As the pandemic isn’t over yet, there are still so many travel restrictions in different countries and as the Philippines is on a red list nowadays, travelers, mainly those who are coming international have to face a lot of rules and procedures to comply with.
Moreover, please note that all Filipino Overseas Workers (land-based or sea-based) have to go for a mandatory 10-day quarantine upon arrival to the Philippines (regardless if you are completely vaccinated or you came from a green list country) to a hotel designated by the OWWA. Glad that it is free of charge, all expenses, food, water, and other utilities are provided by our Government.
Additional quarantine of four days will be spent inside your home upon obtaining the negative result of the swab test (PCR) given on the 7th day, which the result will come on the 9th or 10th day along with the certificate that you are cleared (and free to go 😁) from the Bureau of Quarantine (still in quarantine so I have no idea yet, to be updated)
But prior to that, here are some of the guidelines you have to follow before traveling.
1. Booking of tickets– make sure that you ask the airlines if PCR is required before traveling. There are some airlines that requires a PCR from 72 to 48 hrs before departure, so don’t forget about this. As for us, we traveled on a direct flight (9 and half hours straight) via Philippine Airlines (by Gulf Air) and PCR is not necessary.
2. Register- You have to register through google for the following:
A. oasis.owwa.gov.ph- This is the easiest part. There isn’t so much to fill up and easy to follow. Just provide all the necessary personal details and will not even take you more than 5 minutes to fill up.
B. http://www.onehealthpass.com.ph- (this is only required if you are traveling via Gulf Air). Although it’s a little bit confusing registering at first (I have to register for three person, myself, my husband and my baby), I wasn’t able to fill it up correctly the first time. So, I’ve tried several times to accomplish. Please read all the questions carefully and repeatedly as there are some confusing questions that need your concentration as so not to start over again.
C. http://www.balikpinas.ph- After finishing the health pass, the site will notify that you have to complete the process by directing you automatically to balikpinas.ph. Again, please read all the questionnaires properly to avoid confusion. This online form will not proceed to the next step with incomplete details.
From what we were told, the health pass will send an email to POLO (I also received a notification email from the site to POLO) to verify if the vaccination details you provided in the form are accurate (make sure to write down your complete vaccination details such as type of vaccine, date and batch number of first dose and second dose, including Health Center where vaccination has been done.
D. Traze App- It is also indicated that we have to install this application. I’ve downloaded it in BH but I don’t know the purpose yet. This is individual registration, again with your personal details in the PH, and will give you your own QR code upon completion. So, I guess this is for contact tracing while we were in the Phil.
Once you are done with this, you are now READY TO TRAVEL!
3. Preparation: Dont forget all the travel-related documents regardless of whether you will be needing them or not. Better you have it in advance and photocopied in multiple sets.
A. Yellow card- Health card provided by the Ministry of Health BH for our vaccination details.
B. I expected that the beaware app BH (this is the full app that shows our complete vaccination report, marked green which means that you are fully vaccinated with your own unique QR code, and all other BH information regarding covid like total number of people vaccinated, number of people tested positive, recovered, world covid meter and other information and Govt latest covid news) will log out in the Phil and so, I’m right as I can’t open it in the Phil. It says I have to log in again, and when I try to register, it requires a verification code sent to my registered BH phone number which unfortunately I have turned off for safety purposes so, I have printed and photocopied all our details in hard copies prior.
C. Folder- As I’m an OC person as always, I wanted everything to be organized and properly arranged according to my ways, so I have a separate transparent folder/ envelope for all the documents. Having this actually saves time as I do not have to rumble thru our things finding something. The same applies to our luggage, everything in order and packed according to usage. I don’t want to look for things and don’t know where I kept them.
✅ A separate envelope for our passport and tickets.
✅ Another separate folder for other documents such as Health cards, OWWA membership receipts etc.
✅ Big file envelope for the passbooks, Bankcards, Phil ID’s and other important files.
The flight was at 8:40pm but we went there by 6pm (left home at 5:30) in case we needed more time to check in. Actually, checking in at BH airport is always easy, you can even go there an hour before departure but I just assumed we need more time as I thought manpower will be less due to the currently implemented 70% workforce.
Not much queues but took a little bit longer than usual to check in as we have to provide the Healthpass (mentioned above). Not to mention that the foreign couple in front of us were having some check-in issues (based on their body language and foreign conversation, the airline ground staff has to go and come back for whatever reason)
Finally, got our tickets, passed the immigration and waited to board.
Noticed that the plane was not even half full of passengers. There were so many vacant seats, and almost half of the plane was empty particularly at the tail of the plane.
We occupied the three seats in the middle and yet the other sides, both left and right was empty, so it was like we have the whole aisle just for us.
I’ve known this from the beginning as these days, airlines will take limited passengers due to covid (social distancing and all) and actually took like a month to confirm our bookings.
And so we fly on a big plane!
While onboard, the flight attendant gave us two fill-up forms, a yellow and brown small form, one is the arrival form and the other one is for the Quarantine.
As we landed 10 hours later and after the immigration, we were all instructed (all returning Filipino workers) to go to a separate hall (gate A) and they gave us another small white fill up form which the staff told us, for OWWA. After a small briefing, (like where to go next, what to do next, rules and procedure for quarantine, do’s and don’t while in quarantine and how to go home after the quarantine period)
We were then told to collect our baggage and head to the OWWA counter. We gave them the white form we filled up in gate A and from there, they gave us three meals and water, a small booklet (which indicates the hotel we were heading to, the Grand Hyatt for us- it’s a five-star hotel anyways), and then we went straight to the big bus outside that will take us there.
Grand Hyatt- This is now where the slight inconvenience happens upon reaching the hotel. As we are traveling with a baby, it gets a little inconvenient waiting inside the bus for more than an hour as the passengers have to go in the hotel one by one, set of two to be exact.
From the bus, we have to transfer to a van (which is actually in front of the hotel already, and just by going inside, we still have to ride the van that goes in the parking floors underneath)
We didn’t pass by the actual reception, but in a different room that looks like a make-shift reception, maybe it is intended for the vacationing OFW’s only. All the staff there are in full gear PPE, covered from head to toe, a little exaggeration but if that’s the rule then be it, better to be safe than sorry, right, because what if we are a carrier of the virus, so better be cautious.
The staff are all warm and approachable in fairness, and they were all ready to answer whatever questions we have in mind.
Again, we have to provide all our details (they took our passports and register it in their log)
Please note that even a family has to be in a separate room, so I’m with the baby and my husband is next door to mine. We asked if we can be in one room together but we were told that it is a strict rule to comply with a one-person, one-room policy.
Finally in the hotel room!!!❤️
The hotel room is super cozy, we (my son and I, haha!) super love it! With a glass-paneled window that allows me to open up the curtains and see the full view outside, big comfy bed, a separate bathroom, and vanity, with a bathtub, a separate toilet, a separate closet, a sofa, and a big TV plus high-speed internet connection, what more can I ask for? It’s like a paid staycation for us! (I will write my review about the hotel in a while)
I‘ve also noticed that they provided everything we need for the quarantine including laundry soap and dishwashing soap, big water bottles, a lot of coffee and tea sachets, soaps, shampoo’s, toilet rolls, and tissue boxes, towels, vanity kit, and all.
And so we are going to spend 10 days here, free meals for baby and me three times a day. 5 days down, 5 more days to go and as of today, my son and I are enjoying here a lot. My son never gets bored with me and so am I as much as this is also our quality time spent together. We didn’t have much time during the daytime in BH as I’m also working full time. Not to mention that this is also one way to train him according to my way not to be a very brat little boy, and as the days passes by, I can see a different Jan Francisrain here, never cries for no reason, can follow simple instructions, knows what not to touch or do and so on, proud Nanay here!
Is it exaggerating or am I the only one who is enjoying the quarantine? 😂
This is it! Please wait for my next blog to follow:
✅ What to expect in Grand Hyatt Hotel- Manila
✅ Tips when traveling with a baby