The Long Road Home, part 2

In my previous blog, I talked about how we secured the requirements to leave Pasig City (and Metro Manila) under General Community Quarantine. We applied for entry into Baguio after the Pasig City Hall emailed us our documents (health certificate and travel authority).

Once you have yours, you can sign up at the City Government of Baguio website to learn more about the requirements and triage locations or, if you already know what you need, register. Registration takes only a few minutes and brings you to a page where you can upload all of your requirements. Note that unlike with Pasig, you should not email your requirements to the Baguio LGU. Use the website unless an employee contacts you and instructs you otherwise.

After creating your account, you can go to your dashboard and start a New Registration from the ACTIONS menu in the lower right. The first thing you will be asked is when you plan on travelling. The date you choose won’t necessarily be the date you are allowed to travel. If you have time-sensitive plans, register and upload your complete documents at least three days before your target date.

Next, you will need to enter your travel details: purpose of travel, point of origin, details about the vehicle you’ll use, and a contact person in Baguio.

In the following steps, you’ll provide the details of your exact destination in Baguio and personal information about yourself, and disclose whether you have recently lived, worked, or traveled outside of the Philippines.

Lastly, you will upload your health certificate, travel pass, and any additional documents the city requires.

Don’t forget your password – you’re going to need it to log in again and check on the status of your application. Turn the ringer on on your phone, too, because a City Hall employee will call you to confirm your details and possibly ask further questions.

Keep checking your dashboard. When your status updates to “For Triage“, you’re ready to leave. Print out copies of your documents and have them within reach, because you’ll have to go through a few checkpoints on your way up the mountains.

When you enter the city, you’ll be asked to show your documents and sign a log book. After this (and potentially some waiting time – we were parked on the side of the road for more than an hour) local police will escort you to the triage center. You’ll sign another log book then wait to be interviewed by a health worker, who will guide you through the next steps. These will depend on your circumstances – you may need to have some tests done, or self-quarantine, or both.

We reported our arrival to our Barangay Hall. Per their instructions, we then did two weeks of quarantine at home, all while monitoring our temperatures and symptoms. We had planned on reporting back to the Barangay Hall on our 15th day here, but found out that the employees were under quarantine themselves as a precaution.

All that said, I didn’t write this down for tourists hoping to find a loophole in the guidelines and take a vacation in Baguio. The city is due to reopen to tourists soon, albeit with restrictions, but it’s important to understand that you will not find Baguio as you did last time you came up for a fun, chill weekend. Everyone is expected to wear face masks outside of their homes, at a minimum, and most establishments won’t let you in unless you have one, plus a face shield as well.

You will have far fewer choices for dining and entertainment. You will line up to enter shops, restaurants, and even the newly opened veranda at the mall. And you will encounter locals who are as pissed off with irresponsible tourists as they have ever been, if not even more so.

People who either live or work in Baguio are the top priority for reentry. So if you’re planning a visit for leisure, you will be expected to comply with all of the requirements and accept all of the restrictions. If you can’t do that – stay where you are.

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