The current global pandemic made a huge impact worldwide and forced us all to embrace what we now called the new normal. Several domestic and international travel restrictions have been made for the past year, resulting in the travel industry’s nosedive. While many borders have been closed and self-quarantine has become a standard measure to lessen the risk of Covid-19, many countries today are starting to see the light amidst the pandemic. Now that the cases are continuously dropping in many parts of the world, most travel restrictions were finally lifted. This may also be a perfect time for you to reconsider your travel plans abroad.
The Philippines, for instance, is starting to open its borders to international or foreign visitors. Of course, just like most countries today, major airlines and the Philippine government have issued precautionary measures, mandatory protocols, and safety requirements for travelers. If you are a foreign national who wishes to visit the country to witness the crystal-clear beaches of Boracay or Palawan, it is important to know which entry condition applies to you.
Visa Requirements in the Philippines
Luckily, more than 150 countries are no longer required to apply for a visa to enter the country. It is important to note that nationals of countries that have diplomatic relations with the Philippines are generally allowed to enter the country without securing a temporary visitor’s visa. Travelers from countries like the United Kingdom, United States of America, South Korea, Canada, Japan, and most of the neighboring South East Asian countries like Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand are allowed to enter the country visa-free for a maximum of thirty days.
Travelers from the countries like China, India, and Lebanon are required to apply for a visa which allows them to visit the country and stay for a maximum of 60 days. The citizens of Taiwan, on the other hand, may enter the country by applying for Philippines eTA or Electronic Travel Authorization. If you check the Philippine Page on ByeVisa, you will see how exactly this online application works for foreign nationals coming from Taiwan.
According to ByeVisa, an online visa service, applying for Philippines eTA is relatively faster and more convenient than the standard Philippine Visa application. This electronic document is valid for 1 month from the date of entry into the Philippines and it allows Multiple Entries into the country, providing nationals from Taiwan a great amount of time to explore the archipelago.
The Philippines is an archipelago with over 7600 islands to explore. Each island offers different beauty and absolutely worth a visit. For foreign nationals, however, 30 days will not be enough to explore the majority of the best tourist destinations in the country. Cebu of the Visayas alone offers so many amazing places to explore. If a foreign national from a visa-exempt country wants to stay a little bit longer, they may have to visit the nearest Immigration Office to apply for an initial extension which is good for another 29 days (with fees applied).
Filipinos’ well-known hospitality is truly overwhelming. They will make your vacation feels like you are always at home. If the additional 29 days are still not enough, Philippine Immigration is generous enough to provide you with a lengthier extension. You have to show up at an office of the Bureau of Immigration a couple of days before your Visa Waiver expires. This is where regular Visa Extention begins where you can get a 1 to 6 months visa extension. You will also be asked to get an ACR-I card (Alien Certificate of Registration) which also allows foreign nationals to open a bank account, register a vehicle and obtain a driver’s license without being a permanent resident.
Tourist Spots in the Philippines that Should Not Be Missed!
Whether you are a beach bum or an adventure seeker, the Philippines has some of the best tourist destinations to visit. Listed below are some of the well-known tourist spots in the country that you should not miss!
Manila –Manila is the Philippines ‘ capital city and the country’s commercial center. Here, you’ll find some of the largest malls in Asia and in the world. The local government is currently in the full force of rehabilitating the city and attempting to bring the city back to its former glory. Some of the iconic places to visit in Manila include Binondo (the oldest Chinatown in the world), the historic Intramuros (walled city), Luneta Park, and the National Museums.
Batanes – Batanes is the northernmost province in the country, and also the smallest land area. Despite the size, the province welcomes tourists with majestic scenery. Apart from the friendly locals, the province is also known for its historical sites and landmarks from the Spanish era and World War II. A perfect place to unwind.
Palawan – Palawan will not be named multiple times by various International travel magazines as the world’s best islands for no reason. From the clear blue-green waters of lagoons and colorful reefs to pristine white beaches, Palawan is definitely a definition of paradise. Tourists should not miss visiting El Nido, Coron, and the underground caves of Puerto Prinsesa.
Boracay – The world’s renowned Boracay is definitely a place not to miss! The popular powdery white sand, the crystal-clear water, the amazing nightlife, and a bunch of fun activities are the reasons why Boracay is always included on top of the world’s best beaches!
Siargao – If you are into surfing, Siargao is definitely the perfect place for you. Interestingly, aside from being the surfing capital of the country, Siargao is also known for its pristine white beaches, coconut woodlands, and probably the clearest waters you’ve ever seen. The island’s unspoiled beauty makes it an excellent tourist destination in the country.
Cebu – Cebu is a melting pot for food, arts, culture, religion, and island life in the Philippines. It is almost a paradise. With a mountainous spine and abundant rainforest, Cebu is home to an incredible number of spectacular waterfalls, pristine white beaches, and more. It is also a great diving destination where you get a close encounter with gigantic hammerhead and white tip sharks known to locals as “butanding”.
Davao City – Davao is another ideal tourist spot in the country that both beach bums and adventure seekers will enjoy. The province is the home of the country’s highest6 mountain and some of the most beautiful coral islands!
Embracing the New Normal
While most of the provinces and the aforementioned tourist destinations are now open to the public (both locals and tourists), safety protocols are still being observed. Wearing face masks and face shields is still mandatory as well as physical and social distancing. In observance of the covid-19 pandemic, tourists arriving in the Philippines are also required to hold a confirmed booking for at least 10 days in a “quarantine” hotel accredited by Tourism and Health Agencies, while they wait for their scheduled test and release of results.
Outbound and inbound travel restrictions are also subject to changes depending on the country’s current situation. Restrictions and rules may also vary especially in most virus-stricken countries. Those who wish to visit the country should be updated on the latest advisory from the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs.
While traveling abroad may look different in a number of ways now, the travel industry and tourism may still prosper by strictly embracing the new normal. As travelers, we must be responsible enough for our own safety. Follow the rules and the safety protocols, observe physical and social distancing all the time and make sure to wear your face masks at all costs.