The Philippines to reopen its borders, what tourists need to know

Find out the latest news, including entry requirements and rules

Philippiness

The Philippines, known around the world for its stunning beaches, delicious cuisine, buzzing cities, and crystal-clear waters, recently announced some great news: the country has reopened for tourism.

After shutting down for tourism for nearly two years, the Philippines is to reopen borders for international tourists on February 10.

Those who are keen to visit this vibrant country should keep reading to find out the latest news, including entry requirements and rules.

The Philippines is just one of the latest Southeast Asian countries that have recently reopened, following in the footsteps of Bali (Indonesia) and Thailand.

The country’s Health Undersecretary, Maria Rosario Vergeire, noted at a press conference that “it doesn't make sense anymore [to require quarantine for inbound travelers].”

Although cases reached an all-time high in the middle of January, they have sharply plummeted due to better community control, testing, and vaccination efforts. Thanks to the low number of new cases, the government has even scrapped its color-coded system for tourism.

In the first three days after reopening, the Philippines welcomed nearly 10,000 eager tourists, and are awaiting many more in the following weeks.

So what does this mean for tourists who are planning to visit the Philippines?

Under the Philippines’ new entry requirements, all fully-vaccinated incoming travelers will need to show proof of a negative PCR test that was taken within 48 hours before departure. Likewise, they will need to self-monitor themselves for symptoms for seven days after arriving in the country.

The new rule is much more manageable for travelers, as previous entry rules required travelers to quarantine between five to seven days after arrival.

According to the new requirements, there are nine accepted vaccines to enter the Philippines. These include Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Coronavac, Sputnik V, Janssen (Johnson & Johnson), Covaxin, Sinopharm, and Covovax.

Travelers who cannot provide proof of vaccination will need to go into quarantine in a government-approved facility and take a PCR test on the fifth day. If the test result is negative, travelers can quarantine at home until the 14th day.

Families traveling with children should note that those under 18 are exempt from vaccination requirements.

Likewise, there are a few other requirements to keep in mind. Travelers visiting the Philippines visa-free must have proof of onward travel (i.e. a plane ticket to depart the country) within 30 days after arriving. Their passport must be valid for at least six months after the intended date of arrival.

Finally, every visitor will need to have sufficient proof of travel insurance. The insurance should have a minimum coverage of $35,000 USD and must be valid throughout the traveler’s stay in the country.

At the moment, the Philippines has relaxed the majority of domestic restrictions. There are no curfews in place, nor are there restrictions on intercity travel.

Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat noted that the government is keeping a close watch on new cases and developments.

In addition, she mentioned that “[we] will closely monitor the situation and ensure that health and safety protocols are strictly implemented in all tourism establishments."

There is a daily cap on international (incoming) flights as the airline industry begins to pick up from pandemic-era levels. Once in the country, however, travelers have plenty of domestic flights to choose from, including non-stop service to Cebu, El Nido, Panglao, San Jose, and many more popular destinations.

Once travelers have prepared for the necessary entry requirements, here comes the fun part: choosing what to see and do in the Philippines.

There are more than 7,000 islands that make up the country, as well as countless pristine beaches, lush jungles, rice terraces, and architectural wonders.

Tourists typically start off their trip in Manila, the country’s capital, which offers fantastic spots like Fort Santiago, Rizal Park, and San Agustin Church.

From there, be sure to add at least one beach or resort to your itinerary. One of the best spots to relax is Malapascua Island, which is perfect for solo travelers, families, or couples. There are cute beach bungalows available for rent and an abundance of marine life. It’s no wonder why this island is one of the top destinations for scuba divers and snorkelers looking to get a peek at the fishes and thresher sharks.

Speaking of wildlife… Travelers who want to experience the Philippines’ pristine nature should definitely look into visiting Coron Island. Located in northern Palawan, this island’s claim to fame are the numerous lakes, lagoons, and other bodies of water. The island also contains unique rock formations and islets, which tourists can visit via a boat tour.

Whether it’s exploring lush jungles, learning more about the culture, or simply relaxing on the beach, the Philippines has something for every traveler.

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