This October, Baguio City, one of the top tourist destinations in the Philippines, finally reopened its borders to neighboring provinces in Region I including Pangasinan, La Union, Ilocos Sur, and Ilocos Norte after six months in quarantine. And on 22 October, the city will be accepting tourists from NCR, Region 2, and Region 3.
While the Summer Capital isn’t welcoming visitors from other areas of the country yet, its gradual reopening scheme keeps Filipinos hopeful that they could be experiencing the cool climate of the city again soon.
In the meantime, if you’re from the areas granted access to Baguio and would like to visit the city to enjoy its sights and flavors, here are the safety guidelines and protocols you need to know before you go:
All eligible tourists visiting Baguio must undergo COVID-19 testing up to 72 hours prior to traveling to the city. All DOH-prescribed testing methods will be accepted, and tourists must present a legitimate negative test result upon registering their trip and at designated entry points.
If testing laboratories are not available in your hometown, you can get yourself tested when you arrive at the Central Triage located at the Baguio Convention Center. You will be shouldering the expense of the test and you will also be held in quarantine until your result has been released.
Scheduling your visit
Travelers are required to plan their trip with an accredited tour operator and register their visit through the Baguio VIS.I.T.A (Baguio Visitor Information & Travel Assistance) app or website prior to their visit. Registration is completely free of charge.
For ease of registration, prepare a scanned copy of the following documents, which you will be uploading to the portal:
- One (1) valid government-issued ID
- Current photo
- Confirmed itinerary and proof of accommodation booking
- Result of COVID-19 test
Once you have successfully registered your trip, a QR-coded Tourist Pass or QTP will be sent to you via email. Keep a copy of the QTP (either digital or printed) on you at all times as this will serve as your ticket to Baguio City.
How to get there
At the moment only visitors arriving in private vehicles or a shuttle service provided by certified tour operators will be allowed to enter Baguio City. Entry points are accessible through Naguilian Road or Marcos Highway.
Should you feel the need to use the toilet or eat along the way, you may pull over only at pit stops accredited by the Department of Tourism (DOT).
What to do when you arrive
At the entry checkpoint, present your QTP to the border patrol officer. Once granted access, proceed to the Baguio Convention Center, where health screenings are being conducted. If you’re cleared, you may finally go to your hotel.
Where to stay
To curb the spread of the virus, the local government of Baguio City strictly prohibits visitors from staying with friends or relatives residing in the city.
Tourists must pre-book their accommodation online and choose only hotels that have been issued a CAO (Certificate Authorizing Operation) by the DOT and the local government.
Scheduled visits can be canceled at any time. However, tourists are strongly advised to make the cancellation five (5) days prior to the original date of travel so their slot can be used by others.
Prospecting visitors who have decided to cancel their trips must also coordinate their plans with their travel agents to process any refunds and fees.
Other things you might want to know:
- Day trips and DIY tours are not yet allowed at the moment. A different set of guidelines covering these types of tours will be issued in the near future.
- A maximum of 200 tourists per day will be allowed entry to Baguio City at the moment.
- If your trip is business-related or if you are a returning resident, you need not register your trip through the VIS.I.T.A portal. Instead, use the existing RBR (Returning Baguio Residents) system.
- If you wish to just spend a staycation in a hotel, you may make your reservation directly through your hotel of choice. However, you must see to it that you won’t be leaving the premises of the hotel.
- You don’t need to undergo another COVID-19 test when you’re already in Baguio as long as your stay is within the 5-day validity of your test and that you don’t develop signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
- If you don’t have access to a computer or smart phone, ask your travel agent for assistance to create your VIS.I.T.A account and generate your QTP.
What do you miss most about Baguio City? Let us know in the comments below!
Once you’re ready to revisit Baguio City, browse through KKday’s selection of accredited tour operators for your safety and convenience.