20 NOVEMBER, 2020


The year 2020 has surely affected everyone in some way. Students are stressed about online learning with all the online requirements or modules piling up. Adults and vulnerable citizens are no better, as they experience prolonged quarantine to avoid the risk of contracting the coronavirus. After months of dealing with the pandemic, we all deserve a quick getaway to awesome local travel destinations.

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Recently, the Department of Tourism has announced that the government is reopening selected travel destinations in the Philippines. While these destinations have already reopened, it is still not 100% safe to go outside. So to reach these places, the government imposed strict health and travel guidelines – which is part of the many ways that the pandemic has changed how we travel. These travel requirements, however, may vary from city to city or province to province.

Below is a quick guide on local travel destinations that have reopened and where you can de-stress for the 2020 holidays. Travel requirements are included.

1. Aklan

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Aklan has always been one of the greatest travel destinations in the Philippines even before the pandemic. It’s the perfect relaxing getaway for those who love waterfalls and beaches as well as eco-parks.

For the remainder of 2020, locals and Western Visayan residents have been permitted to visit this island and can now take strolls, enjoy the view of trees and other wildlife in the Bakhawan Eco-Park and Jester’s Eco-Park.

If you’re in need of a good and cool dip, Boracay Island is open to residents from GCQ and MGCQ areas. Meanwhile, Jawili Falls is also open to locals and Western Visayas residents. The Meliton Farm is also open to the same visitors who are looking for healthy, organic produce.

For the travel guidelines, you may have to refer to the official Province of Aklan’s website. The requirements include, but may not be limited to the following:

  • A negative RT-PCR swab test result;
  • Confirmed accommodation from accredited hotels;
  • Flight details; and
  • Proof of identification.

As part of the new normal safety guide for traveling, you need to call your hotel representative for additional instructions on implemented health protocols. Hotels must also follow their own health protocols or requirements for added safety.

2. Baguio City

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Whether it’s the scorching summer or the chill rainy season, Baguio City is always a go-to local travel destination. If you seek a cold Christmas and New Year, resemblant of winters abroad, then Baguio is a good place to spend your 2020 holidays.

Locals and tourists from other parts of NCR may already access the parks and other recreational sites in Baguio. Mines View Park, the Botanical Garden, and the Wright Park are now open to tourists to do some soul-searching or quiet time after the stress brought by 2020.

Before you do your soul-searching, take note of the city’s guidelines as part of your travel guide during the COVID-19 pandemic. To be allowed entry to the city, you must first apply at the Baguio VISITA website and upload all requirements before your trip. The requirements include, but are not limited to the following:

  • confirmed booking from accredited hotels;
  • negative swab test result; and
  • itinerary provided by accredited travel agencies.

3. La Union

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La Union is a haven for those who are into surfing and luscious gardens. The place, however, is still limited to tourists from Region 1 and La Union.

Tourists coming from these specific areas may now enjoy the rest of their 2020 holidays in the Philippines swimming, surfing, or sunbathing at Urbiztondo’s beach. For those who enjoy farming and taking insta-worthy pictures of picturesque farms, the Agoo Farm Eco Fun World and the Bauang Grape Farm are also prime travel destinations.

As always, you need to prepare travel documents as part of your travel essentials post-COVID-19. The requirements include, but are not limited to:

  • a La Union Health Declaration Form;
  • official travel pass from the Department of Tourism;
  • travel authority from the Philippine National Police;
  • confirmed hotel booking, and;
  • a negative swab test.

4. Bataan

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Bataan should be your top pick for historical and picturesque travel destinations in the Philippines.

The place is a witness to important World War II events and is also a good place to enjoy private and picturesque beaches. Spend the rest of your 2020 holidays in Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, for a spectacular heritage tour and staycation that is reminiscent of Old Manila.

You may also enjoy your sweet time diving at private beach resorts such as Fajardo’s Beach Resort, La Jolla Luxury Beach Resort, and the Montemar Beach Club. All areas welcome tourists from GCQ and MGCQ areas.

To enjoy your vacation in Bataan, you need to get a QR code from the local government of Bataan. To do so, you have to download the Get-Pass Application in the Google Play and Apple App store. Other requirements also include, but are not limited to:

  • confirmed hotel bookings;
  • proof of identification, and;
  • negative rapid test results.

5. Cavite

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Looking for travel destinations near Manila? Then Tagaytay, in the province of Cavite should be included in your list. If you just want to enjoy the cold yet the calming atmosphere in Tagaytay and get back on track to your fitness goals Riviera Golf and Country Club and Royale Tagaytay Sports Facilities are open to tourists from all over the country. Tagaytay Highlands is open as well if you’re seeking for more of a relaxing staycation in a space other than 4-square condo walls.

If you want to travel to Tagaytay, the requirements will depend on the area that you are coming from. According to Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, chief of the COVID-19 Shield task force, tourists coming from GCQ areas like Metro Manila will need a travel authority before they are permitted entry. You would also need to disclose your itinerary to the local government units.

We all need to take a break from the stress caused by the pandemic. Now that there are open local travel destinations, we should take this time to relax and enjoy local tourism. After all, we also help boost our local tourism – one of the industries that suffered the most in this pandemic – by choosing to travel to these places.

To fully enjoy your vacation, remember to stay updated with the travel guidelines imposed by the local government units. The requirements indicated may still be subject to changes, depending on the safety measures that the government will impose. Always take the time to call the local government’s office, first; so that you can enjoy a safe and COVID-free vacation.