Ilocos Sur has reopened to visitors from Luzon to restart its tourism industry after an eight-month long pause brought about by the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Department of Tourism said Friday.
Prior to this, the province initially accepted tourists from Baguio, La Union, Pangasinan, Ilocos Sur, and Ilocos Norte only.
If you're missing the heritage city of Vigan with its cobblestone streets and Ilocos Sur's popular diving spots, here's a guide detailing what you need to know before heading out.
Here are the guidelines for visiting Ilocos Sur:
Who can go?
Only pre-booked or pre-arranged tours via travel agents accredited by the Department of Tourism will be allowed. No walk-ins will be accepted.
There is no age restriction, but those 60 years of age and above with existing high-risk health conditions and comorbidities are discouraged from going.
Only 50 tourists may be allowed in Ilocos Sur at one time to prevent crowding.
Which places will reopen?
- Ilocos Sur Adventure Zone
- Caniaw Heritage and Forest Park
- Vitalis Villas
- Santiago Cove
- Syquia Manson
- Pinakbet Farm
- Baluarte Zoo
- Iethus Beach Resort
- Nuestra Señora De La Asuncion Church
- Pinsal Falls
- Heritage Village, Calle Crisolog
- Ilocos Sur Dancing Fountain
- Bakaan Farm
- Moro Watch Tower
- Hidden Garden
- Balay Meztizo
- Cariño House
- Scuba Diving and Free Diving Sites
- San Esteban - Brgy. Apatot and Brgy. Baleria
- Sta Maria - Brgy. Suso
- Narvacan - Brgy. Sulvec
- Santa - Brgy. Magsaysay
- Caoayan - Brgy. Caparacadan
- Vigan - Brgy. San Pedro
- Sto. Domingo - Brgy. Sived
- Magsingal - Brgy. Alangan/Puro
- San Juan - Outer Reef
- Cabugao - Brgy. Sabang
What about stopovers?
Pitstops will be allowed only at the following establishments:
- LV & JV Pasalubong (along National Highway, Brgy. Bagar, Candon City)
- Marsha's Delicacies (along National Highway, Brgy. Cabalangan, Bantay)
- Petron (along National Highway, Brgy. San Pablo, Sto. Domingo)
- San Esteban Tourism and Youth Development Center (Brgy. Bateria, San Esteban)
What do I need to show at checkpoints?
Tourists will have to present the following at border checkpoints before being allowed pssage:
- Saved digital e-copy or printed hardcopy of the issued SafePass QR Code
- Negative RT-PCR test result dated within 48 hours from the release as issued by accredited testing centers
- Confirmed itinerary issued by DOT-accredited tourand travel agents
- Government-issued ID, preferably passport, and school ID or legal guardian's ID for minors
- Accommodation booking reciept
What happens after the checkpoint?
Travellers must proceed to the designated triage area and present their SafePass QR Code along with the documents. The triage areas are open from Monday to Sunday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. only.
Health declaration forms must be filled and tourists must undergo an antigen test before entry
- If the antigen test is positive, the tourist, along with their companions, will be denied entry to Ilocos Sur and must return to their place of origin
- If the antigen test is negative, the result shall be valid for a three-day itinerary only
- If the tourist wishes to stay for more than 3 days in the province, another antigen test must be conducted on the 4th day, which will be valid for another 3 days
- If the tourist underwent an antigen test in Laoag International Airport on the same say of entry to Ilocos Sur and yielded a negative result, no test shall be required at the Sinait border anymore
- the tourist must have gone to the border directly from the airport with no pitstops whatsoever
- Once cleared by the officer, tourists will be issued a triage card and allowed to proceed to their pre-booked accommodation
What to do when you arrive at your hotel or lodging facility
Upon arrival at the accommodation, the tourist take note of the following:
- No Triage Card, No Check In will be implemented whenever tourist goes in an out of the accommodation facility
- Temperature checks, disinfection, and other safety protocols must be done and observed upon returning from tourist spots and establishments
- Leaving the premises without coordination with tour operator, guide, or accommodation staff is prohibited
- The approved itinerary must be followed strictly
How will tourists be kept safe against the virus?
Accommodation establishments, restaurants, and tourist shops must comply with the guidelines of the DOT, Department of Health, and Department of Trade and Industry to ensure the safety of staff and guests.
Tourist hubs in the province are required to have DOT accreditation to operate, and the province must have adequate health care capacity.
Failure to comply with the provisions will be dealt with accordingly.
For more information, visit the Sure Ilocos Sur Facebook page.
Main image by Assy Gerez from Unsplash.