If 2020 was the year you vowed to travel the country and hit the beach as much as you could, then you—as with the rest of us—probably got disappointed. As the pandemic carries on, it seems that we’ll still be mostly staying at home in 2021. But, if you really want to go out and experience the sun, sand, and surf once again, there are a few beach destinations that are slowly reopening to tourists. Just don’t forget to follow health protocols and guidelines by the local government unit and the Department of Tourism.
Check out these Philippine beaches you can now visit and what you need to know if you’re traveling:
Boracay Island, Aklan
Boracay Island in Aklan opened their doors to tourists from all over the Philippines—including regions that are still under general community quarantine—in October 2020. One of the measures during the reopening is the Test Before Travel regulation, which requires tourists to take an RT-PCR test (or swab test) from 48 to 72 hours prior to traveling to Boracay. They should, of course, test negative for the COVID-19 virus. Local tourists are also asked to fill out an online health declaration form through Aklan’s website and show their confirmed booking at an accredited hotel or resort upon arrival at the Godofredo P. Ramos Airport in Caticlan.
What You Need: Boracay's Health Declaration Card
El Nido, Palawan
If you want to go on a weekend getaway at one of the world's best islands, El Nido is open to Metro Manila tourists flying in via Lio Airport. All you have to do is secure a QR-coded tourist ID from El Nido Tourism's website by filling out a health declaration form and uploading negative RT-PCR swab test results within 48 hours as well as travel itinerary and accommodation reservations. All accredited resorts in Lio Beach offer four-day travel packages with fixed schedules.
What you Need: El Nido's QR-Coded Tourist ID
Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte
Get ready to file a week-long vacation leave if you intend to fly to Siargao Island in Surigao del Norte since you need to have a five-day confirmed booking at an accredited accommodation establishment to be allowed entry. You also need to present negative RT-PCR test results taken within 48 hours, an e-Health pass with valid ID, and roundtrip tickets. The e-Health Pass will serve as your passport in entering any private/public office, business establishment, checkpoint, church, and other public places within Surigao del Norte.
What You Need: Surigao del Norte's e-Health Pass
Batangas’ famous dive spots reopened as early as October 2020, following a resolution allowing accommodations and dive centers in the province to accept guests for recreational diving. Guests should pre-book and dive only at establishments accredited by the Department of Tourism (DOT) and Philippine Commission on Sports Scuba Diving with Certificate of Authority to Operate. You’re also required to present a physical copy of a negative RT-PCR result taken within 48 hours.
Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte
Tourists from Luzon are permitted to travel to Ilocos Norte, including the province's beautiful beaches in Pagudpud. The coastal town boasts lesser-known white-sand beaches such as Saud Beach and Maira-ira Beach, interesting geological formations such as the Kapurpurawan Rocks, and Kabigan Falls on the eastern side of the municipality. All tourists are required to pre-register at Ilocos Norte's website and get a QR-coded tourist pass. You also need to present a negative RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours, medical certificate indicating good health, confirmed accommodation booking and itinerary form secured from accredited hotels and tour operators, and a valid ID.
What You Need: SafeForm account
Santiago, Ilocos Sur
Ilocos Sur, including the beaches and coves in Santiago, is open to travelers coming from Luzon. Just make sure that you undergo an RT-PCR test within 48 hours of entry, book with DOT-accredited tour operators and hotels and secure proof of booking, and create a QR-coded pass. You're also required to present these at the border checkpoint, where you're required to undergo antigen testing. Tourists are not allowed to go out from their hotels, except for scheduled tours.
What You Need: SafePass account
Panglao Island, Bohol
The island province of Bohol—specifically Panglao Island, which comprises the municipalities of Panglao and Dauis—started accepting tourists for leisure travel on December 15, 2020. To visit, all you have to do is log on to Bohol's tourism website and fill out a Google form. You also have to upload your negative PCR test results taken within 72 hours, confirmed hotel booking, roundtrip airline tickets, and itinerary. DIY travel is not allowed as of the moment, so you have to book your tours with accredited operators.
What You Need: Panglao or Dauis Tourism Bubble Form
In November 2020, Bataan signed a resolution allowing local hotels, resorts, and other tourism-related establishments to receive guests from outside the province. Tourists are required to present a medical certificate by the rural health unit of the place of origin, travel pass from the barangay, QR code registration, negative RT-PCR test results taken at least two days prior to arrival, and confirmed booking. Five Fingers, a popular cove-to-cove hopping activity in Mariveles, is also open.
What You Need: GetPass QR Code
Subic, formerly a U.S. naval base, is now a popular weekend destination because of its beaches, theme parks, and duty-free shopping centers. If you're looking to spend a night at some of its beach resorts, just make sure you have a confirmed booking from an accredited accommodation, RT-PCR test results, health certificates, and an itinerary.
Prior to your Coron getaway, make sure you have your RT-PCR test taken 48 to 72 hours before travel, a confirmed booking at a DOT-accredited accommodation, and a travel itinerary booked with DOT-accredited tour operators. You should also register and fill out the health declaration form at Coron Tourism's website to secure a QR code. This will serve as your pass upon entry at Francisco B. Reyes Airport, where you will undergo a health assessment.
What You Need: Coron's Health Declaration Form
*This story originally appeared on Spot.ph. Minor edits have been made by the Preview.ph editors.