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White sand beaches of Boracay

Where to Travel Now: Reopened Philippine Destinations for Domestic Travelers

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A girl enjoying island hopping in El Nido

IMPORTANT: The destinations featured in this article may have COVID-19 travel restrictions and requirements. Check our COVID-19 travel advisory page for details.

 

For adventurous souls, 2020 has been challenging. Hopping on planes and exploring towns feel like yesterday and forever at the same time. COVID-19 has definitely changed the normal way of life, not just for those with itchy feet — but for everyone. Prompts for staying at home and limiting movement meant little-to-no traveling in and out of the Philippines.



But as the “new normal” slowly eases in, several destinations in the country have started opening their borders and attractions once again. Here’s a list of some top destinations in the Philippines where domestic tourists can travel now (see the full list of destinations in our COVID-19 travel page):

Boracay

Aerial view of Willy's Rock in Boracay

With an immaculate 3km white sand beach stretch, glass-like azure waters, and a myriad of activities above land and on water, Boracay Island is undoubtedly the premier tourist destination in the Philippines. 

For those who think they were robbed of their summer time this year, fret no more because Boracay has opened up once again for travelers from all over the Philippines since October 1, 2020.



Only residents of areas under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) or Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) are allowed though and must obtain a negative RT-PCR test result taken not earlier than 72 hours before visiting the island. No age restrictions are put in place, so this destination is ideal for families to have that long-awaited vacation. Check the full list of requirements in our Boracay guide.

While there are designated areas only for swimming from 6 AM to 6 PM at White Beach, and a reduced capacity for watersports activities, just being able to visit Boracay is already worth it.



El Nido, Palawan

Beautiful isolated island in El Nido Palawan

Over the recent years, no “Best Islands in the World” list would be complete without including El Nido, Palawan. Visitors to this paradise kayak their way through stunning, turquoise lagoons; bask under the sun in its many unspoiled white sand beaches; or marvel in wonder at the sight of other-worldly, towering limestone karsts. An underwater adventure also awaits as El Nido’s waters are a treasure trove of diverse marine life.

Starting November 30, 2020, El Nido is once again open for local residents and domestic travelers from Manila. Entry to El Nido is limited to direct flights from Manila only.

Visitors must present a negative RT-PCR result taken at least 72 hours before arrival, a valid ID, round trip direct flights to El Nido, and confirmed bookings for both accommodations and El Nido tours with operators that are accredited by the Department of Tourism.

El Nido’s island hopping tours are now classified as the 7 Wonders of El Nido (from the former Tours A, B, C, & D) and can only be visited by a set maximum number of tourists per area and with accredited travel operators. Read the full list of travel requirements in our El Nido guide

Bohol

Colorful Loboc River Cruise in Bohol

A tiny island off Central Visayas packed with unlimited surprises and natural charm, Bohol is also one of the Philippines’ top tourist destinations. From the world-famous Chocolate Hills; the world’s smallest primate, the tarsier; Loboc river cruises; down to numerous refreshing waterfalls, there is no shortage of natural wonders and exciting activities to be enjoyed here.

Domestic travelers can now explore Bohol starting November 15, 2020, provided that they have a valid negative RT-PCR test result taken not earlier than 72 hours before arrival.



A confirmed hotel booking and completed online registration are some of the requirements to be obtained by travelers seeking to visit and enjoy Bohol’s attractions like beaches, rolling hills, and century-old churches in this new normal. Check the full list of requirements in our Bohol guide

Coron

View of the iconic Kayangan Lake in Coron Palawan

Equal parts idyllic and adventure-filled, Coron is a tropical paradise that is part of the country’s Last Frontier, Palawan. Imagine some of the cleanest lakes in the country, dazzling lagoons, and pockets of white sand beaches enveloped by dramatic limestone cliffs. That’s not all: beneath Coron’s glass-like waters are numerous World War II shipwrecks that have become some of the world’s best sites for wreck diving. 

Starting December 1, 2020, residents and travelers from around the Philippines — including foreigners currently in the country — can start exploring the charm and wonders of Coron again, as long as they are aged between 15-65 years old.

Aside from a mandatory negative RT-PCR result taken 48 to 72 hours prior to arrival, roundtrip flight tickets, pre-booking confirmation from DOT-accredited accommodations and Coron tours with DOT-accredited travel operators, and pre-registration at www.corontourism.ph for the health declaration form and QR code. Check out the full list of requirements in our Coron guide

Siargao

Aerial shot of the beautiful Cloud 9 in Siargao

The teardrop-shaped small island in Mindanao, Siargao, is known as the Surfing Capital of the Philippines and was recently named as the Best Island in the World. Aside from surfing spots like Cloud 9, Siargao is also blessed with stunning natural attractions like the Magpupungko Rock Pools, island hopping destinations like Daku Island, Naked Island, and Guyam Island, Sugba Lagoon, and more. 

Starting November 23. Siargao is open to residents and domestic tourists in the Philippines. Visitors must have a negative RT-PCR test or COVID-19 Saliva Test result taken 48 hours before arrival, a valid identification card, an e-Health pass, and a confirmed booking in an accommodation duly accredited by Department of Tourism (DOT) for at least 2 nights. All requirements must be sent to sdntourism@gmail.com. For the full list of requirements, check out or Siargao guide

Tagaytay

Beatiful view of Tagaytay from a hotel

Tagaytay is a favorite weekend retreat for most Manila residents because of its close proximity, cool weather, and panoramic views. travelers from other parts of the country also visit this destination to get a glimpse of the scenic Taal Volcano and Lake while enjoying a bowl of hot and flavorful Beef Bulalo. 

Since September 2020, Tagaytay has started to accept domestic tourists from the Philippines again, giving access to its top tourist attractions and famous dining spots overlooking gorgeous scenery.



A travel authority is mandatory to be presented by visitors from areas GCQ, Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), and Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ). Check the full list of requirements in our Tagaytay guide

Observing minimum health standards such as wearing masks and face shields, travelers can now enjoy Tagaytay’s famous tourist spots such as Picnic Grove, Sky Ranch, and People’s Park in the Sky.

Baguio 

People riding the boats in Burnham Lake in Baguio

Known as the Summer Capital of the Philippines, Baguio is frequented by travelers for its cold climate being located in highly-elevated mountains. There is also no shortage of activities to be enjoyed here, with its numerous public parks, well-maintained gardens, and nearby strawberry farms.

From October 2020, Baguio has opened up to domestic tourists from the Philippines. Mandatory for these visitors in Baguio is to have a QR-coded tourist pass (QTP) from visita.baguio.gov.ph upon arrival at the checkpoint border. Check the full list of requirements in our Baguio guide



Do-it-yourself tours are not allowed as of writing, so visitors must coordinate with DOT-accredited tour operators for official guided Baguio tours, including a visit to Baguio’s famous landmarks such as Burnham Park, Wright Park, and Mines View Park.

Ilocos 

Peaceful streets of Calle Crisologo at night

The region of Ilocos may be far up north, but travelers take long road trips (or a flight) to explore and immerse in its many natural wonders and historic landmarks. Ilocos Norte is famous for Pagudpud, a surf beach town, while Ilocos Sur is home to Vigan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the best-preserved Spanish colonial towns in the entire Asia.

From October 2020, Laoag City in Ilocos Norte is open to residents and domestic tourists from the Philippines as long as they have a SafePass QR code from ilocosnorte.ph, confirmed booking at a Department of Tourism (DOT) accredited accommodation, and valid identification card.

Guests from GCQ and MCGQ areas with high infection rate must present a valid negative RT-PCR test result taken not earlier than 72 hours prior to traveling. Ilocos Norte tours should be booked with DOT-accredited travel operators. For the full list of requirements, read our Laoag guide.

Vigan City in Ilocos Sur, on the other hand, is also open to residents and domestic tourists from the Philippines as long as they secure a negative RT-PCR test result issued within 72 hours prior to arrival, DOT accredited travel agent booking confirmation, valid identification card, and SafePass QR Code. Vigan tours can only be done through DOT-accredited travel and tour operators. Check out our Vigan guide for the full list of requirements. 

Batangas 

Sweeping view on top of a mountain  in Batangas

From ridge to reef, Batangas is a destination that does not disappoint when it comes to things to see and do. Only 100km or about 2-hour ride away from Metro Manila, this province is home to world-class diving sites, scenic mountain trails, and heritage sites that can all be visited in just a few days.



Batangas is open to all residents and domestic tourists in the Philippines, entering via South Luzon Expressway or Batangas pier. Those who wish to explore the dive sites of Anilao coming from GCQ and MGCQ areas must obtain a negative RT-PCR test result 48 hours before arrival in Batangas, a proof of reservation, valid, and medical clearance. Dive shops are operating on 50% capacity only. Read our Batangas guide for the full list of requirements. 

Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu

Mactan Shrine in Cebu on a sunny day

Lapu-Lapu City may well be the gateway for local and international travelers to enjoy the rest of Cebu as it is located in Mactan Island, where the Mactan-Cebu International Airport is situated. It is named after the native hero, Lapu-Lapu, believed to have defeated Portuguese colonizer Ferdinand Magellan. Mactan Island, in general, is home to some of Cebu’s most picturesque beaches, rich dive sites, and opulent resorts.

All domestic tourists from the Philippines can now visit Lapu-Lapu City as long as they pass the screening at the Mactan-Lapu-Lapu International Airport and/or other major checkpoints in the city. Check out the full list of Lapu-Lapu City travel requirements in our Mactan guide.

Bataan

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bataan

Bataan served a significant role during World War II, making it one of the go-to destinations in the country for those seeking to immerse themselves in history and memorial landmarks.

Bataan’s beaches are also famous for being marine turtle hatching areas, while its mountains offer stunning views during hike trips. Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, home to beautifully-restored 18th-century buildings, can also be found here.

Domestic tourists and residents under GCQ and MGCQ areas can now visit Bataan and its many historical landmarks and natural wonders. Visitors must provide a negative RT-PCR test result, travel authority, health certificate, valid ID, confirmed booking reservations, and a QR code (for non-residents). For the full list of requirements, check out our Bataan guide

Subic

Lighthouse resort in Subic

The Subic Special Economic and Freeport Zone, or simply known as Subic Bay or Subic, covers portions of Olongapo City and the towns of Subic in Zambales, and Morong and Hermosa in Bataan.

While it is known for its maritime services and logistics industry, Subic also has several ecotourism activities including treks and jungle tours, as well as adventure parks and dive spots. It is also home to many beach resorts, perfect for a relaxing weekend getaway. 

Subic is open to all travelers coming from MGCQ and GCQ areas. For those coming MGCQ areas and are planning to stay less than 96, hours, a proposed itinerary copy is required. Visitors from GCQ areas must present a health certificate, confirmed pre-booking of hotel, and proposed itinerary copy.

If visitors to Subic are planning to stay more than 96 hours, a confirmed hotel pre-booking, RT-PCR negative test result, and proposed itinerary are required from those coming from MGCQ areas. For those coming from GCQ areas, all those requirements apply as well as a health certificate from private or public doctors.

Clark

Parade grounds in Clark Pampanga

Home to Clark International Airport and having close proximity to Manila, Clark has become one of the busiest gateways to the country. It is also an important economic zone and emerging tourist destination in the Philippines where visitors can enjoy historical landmarks, specialty outlet shops, and some of the best local cuisine. Clark Freeport Zone is also where the annual Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta has been held for many years.

Guests traveling to Clark are required to present a negative RT-PCR test upon check-in, travel authority issued by the Philippine National Police, and a medical certificate issued by a government physician. Visitors coming from areas under GCQ are required to complete a Health Declaration Form.

Open to all visitors in Clark include DECA Wake Park, Clark Nature Park, Clark Parade Ground, and PAGCOR Mimosa Casino Filipino, among others.

Pampanga

Parade grounds in Clark Pampanga

Known as the Culinary Capital of the Philippines, Pampanga is every food-lover’s dream destination when traveling around the Philippines. One must try the sisig — a flavorful dish made of chopped pork ears, cheeks, and liver, seasoned with onions and chili peppers — at Aling Lucing’s. Delicious, authentic Kapampangan dishes can be sampled at Matam-ih restaurant. Explore Mt. Arayat and the Candaba Swamps and Wild Duck & Birds Sanctuary when in Pampanga.

The province is already open to all travelers with advance booking in places such as Beverly Place Golf Club, Pradera Verde Golf & Country Club. Bacolor Church is only open to visitors from areas under MGCQ, while Sta. Rita Eco Park is open to travelers coming from Region III.

Tarlac

Monasterio de Tarlac in Tarlac City

While not yet as established in the tourism sector of the Philippines, Tarlac holds a lot of potential given its many adventure parks, museums, hiking trails, historical and religious landmarks, and culinary destinations. It is also around 130km away from Metro Manila, making it easily accessible to go to and explore around.

Tarlac is already open to domestic tourists with complete travel requirements. The golf course of Luisita Golf & Country Club, Inc. and New Asia Golf and Spa Resort are open to all with pre-booking.

For visitors from outside the province going to Monasterio de Tarlac, Sitio Aguas Tala, Sitio Baag, Mt. Ngile, Jose V. Yap Sports Recreational Center, and San Jose, the following requirements need to be presented: travel documents including COVID shield/travel pass and health certificate. For those coming from risky areas, a rapid or swab test negative result is required.

Cavite

Statue of Aguinaldo in Kawit Cavite

Aside from being the “Historical Capital of the Philippines” given that the Philippine independence took place in this province, Cavite has grasslands and coasts that make it a worthwhile destination to check out while in the Philippines. It is also very close to the capital Manila.

Paniman Beach, Patungan Beach Cove, and Katungkulan Beach or “Boracay de Cavite” are some of the sand stretches that visitors can enjoy in Cavite. 

Cavite is open to domestic tourists already, regardless of residency and community quarantine level, as long health protocols required by the LGU are strictly observed and adhered to. 

Laguna

Pagsanjan Falls in Laguna

Road trips from Manila often lead to the nearby province of Laguna. Residents from the metro seek refuge in Laguna’s dense rainforests covered in lush vegetation and peppered with refreshing waterfalls, cold springs, and nature resorts.

It’s almost synonymous with both serenity and artistry, the latter owing to the craftsmanship of locals from Paete known for sculpture and wood carving.

Domestic tourists can now enjoy exploring the many wonders of Laguna as the province is already open for tourists. Destinations such as Pagsanjan Falls, Bulusukan Eco-Agro Park, Heritage Village, Mt. Pingas, Tayak Adventure Nature and Wildlife, and Villa Martha Picnic Grove accept both local residents and non-resident tourists.

Rizal

Paintings on display in Pinto Art MuseumPhoto by the Department of Tourism - Philippines

The province of Rizal is often overlooked as a prime tourist destination in the Philippines, but its many historical and cultural attractions, natural wonders, adventure trails, and shopping and dining options make it worth going to. Visitors and locals coming from Metro Manila should also take advantage of Rizal’s very close proximity.

Non-resident tourists may visit Rizal’s attractions such as 3 Springs Mountain Park, Atburan Falls, Bantayog ng mga Bayani, Mt. Mamara, and Pinto Art Gallery. All visitors must observe the minimum health standards required.

Rediscover the Philippines Responsibly

White sand beaches of Boracay

Although several destinations in the Philippines have already started opening up their borders and welcoming visitors, the journey and requirements might be challenging and time-consuming. But these protocols are in place to curb COVID-19 infection — so we can all see that day when we can hop on planes, boats, or buses, explore towns and scenic attractions, and create wonderful memories again.

Guide to the Philippines highly encourages thoughtful, intentional, and responsible tourism and traveling at this time of a pandemic. Check out our COVID-19 advisory page for more details about traveling in the Philippines during the community quarantine.