It’s been what, two or three years since the world has come to a halt. Feels like forever since the last time we’ve comfortable flown on an airplane to our dream destinations for some much-needed travel time after a stressful week or month in our lives. But the good news is, finally, the Philippines at present, as well as the rest of the world is slowly seeing the light at the end of the tunnel with this pandemic. Many Filipino are eager to start planning travel after receiving their full COVID-19 vaccine and booster shots even more that there are countries now open for fully vaccinated Filipinos. Where typically, those countries that are open to international visitors are now most likely to have fewer entry requirements for those who are fully vaccinated.
Countries now open for fully vaccinated Filipinos such as Greece and Iceland have welcomed vaccinated travelers earlier while other countries like Australia and Morocco, are just beginning to reopen. However, don’t let your guard down immediately, because the Covid-19 continues to emerge and progress as many more deadly variants are being discovered by scientists. So for now, still avoid traveling to countries with high infection rates, low vaccination rates, and overwhelmed medical infrastructure– these are the factors that can fluctuate rapidly and cause the spread of the virus.
Nonetheless, despite the threats brought by the COVID-19, it’s comforting to know that we should not stop enjoying our lives and traveling to have a breather, thanks to countless vaccinations and booster shots we have to take. Let’s hope that COVID-19 will soon be cured and gone forever. But for now, live life today and start jet-setting off to our dream destinations.
Below are some countries that are accepting Philippine passport holders that are fully vaccinated.
Australia is one of the countries now open for fully vaccinated Filipinos. Aside from presenting proof of vaccination, travelers must also have a negative Polymerase Chain Reaction widely known as a PCR test result within three days of departure or a rapid antigen test within 24 hours. Visitors must complete truthfully a digital passenger declaration form. However, all travelers still must meet the different requirements required by individual Australian states and territories. For instance, New South Wales, the state where you can find Sydney, has an additional requirement that any vaccinated international travelers must go straight to their lodging place, then take a rapid self-test, and await a negative result before moving around the country freely. Another example state is Victoria, which includes Melbourne, which requires that within 24 hours upon arrival, vaccinated international travelers must take a rapid or antigen test, then go to their hotel and isolate while waiting for a negative result. After obtaining a negative result of a rapid or antigen test, travelers must at all times carry proof of that negative test result and even a proof of vaccination for an entire week upon arrival. Finally, vaccinated foreign travelers can once again visit Australia.
2. The Maldives
The Maldives is one of the countries now open for fully vaccinated Filipinos. The Maldives, known for its turquoise lagoons and dubbed the “the tropical paradise” because of its natural beauty, is now open to Filipino travelers. This low-lying island country in the north-central Indian Ocean, with each island that has its pure white sandy beaches, is now open to visitors from all countries as long as they can show proof of a negative Covid test taken at least within four days upon their arrival. Travelers can now finally enjoy the country’s pristine and artistic villas on stilts, especially for couples who are looking for seclusion and adventurers to explore the depths of the sea on scuba diving and snorkeling excursion.
Travelers in the Maldives can relax and unwind at one of its island spas and every guest should certainly visit and spend a wonderful day exploring the Maldivian capital of Malé. The accommodations in this country are also superb and spectacular. If you want an underwater hotel or overwater bungalows, just in case a walk to the beach is too much effort for you, they have it all even an incredibly stunning resort, you have many options to choose from.
Vaccinated travelers no longer need to undergo quarantine on this beautiful island as long as they can present their vaccination card, a medical certificate, and a negative RT-PCR test result, unequivocally stating the name and address of the laboratory, as well as the date of the sample taken, regardless of their vaccination status, as long as taken no more than four days prior to their arrival. The negative RT-PCR test result must be attached to the Traveler Health Declaration form and must be submitted online within 24 hours prior to arrival in the country. Moreover, travelers are mandated to download the national contact tracing app, TraceEkee, and use it during their journey and stay in the Maldives. This Traveller Health Declaration is needed for all inbound travelers before their flight departure. Keep in mind that your resort will require some rules like a temperature check on arrival, and masks to be worn indoors at all times. You should always bring your masks and hand sanitizer with you to avoid spending while on the island chain because some things can get pricey on the island.
As of February of this year, Maldives has reported over 161,000 coronavirus cases and 289 deaths. It remained relatively low though, since the surge in January due to the emergence of the Omicron variant, the numbers since then have decreased. At least 79% of the population in the Maldives has been already vaccinated.
Switzerland is one of the countries now open for fully vaccinated Filipinos. Moreover, Switzerland is the most recent European country to announce the relaxing and ease of all travel restrictions, following the reports that a high level of immunity among the population is achieved, thereby making it low risk for the healthcare system to be overburdened in spite of the high COVID-19 cases. This only means that those visitors entering the country no longer need to present any proof of vaccination, recovery, or a negative test result.
Moreover, visitors are no longer required to show any COVID-19 certificate to enter bars, restaurants, theaters, concert halls, and other venues. Travelers who enter the country by plane or long-distance bus are also no longer required to fill out an entry form (SwissPLF). Another classic COVID-19 requirement is of wearing masks at all times, but in Switzerland, it is no longer required in order to enter shops, restaurants, cultural venues, and other public settings and events. However, still, a person needs to isolate in case of a positive COVID-19 test result. Also, there is now no attendance limit on large gatherings. It is as if now Switzerland is back in pre-pandemic times!
Visit Switzerland if you want completely different scenery, the Swiss Alps might just be for you. The country is known for its charming villages, fresh mountain breeze, rich forests, and delicious cheeses and chocolates.
4. The Bahamas
The Bahamas is one of the countries now open for fully vaccinated Filipinos. The beautiful island country of the Bahamas is found within the Caribbean. The Bahamas is definitely a paradise here on earth. It has a lot of small islands filled with clear oceans and lush greeneries to connect with. Fully vaccinated travelers from other countries are required to obtain a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than three days (72 hours) prior to the date of arrival to The Bahamas. However, those traveling inter-island or domestic within The Bahamas from New Providence (Nassau), Paradise Island, or Grand Bahama Island (Freeport), are no longer required to secure a COVID-19 test prior to the date of travel. Moreover, aside from a negative test result from COVID-19, travelers are required to apply for a Bahamas Travel Health Visa at travel.gov.bs. But this is not required for inter-island travel within The Bahamas. Furthermore, the negative COVID-19 test result is required to be uploaded by the visitors to the Travel Health Visa website also a government-issued vaccine record card, if available or any proof of vaccination confirming they have passed the two-week immunity period. But the good news is that there are currently no quarantine requirements for those traveling with approved Bahamas Travel Health Visas. So make sure to get your Bahamas Travel Health Visa approved immediately for a hassle-free staycation on this island.
Moreover, visitors are required to avail COVID-19 health insurance that covers them for the entire duration of their stay in The Bahamas, up to one (1) month, as part of the Bahamas Travel Health Visa application, to ensure that they can pay in case they will be infected by COVID-19 while on the island country. Don’t worry, the cost of insurance is already included in the Bahamas Travel Health Visa application fee once you sign up. The Bahamas Travel Health Visa applications can take up to 24 hours or one day to process so make sure to accomplish it on time and be completed with adequate lead time. Furthermore, the Bahamas Travel Health Visa can cost depending on the length of stay and vaccination status of the traveler.
Travelers are allowed to move about and explore the beauty and vibrant culture of The Bahamas outside of their hotel or other accommodations, notwithstanding any public health restrictions that may be imposed from time to time by the government. COVID-19 situations may be different on each of the 16 islands, hence expect different or increased restrictions for businesses, restaurants, beaches, and attractions. Hence, visitors are encouraged to check the status of their island destination before visiting them by checking the website, “Know Before You Go”, an interactive island guide.
The most basic public health protocol is to wear a mask at all times is still applicable in the Bahamas. All visitors are still required to wear a face mask at all times, in circumstances such as when entering and transiting air and sea terminals, when traveling in a taxi, when entering any establishment, or while checking into a hotel. Although, face masks are not mandatory while on the beach they must be worn in all other public spaces that surround the beach and while entering and exiting the beach. Social distancing is also mandatory on the beach.
Sunsets on the island are just beyond our wildest dreams. In sum, one must bring his or her vaccination card and have a negative RT-PCR or antigen test to be taken 72 hours prior to flight for an individual to enjoy the beautiful island of the Bahamas.
Singapore is also one of the countries now open for fully vaccinated Filipinos without the need to quarantine before one can enter their country. Travelers are, however, required to obtain a travel pass by providing proof of vaccination and other personal information before entering the country. A negative PCR test result within 48 hours of flight is still needed and then a separate self-test again must be done within 24 hours of arrival and upload the results online. A contact-tracing app is also required to be downloaded by the traveler upon arrival and also must pay insurance with a minimum of $30,000 worth of COVID-19-related medical coverage.
As much as traveling abroad is fun, still don’t forget to visit some of our local destinations to help the tourist industry of the Philippines to get back on its feet, especially the local residents. For instance, try to visit the Central Luzon. The region consists of seven (7) provinces: Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, and Zambales. Each of the said provinces offers a unique experience to their guests, you can enjoy scuba diving, trekking, birdwatching, surfing, and food tripping.
Read more in this article from BRIA Homes to start your local adventure in Central Luzon– CLLEX to Boost Eco-Tourism in Central Luzon. For additional information, you may check this article from BRIA Homes to know more about the different road projects by the government making your traveling life a lot easier– Infrastructure Projects Bring Provinces Closer to Metro Manila.