As part of the Travel and Hospitality industry, Z Hostel will be coming up with blog posts relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic, sourcing from government agencies as well as personal experiences, to help travelers and the public with relevant travel, arrival, and quarantine information here in the Philippines.
Marco Viray, a Filipino entrepreneur, arrived in the Philippines from the U.S. last August 11, 2021. He is sharing a glimpse of the process in arriving in the country — from planning, arrival, quarantine, until reaching his home — during the COVID-19 pandemic. He is a returning tourist (non-Overseas Filipino Worker) who took a trip to the U.S. in July.
Planning and Departure
What were the first and most important things you had to consider and prepare for this trip?
To come home to the Philippines from the U.S., I was required to get a RT-PCR test showing negative results 72 hours prior to my departure. I also needed to secure a hotel booking for 10 days that was an accredited quarantine hotel from the list provided by the Bureau of Quarantine in the Philippines. I sourced information on the requirements from the Bureau of Quarantine website and Philippine Airlines website.
What were the other travel requirements?
- Airplane ticket to Philippines
- Philippine Passport
Arrival in the Philippines
When did you arrive in the Philippines? Which terminal?
I arrived on August 11 early in the morning at NAIA Terminal 1.
Walk us through the process when you arrived.
Once I arrived, I was escorted first to the Bureau of quarantine. Here, they verify the documents you have such as the RT-PCR test and also the hotel confirmation. After verification you are then asked to book a RT-PCR test on the 7th day of your quarantine stay. I had to quarantine for 10 days since I came from a non-green zone country which was the US (for a list of the Green Zone Countries, see our blog post here). After that, they release you and then you go to Immigration.
Once you leave the airport, they make sure of your car service arrangements from the airport to the hotel. I reserved mine through the hotel I got and had to pay an extra Php 2,800.
Were you fully-vaccinated by this time already?
Yes, and they looked at my vaccination card upon arrival at the airport.
Where did you quarantine and for how long?
Yes I did, at New World Makati Hotels for 10 days.
Did you take an RT-PCR test during this time?
Yes on the 7th day.
What was the process from hotel quarantine until your way home?
Once I checked in the hotel, I was escorted to my room. You cannot leave the room and have to stay there for the entire 10 days. After 10 days, I checked out and booked a car and went home where I have to quarantine for another 4 days.
How would you describe this entire experience of coming home to the Philippines during this COVID-19 pandemic?
Coming home wasn’t too hard. Just make sure you follow the requirements they post about coming into the country as they tend to change frequently with the quarantine classifications. Personally, I think these requirements are a bit too much and some are unnecessary. We should follow examples of other countries to make things better for people coming home.
Any tips and/or stories you may want to share for all those planning to come home / travel to the Philippines during this time?
I suggest you prepare very well upon coming home. Check the hotels available and make sure you see what food they offer as you can only get food from the establishment. Since you’ll be quarantined for 10 days, make the necessary preparations. I was able to request certain things brought over upon my arrival such as my Apple Tv and gaming console. Request things that can help keep you busy such as gym equipment and other things available from the hotel.