Travelling to Ilocos Sur amid COVID-19? Here’s what you need to know

VIGAN CITY, Nov. 6 (PIA) - - The heritage province of Ilocos Sur will be opening its borders to Luzon residents this Nov. 15, however, the provincial tourism office clarifies that tourists’ trips won’t be as lax as their previous stays due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to provincial tourism officer Michael Ryan Astom, one of the main requirements for tourists to enter the province is for them to present a negative RT-PCR test result dated within 48 hours from release prior to travel and must undergo Antigen Test upon arrival at the border.

In visiting the province of Ilocos Sur, you have to undergo RT-PCR test prior to travel at since hindi natin sila mabantayan dahil required na kung wala pa iyong result mo is you have to undergo home quarantine, so we require them to take Antigen Test upon arrival at the border,” Astom said.

In addition, tourists must first book an itinerary they want to avail from a Department of Tourism (DOT)-accredited tour and travel agent/operator.

Lahat ng magpapa-book sa mga travel agencies ay kailangang dumaan sa provincial tourism office at sa mga municipal tourism offices. At sa border, kailangan nilang ipakita ang confirmation voucher coming from a DOT-accredited travel agency, confirmed hotel booking, saved digital e-copy or printed issued SafePass QR Code, and then undergo screening or triage,” Astom said.

According to Executive Order No. 41, series of 2020, issued by Gov. Ryan Luis V. Singson on Nov. 5, tourists/travelers who have relative/s in the province are not allowed to stay in the house of their relative/s.

Tourist/traveler shall book and stay only on a DOT-authorized hotel/resort/villa, the EO states.

Aside from these, tourists must present their identification cards, wear face masks and face shields, undergo thermal scanning, accomplish Health Declaration and Undertaking Form, then submit to Antigen Testing.

If the Antigen test at the border yields a positive result, the tourist and/or all of its companion within the same vehicle shall return to their place of origin and shall be denied entry to the province.

"Tourists will be accommodated by our tour guides. Gwardyado sila from their entry and exit at ang susundin lang nila ay iyong itinerary they have availed. Walang side trips and they are not allowed to go to the public markets and malls. Hindi very lax ang pagtanggap natin ng turista unlike before," he said.  

“We will only allow 50 tourists per day and their Antigen and RT-PCR tests are only valid for a three-day itinerary, if they wish to extend their vacation, they have to undergo another Antigen test on the fourth day and again it is only valid for another three-day stay,” he added.

Astom also assured that the provincial government is committed to the opening of the tourism industry in Luzon, so he said that individuals with high temperatures and/or feel sick, they will be brought to the nearest hospital and if a tourist tests positive for COVID-19, same as to a tourist who violates protocols, he or she will be transported out of the province immediately.

Kapag may nag-positive sa COVID-19 na turista, we will stop this,” he said.

If a tourist destination and hotel/restaurant breaches quarantine protocols, their accreditation to operate will be revoked and will face certain sanctions such as penalties.

Nevertheless, he guarantees that all the tourist spots including hotels and restaurants included in the itineraries are very much prepared for the opening of borders on November 15.

For the past few weeks, we’ve been going around the province to inspect ang mga tourist spots. We conducted ocular visits sa mga mago-open na tourist spots kung sila talaga ay ready na to open and if they are following the safety protocols issued by the IATF,” he said.

The opening of the borders of Ilocos Sur to Luzon residents is the start of the implementation of the expanded corridor travel plan in line with the Ridge and Reef Travel Corridor Plan of the province of Ilocos Sur, which aims to balance the economy and provide livelihood to those who have been affected by the lockdown especially in the tourism industry such as the kutcheros or carriage drivers, tour guides, and pasalubong centers.

"Kailangan po nating buksan ang borders natin sa mga turista dahil marami na tayong mga kababayan na nawalan ng trabaho dahil sa turismo lalo na mga kutchero, for eight months, wala silang kabuhayan. Para mabawasan ang paghihirap ng ating tourism sector kasi tayo ang hardly hit pero kahit ganun ay tayo ang unang babangon," Astom further added.  (JCR/JPD/JMQ, PIA Ilocos Sur) 

Source: Philippines Information Agency (

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