Philippines tourism finally seems to be opening back up after quite literally the longest quarantine in the world, and Siargao Island is the latest destination to welcome unfamiliar faces. Siargao reopening to domestic tourists is the latest victory for the tourism industry in the Philippines, which has been left crippled by COVID-19.
The Department of Tourism announced the opening would be effective from November 23, with flights resuming on December 1. But don’t just jump the gun and book your flights without doing any research first! If you’re planning to take advantage of Siargao reopening, here’s everything you need to know about visiting the surfing capital of the Philippines during the “new normal”.
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Where can you fly from?
In Executive Order 20-054 released by the Province of Surigao del Norte Governor’s Office, there will only be one round-trip available per airline, per week, per route. From December 1, 2020 you can expect the following fights to be available to/from Siargao and Surigao:
- Cebu to Surigao and vice versa
- Manila to Surigao and vice versa
- Cebu to Siargao and vice versa
- Clark, Pampanga to Siargao and vice versa
- Manila to Siargao and vice versa
- Davao to Siargao and vice versa
You can also enter Siargao via ferry from Eva Macapagal Passenger Terminal or Lipata Ferry Terminal in Surigao City.
Test before travel
It’s pretty much a given now that if you want to go anywhere outside of your own province, you’ll need to prove you’re not COVID-19 positive. Siargao is no different, so you’ll need proof of a negative RT-PRC test result taken within 48 hours of leaving your port of origin. If you have a RT-PRC test more than 48 hours before departing for Siargao, the DOT has advised that you’ll also need a negative antigen swab test result on the day of arrival.
Aside from a negative test result, you’ll also need to present a valid E-Health Pass which you can register for by hitting this link here. There are different E-Health Passes for Surigao del Norte residents, APORs and tourists, so make sure you select the relevant entry type.
No quarantine, but enhanced safety measures
You won’t be subjected to mandatory quarantine when you arrive in Siargao, however you will need to undergo another Rapid Antigen Test 7 days from the date of your initial test at your own expense. If you test positive, the cost of quarantine and any other expenses incurred will be from your pocket.
Minimum health standards will be enforced at all establishments and activities on the island, so expect temperature checking, contact tracing, hand sanitising and mask wearing. But hey, if you’re not used to that by now, you probably haven’t left your house in the last 8 months. Also, gone are the days of partying all night in Siargao – a strict curfew will be enforced from 11pm – 4am.
Don’t expect to be able to take a quick weekend trip to Siargao. You’ll need to show proof of a minimum 5-day confirmed booking at a DOT approved accommodation provider. Aside from hotel confirmations, you’ll also need to show your complete travel itinerary to and from the province, and a roundtrip ticket. You won’t be able to book just any old hotel, hostel or resort. Accommodation providers must meet the standards laid out by the DOT and apply for accreditation before they can start accepting bookings.
There’s definitely a few more steps involved in vacations these days, but after 8 months spent stuck in one place, we’re more than willing to jump through a few extra hoops to regain a sense of normalcy. Siargao reopening is just what we need to feel like the world is coming back to life again, and we can’t wait to get back to one of our favourite islands in the Philippines!
If you want to start planning your trip, you can check out our Siargao travel guides here for some ideas on what to do while you’re on the island. See you in the surf!
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