Domestic Travel Requirements During COVID-19 Pandemic – from Cebu City to Zamboanga del Norte, Philippines

This is by far the only time I felt less enthusiastic to travel. Thinking of the 2-week quarantine makes me want to throw up. Not to mention another 2-week of solitary once I get back to the city.

If you’re planning to travel from one place to another, then you might want to check the list of requirements you need before booking your flight:

  • Acceptance Letter > You’ll have to contact someone from your barangay/town to secure this one. In my case, I asked my mom to go to the municipal hall/town hall. She informed whoever is in-charge and requested for it: acceptance letter with a signature or permission from the mayor. Afterwards, my mom simply took a picture of the letter and sent me via email. You can do it thru Messenger or whatever app you like. I printed it and went to the barangay office where I live. Remember that the only document that my barangay (in my city) asked was the Acceptance Letter from my destination, nothing else. If you want to ensure that the requirements I had would be the same for you, I suggest contacting your destination city/town office for clarification. I’d like to mention that my mom also went to our town’s health center, and she asked the doctor about the requirements. That was when I knew about the Rapid Antigen Test.
  • Rapid Antigen Test > Make sure to do this before booking a flight. Why? Because if you’re tested positive, you won’t be allowed to fly or travel. However, if you’re certain that you’re perfectly absolutely flawlessly excellently completely in good health, then go ahead and book it. Take note that the Rapid Antigen Test Result only has 5 days validity. Let’s say, you’re set to fly on February 10. You must do the Rapid Antigen Test between February 6 to 10. But who’s in the right mind to have the test on the day of his/her flight, right? haha Anyway, 7 or 8 would be ideal. Just to clarify, you do the Rapid Test on your point of origin. You may do it on your own by buying a test kit or have a nurse or doctor do it for you (if you’re scared of needles). Once you’re done with it and tested negative, notify your barangay (point of destination) and send them a picture of it as a proof. In my experience, this wasn’t optional: it was part of the instructions given to me when my mom inquired from the town hall and health center. So expect that you’ll be provided with a contact number (government personnel) of the person in charge of fetching you from the airport (point of destination). Once you arrive on your destination, they’ll get you and make sure you arrive in the place where you’ll be quarantined for 2 weeks. No contact with people or whatsoever.

Watch this video on how to do the Rapid Antigen Test at home:

  • Travel Forms from the barangay (point of origin) > Barangay/town personnel will provide you the forms you need after a few days from the day you submitted the Acceptance Letter. In my case, when I went to the barangay, I was told that it would normally take them 3 days to process the papers. So for example, if your flight is on Feb. 10, they will tell you to get it the day before your flight, which is on Feb. 9. Part of the instructions that were given to me was to give or show the forms to the airport staff. So the forms that you’ll be getting from the barangay (point of origin) are the ones you’ll be asked to present in the airport. I suggest having a copy of them on your mobile. Take a picture of all your documents/papers/forms: acceptance letter (from the point of destination), negative result of your Rapid Test, forms from the barangay/town (from the point of origin), and of course your plane ticket.
  • Airplane Ticket > This may be a no-brainer advice but please please make sure to arrive at least 4 hours early. Yeah, not 3 but 4. We are now practicing a new kind of normal, so let’s be circumspect.

Get an ”acceptance letter” from your point of destination and clarify if you have to do the Rapid Antigen Test or the PCR test for COVID-19. ➔ Once you have the acceptance letter, take a picture of it, print it, and submit it to your barangay office (point of origin). ➔ After a few days, you can get the travel forms from the barangay (point of origin), and that’s what you’re going to present in the airport. They will advice you to book a flight three business days after they receive your acceptance letter. They will tell you to get the forms the day before your flight. ➔ It’s best to do the rapid test before buying a ticket. If you tested negative for COVID-19, you can proceed to getting a plane ticket. The validity of your rapid test result is 5 days before your flight date. ➔ Prepare yourself with the new normal, so make sure that before you head to the airport, everything is all set: negative result for COVID-19, complete forms from the barangay (origin), booked plane ticket, wear your mask and face shield, bring alcohol and sanitizer, credit card or debit card for cashless transactions, sent information to the person in charge to fetch you in the airport (destination) like a proof that you’re negative and the forms from the barangay, and all the soft copies of your papers (picture taken of all the forms/docs, etc.).

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