testing & quarantine for arriving passengers

I am traveling from US to MNL in about 10 days with my balikbayan wife and our 12-year-old daughter. Our destination is Cagayan de Oro (CDO).
The Philippine Coast Guard announced June 1 that ALL arriving passengers (OFW and non-OFW) will be given a swab test and sent to a hotel or facility to await the result. Some have said it takes 3-5 days but no reliable information available. It could be 2 weeks in Manila and another 2 weeks upon arrival in CDO.
Does anyone have any reliable information or details/updates on this?
https://scontent-iad3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/p960x960/100683034_536455060356486_2297946269458366464_o.png?_nc_cat=105&_nc_sid=8024bb&_nc_ohc=hKwk_Xi2YgYAX9KNZB4&_nc_ht=scontent-iad3-1.xx&oh=3710d823da66c1b2f4de02c82319342f&oe=5EFD0182
Here is the Coast Guard announcement:
https://www.facebook.com/coastguardph/p … 5057023153

Thank you,
Trainwreck

I’m very interested in this conversation.

Unless it is absolutely necessary to come to Philippines right now, delay it 2-3 months until things die down some.  You may wind up in some pigsty for 14 days in Manila in quarantine, then another 14 days in a pigsty in CDO in quarantine. 

Ask 10 different people, you get ten different answers.

Yes. Nobody really the rules here. Best u wait. Also public transportation is messy.

Last I heard inbound passengers other than OFWs get to choose their place of stay from a list provided.  You alsoget to pay for the room(s) too.

Philippine Airlines is still cancelling all flights from Manila to Davao yesterday, today and tomorrow.  No one really knows when it will change.  You might want to consider September as a better time to fly, not get hung up anywhere.  My flight out of Manila to JFK has been rescheduled twice, looking at 6/18/20 now, have no idea if it will fly or if I can be on it.

The following was sent to  me from the Philippine Consulate in Vancouver. It gives a thorough explanation of the arrival quarantine procedure, the various levels of restrictions (ECQ, GCQ, etc.) and in country travel restrictions. It also contains a list of the hotels that are available for arrival quarantine in Manila. Some of them are high end hotels in Makati and Pasay that I am familiar with but most are names i don't recognize. This information is about 2 weeks old and things are changing and opening up almost daily. I suggest you contact the Philippine consulate in the U.S. to get updated info.
We would like to inform you that Philippine Airlines is resuming their regular Vancouver-Manila flight on 10 June 2020.  You may wish to check online ([link moderated]) for available seats on your preferred date of travel or contact PAL-Vancouver (https://[link moderated]/en/aboutus/contactus).

Regarding the quarantine requirements, please access the links below that pertains to Consulate advisory on quarantine procedures in the Philippines as well as list of hotels. 

https://www.facebook.com/PHinVancouver/ … mp;theater
https://www.facebook.com/PHinVancouver/ … mp;theater
https://www.facebook.com/PHinVancouver/ … mp;theater


Regarding travel between provinces and Metro Manila,  please access the link below which contains information on the status of provinces in terms of community quarantine effective 01 June 2020.

https://www.doh.gov.ph/sites/default/fi … No.-40.pdf


Also, for reference, below is another link which contains regulations for each of the community quarantine classification such as GCQ, MGCQ, ECQ, etc.

https://www.doh.gov.ph/sites/default/fi … s-0522.pdf

A quick update. PAL have revised their flight schedule and won't start Vancouver to Manila flights until 16th of June now (previously they said 10th of June). Not sure about flights from elsewhere.

Hi, TrainWreck (nice name!), welcome to the forum!

Did you make it on schedule or get pushed back again? I hope you made it OK. I am also heading to CDO from Florida. My flights (via Delta and Korean Air) have been canceled 4 times since mid-May and now I'm booked on a PAL flight out of LAX on 6/27. Not holding my breath, but not sure yet what I'm going to do if that gets canceled.

Your thoughts on quarantine match with what I've heard from relatives on the ground. I was advised to push out to July 1st for the leg to CDO because the 14-day quarantine there (in a secret location to avoid visitors) may be lifted by then.

In your note, you mentioned your wife is balikbayan. Is she a Philippine citizen? The latest I've seen is that only citizens, spouses or children of citizens, permanent residents, and diplomats are allowed into the Philippines. I've had my challenges with the Bureau of Immigration in the past and you don't want to mess with them. Very nice people, but they only go by the book.

We should connect once we're both settled in CDO.

Cheers,
-- Rich

Be safe. Best of luck.

PAL just added Toronto to the list of flights arriving in the Philippines which will be landed in Cebu instead of Manila.  Along with flights from LAX and SF these flights on 6/18 and 6/19 will be diverted to Cebu and then all will be tested while quarantining in local hotels for 48 hours.  Those testing negative will be flown to Manila for free, but the cost of the test and the hotel plus meals will be on the passengers.  Positive tests will result in hospitalization or more quarantine.  This is because all the airlines combined are only allowed to land a total of 600 people in Manila every day.  PAL claims if they did not do this they would be forced to cancel those three flights.  Currently there are no flights available from JFK to Manila.

jwschmidt :

A quick update. PAL have revised their flight schedule and won't start Vancouver to Manila flights until 16th of June now (previously they said 10th of June). Not sure about flights from elsewhere.

NAIA website says the Vancouver flight scheduled to land at 3:40 AM on 6/16 was cancelled, with none scheduled to land on the 17th or 18th.  They are selling tickets on Wednesdays only through June, with Sunday flights being added in July.  Who knows if any of these flights will be diverted to Cebu or elsewhere.

Hi Rich,

The 6/13 Incheon to Manila flight on KAL was cancelled 6/9. KAL rescheduled us to July 1. This time the Incheon to MNL flight is operated by PAL. All we can do is wait and hope it's not cancelled again.

The swab test & quarantine in Manila seems to be taking 3 days consistently now, according to the Ninoy Aquino airport MIAA facebook page. They can handle about 600 international arrivals per day max. We can handle a few days in Manila, no problem.

We have family in CDO and Iligan City. They have contacted the local government units (LGU) and were told that when we arrive at CGY Laguindingan airport we will be met by the LGU of our destination and transported to a hotel for 2-week quarantine & monitoring.

My wife is now a US citizen but has her old Philippines passport, NSO birth certificate, NSO marriage certificate, our daughter's birth certificate, etc. This is from the Philippine Embassy in Washington:

"Under the “Balikbayan Program” of the Philippines, the following persons are considered Balikbayans:
•    a Filipino citizen who has been continuously out of the Philippines for a period of at least one year from the date of last departure;
•    a Filipino Overseas Worker; and
•    a former Filipino citizen who had been naturalized in a foreign country and holds a foreign passport (original proof of former Philippine citizenship, such as old Philippine passport, birth certificate, or foreign naturalization papers showing Filipino nationality will be required).
Balikbayans are entitled to the following benefits:
•    travel tax exemption
•    visa-free entry to the Philippines for a period of one year from the date of arrival in the Philippines
•    duty-free shopping privileges up to US$1,500.00
Family members (spouse and children) of a Balikbayan who are holding foreign passports are also entitled to Balikbayan privileges, on the condition that they:
•    travel with the Balikbayan;
•    pay any applicable immigration fees; and
•    observe and comply with immigration rules and regulations.
(proof of affiliation may be required)"

We hope to settle in or near the Opol/Bulua/Patag area in CDO, near family. We have been planning it for many years. The pandemic has re-arranged our lives and motivated us to go now rather than keep dreaming about it. Good luck to you and let's keep in touch.

Thank you,

TrainWreck

Sounds like a plan, TrainWreck. My wife has dual citizenship, though the Immigration folks don't recognize the documentation she got from the consulate in NY, so she entered as a balikbayan in January. She was supposed to fly back in March but got stuck. I have a 13a permanent resident visa and the originals of all the documents it took to get it, so I shouldn't have a problem.

We're building a house in Xavier Estates, Upper Balulang, which looks to be straight east of where you'll be. It's worked out that my wife got stuck there to oversee the construction and interior design. It should be completed in about a month.

Good luck to us all.

-- Rich

RainTrek :

"Under the “Balikbayan Program” of the Philippines, the following persons are considered Balikbayans:
•    a Filipino citizen who has been continuously out of the Philippines for a period of at least one year from the date of last departure;
•    a Filipino Overseas Worker; and
•    a former Filipino citizen who had been naturalized in a foreign country and holds a foreign passport (original proof of former Philippine citizenship, such as old Philippine passport, birth certificate, or foreign naturalization papers showing Filipino nationality will be required).
Balikbayans are entitled to the following benefits:
•    travel tax exemption
•    visa-free entry to the Philippines for a period of one year from the date of arrival in the Philippines
•    duty-free shopping privileges up to US$1,500.00
Family members (spouse and children) of a Balikbayan who are holding foreign passports are also entitled to Balikbayan privileges, on the condition that they:
•    travel with the Balikbayan;
•    pay any applicable immigration fees; and
•    observe and comply with immigration rules and regulations.
(proof of affiliation may be required)"
TrainWreck

Sounds like you have what you need.  My wife's Philippines passport expired and she travels on her USA passport.  She also went to the consulate in NYC and got an identification certificate from the Consulant General which includes her picture and two thumb prints.  Says that on August 8, 2008, as a natural born citizen of the Philippines she was recognized as a citizen of the Philippines as per her Petition for Reaquisition of Philippine Citizenship and Oath of Allegiance taken before the Philippine Consulate General.  This was required because when she became an American citizen she renounced her Philippine Citizenship.  You might want to have your wife do this in DC.  We take this certificate and a copy of our marriage license for entry and exit from the Philippines, never have any problems, never pay any taxes.

rcvining :

Sounds like a plan, TrainWreck. My wife has dual citizenship, though the Immigration folks don't recognize the documentation she got from the consulate in NY, so she entered as a balikbayan in January.
-- Rich

The paperwork my wife got  at the NY Consulate has worked every time we have visited and exited the Philippines, 6 times starting in October of 2008 including each of the last three years.

It's a long story, Mugtech. My wife did the dual citizenship thing in NYC in 2005 and they weren't giving the certificate then. We've been there twice to get one and they gave us a letter saying that they have a record of her status, but that hasn't been good enough at immigration. She's not coming back to the US, so the plan now is for her to get a new Philippine passport when I get there with all the paperwork. The embassy in DC gave me the 13a visa based on her status, so we're expecting that she should be able to get the passport. If that doesn't work, we'll need to take a vacation abroad once a year. Funny I can stay forever but she can't.

That is strange, rcvining,  that law was passed in 2003, should be good to go.  Since she not be coming back to USA and you have your 13a, you should have no trouble entering the Philippines.  Good luck.

Looks like the June 14th flight from Vancouver to Manila was canceled but the June 18th flight is scheduled to depart although delayed for a few hours.

Scratch that.  They just cancelled the June 18th flight also.......

PAL 117 from Vancouver to Manila sceduled June 17th  departed Vancouver a few hours late (1 am on 18th local) and arrived in Manila at 5 am local. So, at least one flight in the books. PAL have twice per week scheduled from Vancouver to Manila. If anyone hears how the test/quarantine on arrival goes I would be interested to know how that went.

Looks like PAL 127 JFK>MNL will arrive 6:31am local time June 20 per FlightAware live radar tracking.

A bit erratic and confusing but flights are getting out. The consulate here tell me that PALS schedules are firm but flights sometimes get moved, juggled or even canceled due to the limited passenger numbers NAIA will accept on any given day (600). Not sure how the quarantine/testing on arrival is working out. GMA news reports say its taking 2 or 3 days to get test results.

https://www.philippineairlines.com/abou … :~:text=To All International Passengers Arriving in the Philippines:&text=All passengers will be required,after arrival in the Philippines.&text=- Must stay in a government,their test results are released.

The PAL flight from LAX to MNL yesterday (6/20) was sent to Cebu. More complicated than necessary - they gave it a new flight number and required to passengers to rebook in order to fly on it. They also need to book an approved hotel for 2 nights (to be paid by the passenger) before being allowed to board. Here's the notice from PAL, which includes a list of the approved hotels in CEBU: https://www.philippineairlines.com/en/a … 20jun20-75

Our PAL flight PR469 ICN>MNL (Seoul to Manila) on July 2 was just cancelled.
We are awaiting confirmation of July 10 KAL KE623 ICN>MNL.
Anyone have any other recommendations? We are trying to get from Virginia to Manila and ultimately CDO. We usually fly out of Dulles or Richmond, but willing to use LAX/JFK or whatever. It's me, my wife, and 12-year-old daughter. (My wife is balikbayan.)
Thank you,
TrainWreck

Hey, TrainWreck. Bummer!! PAL is showing availability from LAX on 7/12, 7/15, and 7/17. I'm thinking about booking one of them as insurance in case my flight on 6/27 (sold out) gets canceled. -- Rich

RainTrek :

Our PAL flight PR469 ICN>MNL (Seoul to Manila) on July 2 was just cancelled.
We are awaiting confirmation of July 10 KAL KE623 ICN>MNL.
Anyone have any other recommendations? We are trying to get from Virginia to Manila and ultimately CDO. We usually fly out of Dulles or Richmond, but willing to use LAX/JFK or whatever. It's me, my wife, and 12-year-old daughter. (My wife is balikbayan.)
Thank you,
TrainWreck

We had no problems flying from Manila to JFK on 6/18/20.  You might want to check out the PAL non-stop JFK to Manila.  With all the cancels and changes I would think non-stop would be best at this time.  You could be stuck in South Korea or wind up in Cebu.

My PAL flight from LAX to MNL on 6/27 was just moved to Cebu, but they rebooked me automatically, including a flight from Cebu to Manila 2 days later. Only thing I need to do is book a hotel.

https://www.philstar.com/the-freeman/ce … -beds-full

https://cebudailynews.inquirer.net/3213 … -11-deaths

They suspended 250,000 quarantine passes in Cebu.  Mactan is still under GCQ, from what I have read, but things are pretty bad.  A British expat died in an ambulance yesterday because all of the hospital beds were full.  It is a very sad and unsafe situation to be in right now in Cebu.

Thanks, MoonUnit - I have heard the same. I won't be going anywhere near the city - the hotel I'm booking (Crimson-Mactan) is on the other side of the airport on the beach. I'm hopeful that if I follow all the usual precautions I'll get through it OK.

Korean Air confirmed our flights from Dulles IAD to MNL leaving July 10.
We also bought one-way LAX>MNL on PAL departing July 15 as a Plan B. We bought a "throwaway" onward ticket MNL>HKG in November. Not sure it's required for balikbayans but ~4100PHP for the 3 of us. Also reserved airport hotel (Jul 9 & 14) and rental car for both itineraries.
Hopefully one of these will get us there this time, and perhaps the other will be refunded (at least partially). I don't know what else to do. At least we know we have done all we could. Good luck to us all.

Hey, TW - you might want to check your itineraries against your hotel dates. If you leave on 7/10 you will arrive on 7/11 or 7/12.  LAX-MNL arrives early in the morning +2.

Thanks, Rich. The hotel is at Dulles IAD. If we don't make it out on KAL July 10 we will be flying Southwest from IAD early 7/15 arriving LAX 12:10pm. The PAL flight LAX>MNL departs 10:20pm. It still feels like 50/50 odds of success due to circumstances.

Got it, TW - sorry I didn't understand. For LAX-MNL I'd say it's 50% chance it goes to Cebu, 25% to MNL, and 25% canceled. If they send you to Cebu for testing, they'll send you to MNL at no charge once the test comes back. But you'll have to book and pay for a hotel near the Cebu airport for at least 2 nights. The one I chose is $90 per night, including shuttle services and 3 packaged meals per day, for a single person.

God speed, Rich. Hopefully soon we will be enjoying fresh seafood at sunset at Panagatan. You're going to a very nice place in Xavier Estates. You may be finished with quarantine by the time we arrive in CDO. My brother moved from Florida to CDO in 2010 and loves it. He has no regrets, and has never looked healthier/happier. He's in Bulua now but lived in Patag for years. We last visited in 2018. My wife's parents, brothers and sister live in Iligan City, all good people and not a bad one in the bunch. Philippines is a better place for my 12-year-old daughter than here, in my opinion, for many reasons. Looking forward to a simpler life and a more authentic human experience, if you know what I mean.

Note: there's some good info about the LAX>MNL flights diverted to CEB on facebook "Filipinos Stranded Abroad" page.

-TrainWreck

Indeed, God speed to you and your family, TW.

The main bottle neck still sees to be the limited amount of passengers that can be processed at airports in Philippines due to the requirement for swab test, at the airport, on arrival. PAL are lobbying the government to allow passengers to do a covid test in their home country before  travelling to Philippines. This would relive a lot of the jam and allow many more flights to land.

Domestic Travel: PAL's ground teams have been in constant communication with local government units (LGUs) to reflect their requirements and preferred flight frequencies. We expect to see a marked improvement in the reliability of our domestic schedules in the coming weeks, as more and more LGUs open their borders to travelers and fine tune requirements.

[b]International Travel (Arrivals): PAL has been working closely with the IATF, other regulatory bodies and airport authorities to find solutions to increase arrival capacities. THESE PROPOSALS INCLUDE:

Accreditation and acceptance of PCR testing done prior to departure from foreign countries (For instance, to allow US-based travelers to be tested in the US before departure, and accept only those with COVID-negative results for travel on PAL flights). Note: This proposal is under consideration, we will announce if approved and implemented.

• Rerouting flights to other IATF-approved airports such as Mactan Cebu International Airport and Clark International Airport, where more testing (results available in 24-48 hours) and quarantine facilities are available. In these situations, PAL will arrange for transfer to NAIA for passengers that receive negative test results.
• Coordinating for approval of outside-DOH accredited testing companies to augment NAIA testing capacity.

THINGS WILL GET BETTER Efforts by PAL together with our government officials will lead to more stable and frequent schedules. We are also hopeful that these actions will increase capacity to allow more of our fellow Filipinos to come back to the country.
We sincerely apologize to our passengers and their families. Like you, we want to fly again, to fly more, and -- always -- to fly safely. We join the authorities and our service

Here is a link to the website where you can do your arrival screening forms online. Once the form is filled in it will give you a PR code that will be scanned on arrival in Philippines. This will save a lot of time standing in long lines filling in forms after arriving.

https://e-cif.redcross.org.ph/

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