to visit Siargao island for the second time. Our date of arrival was to be December 18, 2021. However, on December 16, Siargao was directly hit by a supertyphoon called Odette (international name is Rai). The island was badly damaged. No power or telecommunication for weeks. Clean water was also not available. Many structures were damaged.
Of course our vacation was canceled. We made some donations to help someone who we met in our last visit. We are sure Siargao will recover, we just hope it is a speedy one, so that the local people can regain their livelihood, a lot of which is dependent on tourism.
August 29, 2021
We are a family traveling back to the Philippines after a vacation overseas. Our flight to the Philippines was originally scheduled on August 15, 2021, to Manila. Due to the imposition of ECQ for Metro Manila, the harshest community lockdown category, our flight was rescheduled to fly to Cebu on August 22, 2021.
On the 7th day, we are supposed to get swabbed for PCR testing. The day did not start so well. We are a family of three, but only one serving of breakfast was delivered.
Across the hall way of our unit, two guys from other rooms were either standing or sitting outside, talking to each other without wearing a mask. They must be going crazy being locked up in their room on their own.
After waiting for a while, we got our swap tests done. We then started packing, and got ready for flying back to Manila in a couple of days, when the test results were available.
Nobody informed us of the test result on the tenth day, but we already have the plane tickets going back to Manila. So we asked the hotel receptionist, and were told that we were cleared for leaving the hotel. We were elated.
We went to the airport with a hired car, and boarded the plane without incident. There was no issue also when we landed in Metro Manila. Phew!
So our Cebu quarantine experience was not too bad. We were not even billed for the COVID tests taken when we landed and when we left Cebu. It helped a lot that we were a family and we could keep each other company during the quarantine. If we were travelling alone, the experience would have been harder to bear.
June 9, 2021
A place that I am yet to visit, but seems full of wonders:
June 4, 2021
Tourists like to visit places that elicit a good mood. This often means not just one attractive feature, such as natural scenery, but also something else.
In San Juan, La Union, there are not just beaches for surfing, but also quint establishments like El Union Coffee, the proprietor of whom is a real coffee craftsman.
June 4, 2021
We are getting closer to normal days, as more vaccines arrive. Residents from NCR+ can since June 1, 2021, visit other MGCQ areas, including Boracay island. Enjoy the relative quietness of these once busy tourist destinations before the crowd returns!
May 17, 2021
One way to be COVID-19 free.
April 6, 2021
Under travel restriction, we learn what isolation means.
Romblon is a province located north of Aklan. It is made up of several small islands, including one that is called Romblon island, and another called Carabao island (also known as Hambil island). The latter is located close to Boracay.
March 30, 2021
Quezon Province is located south of Batangas Province in Luzon. It is about 6 hours drive from Metro Manila. Catanauan Cove is a famous beach area in that province.
March 30, 2021
Where to surf, or learn to surf, near Metro Manila? Urbiztondo Beach, San Juan, La Union is about 5 hours drive from Metro Manila.
March 30, 2021
Another place outside of the NCR+ lockdown, Batangas is home to many fantastic beaches, a lot of which are found in Laiya, San Juan, Batangas. During the lockdown period, which is targeted to end on April 4, 2021, only residents of Batangas can enjoy these beaches. We wait eagerly for the end of the lockdown.
March 30, 2021
On March 22, 2021, after we learned about the travel ban imposed on people within the NCR+ travel bubble, we quickly canceled our trip to Laoag, North Luzon, and booked hotels for our staycation in Laguna, which was within the travel bubble, for March 28 to 31. Then ECQ was announced to occur from March 29 to April 4, 2021 for Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
Now we dream about the days when we could finally visit the wakeboard park and nearby outdoor areas in Santa Rosa, Laguna.
March 22, 2021
Just when we were making our final arrangements to visit Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte this weekend, we heard the announcement about new travel restrictions. Under IATF Resolution 104, Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal and Bulacan are designated as an area where people are not allowed to leave or enter.
Next time only, Paoay Sand Dunes and other wonderful places in Ilocos.
March 21, 2021
Many areas in the Philippines that depend heavily on tourism to sustain the local economy are desperately trying to attract tourists. They put out materials that say everyone is welcome, even as Metro Manila is tightening restrictions in March 2021 because of the recent spike in the number of new cases. What is the picture for people who are planning to travel?
We are planning to travel to Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte at the end of March. We read from the press that the government task force on the pandemic is adopting a single travel management system called S-pass.ph to standardize the communication between travelers and local government units of the intended destinations. See here: https://www.manilatimes.net/2021/03/07/public-square/iatf-to-utilize-dosts-s-pass-app-for-travelers/848096/
We registered at s-pass.ph, then booked a RT-PCR test, and hotels. Then we read from the Facebook page of Ilocos Norte Tourism office that they wanted something else. We had to register at ilocosnorte.ph. After that, we also have to download an app called Safepass, while the IATF wants people to use Staysafe.ph for contact tracing.
So much for IATF's uniformed travel protocol announced on February 26, 2021.
March 10, 2021
Our small family visited Mabini, Batangas for a two night stay at the end of February 2021. The pandemic related travel restrictions were in place, so we took a COVID-19 antigen test two days before travel and brought our certificate of negative test result for each of us when we traveled.
Photo below: a small resort in Mabini, Batangas
The road trip from Metro Manila was pleasant enough. Since electronic toll RFID is mandatory, and the tollways covered most of the travel distance (SLEX and Star Toll), we reached Batangas in just over two hours.
We made a detour to Batangas City for lunch. The city street was busy, but quite clean. The local authorities seemed to be able to clear the sidewalks from vendors, parked vehicles and other side walk obstruction, quite a feat compared to many places in Metro Manila.
While we ate in a fast food place, we found a nice T-shirt shop that sold fake California surfer shirts, as well as a cafe that sold espresso coffee, cool!
Anilao is a diver's paradise, so naturally you can find a lot of dive resorts along the main road that hugs the coast of the Mabini peninsula.
We stayed in a small resort near the tip of the Mabini peninsula. It was like a family home built with many rooms, but we stayed in a stand alone cottage behind the main building and across of street. It was spacious, clean and quiet, made a good base for guests to explore the rest of the area.
March 5, 2021
The Interagency Task Force on COVID-19 restrictions passed a resolution to "unify" the travel restrictions related to local travel. "Under the IATF Resolution No. 101, travelers still have to undergo COVID-19 testing if required by the LGU of their destination – the provincial government, and authorities of highly urbanized cities and independent component cities. In which case, only a reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction or RT-PCR test will be honored."
Some local authorities are willing to follow the new directive, and dispense with the documentary requirements as well as COVID-19 tests. Others, however, seem to ignore it.
In the end, travelers still have to check with individual resorts about their COVID-19 restrictions, so please visit our page Now-Open from time to time.
February 24, 2021
From our own experience, traveling to some destinations in Luzon is possible, with varying degree of difficulties for meeting the requirements under COVID-19 rules.
Going to Tagaytay is possible, and no one has ever reported being stopped at any check point.
Going to Subic Bay, on the other hand, requires prior booking and securing health certificate from your local medical center, which, in the case of Taguig City, is free of charge.
Some places, such as Batangas, require visitors to have antigen test. It costs around P2,500 per test (nose swap is slightly more expensive than the newly approved saliva test), and takes about an hour to get the result. Some local authorities, such as the one at Barangay Mabini near Anilao in Batangas, have put up antigen test booths next to their checkpoint, and these booths charge about P1,000 per test, we were advised.
Yet other places, like Boracay and Palawan, require the more expensive PCR-RT test, which costs about P4,000 and can take a day or two to get the result.
February 18, 2021
Life is goodfe
February 10, 2021
February 2, 2021
Travel is still possible
January 15, 2021
As part of the effort to control the spread of COVID-19, authorities in the Philippines have announced various travel restrictions on the public. More stringent restrictions are imposed on children and the delerly, as they are regarded as being more vulnerable to the disease. There are broad based restrictions, such as those announced by the central government regarding the classification of quarantine levels by geographical areas. Then there are further restrictions announced by the local authorities. The central authorities' announcements can sometimes be found in the official website of PCOO, like this one (https://pcoo.gov.ph/news_releases/metro-manila-nine-other-areas-placed-under-gcq-in-january/) that announces the extension of GCQ in Metro Manila and a few other places in January 2021. Unfortunately for the public, there is no centralized official bulletin board where the public can check the local restrictions in all places. We have to search the websites and social media of the places that we are interested in to get the announcements by local authorities, making it difficult for people to make informed decisions, and for the authorities to achieve their goals. Tagaytay out of bound to kids under 15 years old We found this poster in the FB page of Tagaytay City that bans kids under 15 years old from visiting the city.