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Navigating travel requirements in March 2021

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.