For Manila (and nearby provinces) residents, traveling to Baguio is the most convenient escape trip from the stressful city life. Baguio City seems to have it all – nature, good restaurants, cold weather, kind people, and the perfect chill vibes. It is one of the premier tourist destinations in Luzon, especially Benguet, and has already lost billions in their tourism sector this quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
IS BAGUIO CITY OPEN FOR TOURIST NOW?
(UPDATE) May 15, 2021: NCR+ (Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Bulacan) is under GCQ, they are under heightened restrictions, and are still NOT allowed for leisure travel until May 31, 2021.
YES, to help jumpstart the tourism economy, Baguio City decided to open its city to tourists, of course, with observance to safety protocols and requirements.
We went to Baguio last January 29-31, 2021 to reserve our wedding church and venue. Yes, I’m engaged, loves! But we did the same travel process and submitted the same travel requirements as tourists which I’ll be sharing with you.
Baguio’s New Entry Protocols & Travel Requirements
These protocols and requirements are as of March 19, 2021. These usually change from time to time so it’s better to always check the Baguio Tourism FB page for updates.
✓ Baguio City would just accept 3,000 tourists per day.
✓ Tourists must schedule their visit on the Baguio Visita website.
✓ No QTP (Quick-Response Tourist Pass), No entry.
✓ A negative COVID-19 test result (Antigen or RT-PCR) for 72 hours prior is required.
✓ Tourists must undergo mandatory triage upon arrival to Baguio.
Prior to traveling to Baguio
1. Create an account on the Baguio Visita website. (https://visita.baguio.gov.ph/) You need to fill in your personal information, upload a valid ID and verify your e-mail. Each tourist must have an account.
2. Schedule a visit using your Baguio Visita account. Accommodation, date and time of arrival, mode of transportation, health declaration form, and negative COVID-19 result (72 hours prior) will be asked. You can also choose to have your testing at their triage.
PERSONAL TIP: I didn’t book our accommodation first because we want to make sure of our QTPs first. I just initially put the hotel we were eyeing to book first. You can also change your accommodation and date/time afterward.
3. Wait for your QTP to be sent in your e-mail after almost 24 hours. I received it less than 24 hours when I requested it last January 25. I heard from travelers now that sometimes it already takes more than 48 hours for them to send your QTP. Better schedule it a week before your travel date.
4. After receiving our QTP, I immediately booked a room in G1 Lodge Design Hotel in Agoda. It was also the same hotel that I put in our travel request in Baguio Visita.
P.S. You can’t stay anywhere you like just like the old times. DOT has an accredited hotel list in Baguio.
ON THE DAY OF TRAVELING TO BAGUIO
1. We left Rizal around 5 AM, We checked our QTPs on our phones, printed CIFs since we will be taking the COVID-19 test in their triage, our hotel bookings confirmation, and valid IDs before leaving. (Note: If you took a COVID-19 test 72 hours prior then don’t forget to bring the printed copy of your negative result.)
2. Upon our exit to TPLEX Rosario, we were stopped by the La Union checkpoint. We were asked about our destination and told them it’s Baguio. We showed our QTP and they let us go after. Kennon Road is still closed for tourists so we took the Marcos Highway. Another option is the Naguilian Road.
3. We arrived around 10:30 AM in Palispis, a few minutes away from Baguio City, when a uniformed man stopped us to check our travel purpose. We showed him our QTPs and asked us to enter this under-construction building for checkpoint (Triage #1).
4. One personnel was guiding us where to park while another one was noting our car details. They asked us to go down to log our details, show our documents (QTPs, CIFs), and leave one valid ID. After that, we were asked to wait inside our car.
5. A personnel in an orange vest told us to start our car and have our hazards on for we will be in convoy with other 10+ cars to Triage #2. He told us which car to follow until we reach Camp John Hay (Triage #2). Don’t even think of escaping the convoy because first they have your one valid ID, car details and you can’t check-in anywhere without their triage clear forms.
6. In Triage #2, we were asked to fill in a contract tracing form, wash our hands, and scan our body temperature before we were able to enter. The ladies at the registration desk scanned our QTPs, reviewed our CIFs, and returned our valid ID from triage #1. If you also have your negative COVID-19 test result, they’ll validate it then give you the triage clear form that you’ll present in hotels/establishments.
7. We paid for our COVID-19 antigen test in the cashier. It cost P500 (effective as of March 19, 2021) for tourists.
8. We got tested and waited for around 20 minutes before our results came out. If you’re negative, you can now proceed with your trip. But if you tested positive, you can choose to either quarantine in Baguio or back at home.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can seniors and children travel to Baguio for leisure?
Yes, they can but better check with Baguio Tourism announcements first if 15 years old below and 65 years old above aren’t allowed to go out in public spaces. If there’s an existing rule then they can only do staycations.
Are there public transportations to Baguio?
Yes, you can ride a Victory Liner Bus in Cubao for P576 one way. You can see their schedule on their website. Antigen Testing (P800) would also be done before the bus ride in Cubao.
Do I need to book a travel agency to be able to roam around Baguio?
This rule was already lifted. We were able to go around Baguio without booking a travel agency.
It’s been almost 10 months since we traveled and as much as we wanted to avoid it, we needed to reserve our destination wedding next year (that I really hope will push through). We were in mixed emotions, scared but excited at the same time when we were traveling to Baguio but their whole registration and triage process is efficient. The social distancing and health protocols are implemented in the triage. It also just took us less than 2 hours.
We were able to visit a few tourist destinations, restaurants, and even SM Baguio and we didn’t encounter a single overcrowding situation. Tourists are still very limited that even our hotel is on 50% capacity only. Honestly speaking we felt safer here than when we do wedding errands in Manila.
Baguio Visita is one effective way to slowly bringing back our tourism and I’m happy that many provinces or cities are following it.
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