Quarantine Series

THE COST OF PANDEMIC TRAVEL TO THE PHILIPPINES

I’m back from a one month Christmas vacation in the Philippines. We arrived in the US in January and had to self quarantine for 14 days as mandated by California law.

Traveling during the pandemic is something that must be seriously reconsidered. Unless absolutely necessary – think twice or thrice or as many times as you can. Why should you reconsider?

#1

THE RULES ARE CONSTANTLY CHANGING

A few months before we left- the requirement was for my husband to apply for a tourist visa- which we did ( https://americaforeveryjuan.com/2020/12/31/traveling-to-the-philippines-this-pandemic-heres-what-to-expect/ )

Fast forward- by the time we left in December, the requirement was lifted. HOWEVER – upon check in at the PAL gate at LAX- the counter REQUIRED the visa, the apostilled marriage license (which they read very thoroughly). I was so glad we had it. Upon arrival in the Philippines, though, the immigration officer did not require it.

But just before we were going back to the US in January 2021- they said the rules are back- visa is required again. (https://www.philippineconsulatela.org/foreign-spouse-of-a-filipino-national)

So – it is really very confusing.

#2

CONSIDER THE EXTRA COST OF PANDEMIC TRAVEL

We had to do another swab test required by Pico de Loro

It is no joke. On top of the usual air fare and vacation expenses, there are covid protocol expenses. Visa fees in the US, Covid testing in the Philippines upon arrival (three of us), hotel shuttle from the airport to the hotel, required hotel quarantine. In our case, we only stayed for one day at the hotel. Luckily the test results were released and sent to the hotel within 8 hours- and we were free to go.

Visa Fee $30

Other documentation (apostille) $20

Swab test           $90/person (P4,500)

Hotel shuttle     $71 (P3000)

Hotel/night        $156 (P7,000)

Just a week after our arrival in the Philippines, the Philippine government announced that the mandatory quarantine is now 14 days (regardless of test results). That’s additional $150 x 14 days of hotel expenses

#3

PHYSICALLY UNCOMFORTABLE

Can you handle 15 hour flight covered with mask and face shield?? It is a requirement. I couldn’t. I got away by covering myself from head to foot with the airplane blanket. I was able to take off my mask and sleep.

Philippine Airlines required mask and shield

#4

LIMITED PLACES TO GO

Most resorts do not allow children which was difficult because of our 2 year old grandson. And those that allow children – all require swab test (for the baby too ). Pico de Loro required a same day swab test so we had to go to MOA to get our tests done at 8am before we headed out to Pico with our results.

Dave at Pico de Loro, Nasugbu Batanggas

#5

A LOT OF RESTRICTIONS

It was really tough going around. There are military checkpoints! They ask if you’re from that place/province and what your business is, if not. Then they ask for your covid test results.

This was at the border of Batangas and Tagaytay.

So unless absolutely necessary – THINK AGAIN. The key is to be proactive. Know the latest requirements. Make arrangements ahead. In my previous post, I shared some tips for going home to the Philippines.

For me – love makes it absolutely necessary. My three boys are all in the Philippines and it breaks my heart not to go home. Not after the tough year we had.

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