Do you want to know what the requirements are to travel to Guiuan, Eastern Samar during all the COVID restrictions? Then you are in the right place!
After a long 15 months in NCR Plus, ECQ, MECQ, GCG and every other form of Q, it was finally time to go and see my family in Guiuan, Eastern Samar. I needed to take care of some business but it was also an opportunity to see my family and friends and celebrate my birthday (socially distanced ofcourse!).
So the idea sounded great, but like all great ideas, the planning and preparation is the key to success, especially during the COVID pandemic.
Navigating COVID quarantine rules and restrictions in the Philippines is not a simple task. With so many LGU’s having different requirements, you sometimes need to be a miracle worker to get it all done without any trouble.
Fortunately, I was able to get all the requirements in order! Here is what I had to do in order to be approved to travel to Eastern Samar – I hope it helps you to plan your trip to visit this amazing part of the Philippines I call home.
Step 1 – Get A Clear COVID Test 72 hrs before departure
It is a requirement to have a clear COVID test 72 hours prior to departure. At first I wasn’t sure what type of test was permitted, so I started out by booking a Rapid Antigen test with with Zennya, thinking it was going to be the cheapest and simplest way to comply. You book online via the Zennya app, they come to your home and its only 2,000 peso. HOWEVER, I then discovered that only a RT PCR test was acceptable for travel to Eastern Samar so I had to cancel that, without any penalty fortunately.
I then booked the RT PCR Saliva test with the Philippines Red Cross. We did this previously for our trip to Siargao and it worked well. It costs 2,000 peso and they have many locations across the Philippines. I much prefer the Saliva test than the nasal swab, plus it is cheaper and quicker to get results.
We opted to get our RT PCR Saliva test at the rooftop clinic at Market Market in BGC. After a short 30 minute wait, we deposited our saliva and got our clear COVID results about 12 hours later the next morning! Woohoo!
Step 2 – Safe Pass QR Code and Travel Coordination Permit (TCP)
The next step was to organise my Safe Pass QR Code and Travel Coordination Permit (TCP) by heading to the S-PASS website. I needed to create an account and have my clear COVID test and airline itinerary ready as you have to upload it during the process, along with a copy of a government ID. Best to get all these things organised and the files saved before you start the process to save time. Once you complete the form an upload the documents, you will be issued with a QR code and the status will be pending. After about 4 hours, our status was changed to approved and we were issued our formal approval letter to travel to Guiuan Eastern Samar. I took screenshots of the approval letters and QR code as well as took printed copies.
You can never be too careful!
Step 3 – Letter of Acceptance
The next step was to get a letter of acceptance from my local Barangay confirming that I was a returning resident.
Being in the NCR Plus, the people permitted to travel was restricted so this was important.
Fortunately, my sister was able to go to the local Barangay to secure this acceptance letter for me without too much trouble, Guiuan is after all my home town!
Step 4 – Prepare to travel
Ok, so now I had all the permits, tests, approvals and QR codes needed to travel. I checked in online for my Air Asia flight, booked a Grab car and next thing you know my dream of getting back to my hometown of Guiuan, Eastern Samar was finally about to come true.
It is important that you have the Traze app downloaded and account created before you arrive at the airport. You will be required to scan your QR code. If you don’t have this you want be getting on the plane, its as simple as that, so be ready! We weren't 100% organised for my brother who was travelling with me, but as you can see we got it sorted and he was able to fly with me!
Like all flights you need to wear your face mask and face shield on board, but fortunately it’s a short 45-60 minute flight so we can handle it. We had a car prepared to pick us up at Tacloban airport to make the 3-4 hour drive to Guiuan. I had a nap as it was an early 3am start, but before I knew it we were pulling up to my house in Guiuan. I made it!!
Stay tuned for my next blog which will talk about all my adventures in Guiuan, Eastern Samar as well as the requirements we had to follow in order to get back into Manila.