Travel in the time of COVID

Last weekend, I tried to contact St Luke’s Medical Center, BGC to ask about their PCR test. Two of their published mobile numbers never got back to me, so I called their landline. The operator who picked up my call informed me that no one can assist me in my queries because, “LUNCH BREAK.”  Seriously, yes I was told that. Oh well lol!

So I went to my airline website to extract the DOH link which contained details of  other accredited PCR testing centers throughout the country. I decided on Singapore Diagnostics– easy choice because they responded to my text message immediately and answered all my questions.

Monday: I paid for the test thru bank transfer, and scheduled my test before 9am. The lab is located in Legaspi Village. Old building, 4th floor. But clean, and very helpful staff!

By Monday midnight, I already received my results thru email. Singapore Diagnostics also issued me a physical travel certificate since my destination country required it– the PCR test result also needs to be printed out. I think to travel out of Manila, you need to have taken a PCR test with a negative result– that is mandatory.

Tuesday: I picked up the travel certificate from  Singapore Diagnostics. Also got my travel insurance (and my airline ticket) from CV Travel and Tours, and was all set. My flight was leaving before Tuesday midnight.

AT THE AIRPORT:
There were a lot of OFWs who were returning to work in the Middle East. At the airline counter, I was asked to fill out a health declaration form after asking to see my PCR test result. Make sure you also ask them for the Bureau of Immigration health declaration form and the departure card, both of which you need to fill out ahead of time.

After checking in, off to immigration. It was quite cold, surprisingly. Looong line though, and our fellow Filipinos, excited to leave the country again after months of lockdown, might have forgotten about social distancing haha.

Their excitement to leave was infectious and understandable 🙂 I felt like one of them!

The immigration officer also asked for the following things, so prepare to show him/ her these:
1. Negative PCR test result
2. Return ticket
3. Travel insurance
4. Travel permit by destination country, usually issued by the country’s interior ministry or embassy
5. Valid visa to destination

There is a secondary inspection after immigration, just to make sure they didn’t miss anything. I think it’s a desk specifically meant for OFWs, to see their work papers etc.

Xray machine area was a breeze. No hitches. I also made sure not to wear any metal accessories so I didn’t beep. They also didn’t ask passengers to remove shoes anymore (thank goodness).

The airline lounge was empty, just me in it! I boarded my flight after 30 minutes. Business class is not empty– there were probably about 5 of us in it. Economy class is more than half full. We were given a Hygiene Kit which contained a mask, gloves, hand sanitizer, and antibacterial wipes.

The pillows are also encased in plastic wrap 🙂

For good measure, I sprayed alcohol liberally on my seat and on the floor too haha. I almost suffocated because I inhaled the fumes haha!

Anyway that’s it for now, I’m just in my seat, waiting for the flight to take off.

Will update you all again once I make it to my destination 🙂 Hope this post was helpful! Ciao for now!

P.S. if you want the blow-by- blow video account of my travels, check out my Instagram Stories (@thebaghag). I have also saved the clips on my stories highlight reel entitled COVID TRAVEL 🙂

-The Bag Hag

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