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Thinking of travelling to the Philippines soon?

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Updated 12 December 2021

With more than a year in a state of lockdown, compounded by the mass hysteria brought about by COVID-19, the world as we know it has been put at a standstill. This meant that, for the most part, one of the most exciting parts of living—that is, to travel—has been temporarily taken away from most people. Consequently, this also implies that many are raring to finally go on and travel overseas and experience the wonders that it offers.

Of the places many people often include in their bucket list, the country of the Philippines is undeniably at the top places to visit for its myriad of attractions. With more than seven thousand islands, this archipelago has plenty of areas to visit. Although, certainly, it is its nature-centric sights that are getting the world’s attention to it. But, then, there is also the culture to return to for those thinking of coming back to visit the homeland as ‘balikbayans,’ a local Filipino terminology to returning Pinoys from another country.

What You NEED To Know Before Visiti...
What You NEED To Know Before Visiting The Philippines

As exciting as those sound, the world still has not gone back to a state it once was pre-pandemic. In essence, we were merely only given a leeway to move around as many nations attempt to restore a bit of normalcy amidst the ongoing duress of the coronavirus scare. As such, constraints are in place and must be expected, which are measures aimed at somehow curbing the spreading virus instead of putting the entire society in a state of total lockdown.

Here are the things you should know before putting the Philippines in your itinerary when traveling abroad.

Conditional Entry

During pre-pandemic, an entry to the Philippines is just two-fold: you enter it without the need for a visa and do so for several weeks or with a strict requirement of a visa before getting passage. Nowadays, this is more a case of which region you are coming from and how such a nation stands with the pandemic.

Following the ‘traffic light’ system, the phased reopening classifies external territories into three groups, based on the perceived level of threat their citizens pose to public health as implemented by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF): ‘Green, Yellow, and Red’.

Nations falling under the ‘Green’ and ‘Yellow’ groups will have their people permitted entry granted they meet certain demands, as per Philippine Airlines Travel Advisory.

For fully vaccinated eligible travelers:

  • Negative RT-PCR test result taken within 72 hours before departure
  • Facility-based quarantine until the release of negative results
  • RT-PCR swab test on the 5th day from the day of arrival
  • 2 weeks home quarantine

For eligible travelers who are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or whose vaccination status cannot be independently determined:

  • Negative RT-PCR test result taken within 72 hours before departure
  • Facility-based quarantine until the release of negative results
  • RT-PCR swab test on the 7th day from day of arrival
  • 2 weeks home quarantine

Prohibited Entry

Things are totally different if you are hailing from a territory that belongs to the country’s so-called ‘Red List’—or nations with reported strong cases of the Omicron variant—which prohibits entry. The territories under this category include:

  • Africa: South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Mozambique.
  • Europe: Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, and Italy.

However, there is an exemption to the rule. In particular, Pinoys coming from a Red List country, whether state-initiated or not, will still be permitted entry, granted the said balikbayan has met the following requirements:

  • RT-PCR swab test on the 7th day from the day of arrival.
  • Release from the facility after completing the mandated 10-day facility-based quarantine as well as presentation of a negative RT-PCR result.

Flight Requirement

There are plenty of international flights to choose from if traveling to the Philippines. But if you are choosing Philippine Airlines for it, it’s worth noting the essentials before you are given a flight. Adding to the usual requirement that will allow a passenger to board a plane for international travel, Philippine Airlines is implementing an updated policy, which demands a negative RT-PCR test result. Lacking this critical requirement and you will be outright denied an onboarding to the plane. Meanwhile, for minors traveling with their guardian or parent, tests shall also be enforced to them, without paying regard to their vaccination status or place of origin.

Quiapo, Manila | Unsplash
Photo by Kristine Wook on Unsplash

Travel Considerations

Measures that are implemented as a means to combat COVID-19 change regularly in the Philippines and vary from province to province. Typically, it mostly boils down to whether there is a need for a health pass to travel around or not, or which places of interest are open to accommodate tourists. But if there are a few things that remain unchanging, it is the need to wear a face mask and in certain instances, a face shield when going for the outdoors and in public.

Helpful links

Before traveling, contact your nearest Philippine Embassy or Consular office for the latest travel requirements. Your travel agent will also be able to assist you.

The following links also offer the latest information for travelers to the Philippines:


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