Siargao to welcome local tourists on November 23
This undated photo shows Cloud 9 surfing area in Siargao.
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Siargao to welcome local tourists on November 23
Rosette Adel (Philstar.com) - November 21, 2020 - 9:16am

MANILA, Philippines — The country’s Surfing Capital, Siargao, is the latest tourist destination to join the list of areas that are set to reopen to local tourists.

The Department of Tourism said the famous teardrop-shaped island in Surigao del Norte is ready to welcome local tourists on November 23, as confirmed by General Luna Mayor Cecilia Ruson through a local executive order.

It also said flights to Siargao will resume on December 1 with Sayak and Surigao airports reopening on the same day.

Travel requirements

The local government unit of Siargao has set minimum health and safety standards for arriving tourists which include COVID-19 testing, in compliance with IATF directives and local COVID management procedures.

The DOT said that tourists arriving in Surigao City or the Sayak Airport will be required to secure an e-Health Pass with valid ID; a five-day confirmed booking from an accommodation establishment with a Certificate of Authority to Operate (CAO) or Provisional Certificate of Authority to Operate (PCAO) from the DOT, and a round-trip ticket/travel details.

The Mandatory Usage of Quick Response (QR) Coded e-Health Pass in the whole province of Surigao del Norte was also implemented in Siargao after the island was placed under the relaxed modified general community quarantine early this month. One can register through this link: https://covid19.ssct.edu.ph/healthform.

As part of the government’s test-before-travel policy, travelers are also required to present negative real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction or RT-PCR swab confirmatory result taken within 48 hours from their point of origin.

“If RT-PCR is taken more than 48 hours of departure from point of origin, a negative antigen swab will be required on the day of arrival,” the DOT said.

The agency added that tourists from the province of Surigao del Norte will also be required of the following: e-Health Pass with valid ID; certificate from Barangay Captain that Traveler is not a close contact; confirmed booking from an accredited DOT-accommodation establishment.

Meanwhile, hotels and resorts are required business Permit; CAO from the DOT; E-Health System Registration; E-Health Pass or QR Code Reader and new normal Protocols approved by the Municipal Health Office before they can operate.

The DOT said curfew will also be enforced on the island from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m.

For the surfers, tourists

With the looming tourism reopening, local tourists can soon visit the island via Sayak Airport which is also near barangays Del Carmen and Heneral Luna to get a glimpse of the island’s world-class white sand beaches.

Aside from the surfing sites and powdery-white beaches, the island is also visited for its enchanting lagoons, natural rock and cave pools, romantic sunsets and laidback atmosphere.

Tourists are also fond of traveling to the island for the popular leisure activities it offers such as island hopping, kayaking, nature trekking, bird-watching and leisure swimming.

Puyat welcomed the reopening of the island as an "encouraging news."

"This is encouraging news for everyone who loves the sea, especially the surfers. As Siargao reopens to travelers, subject to minimum health and safety standards, the people of the island will regain their livelihood and share their paradise to our kababayans once more with the same level of hospitality they have always been known for," she said.

Last year, international and lifestyle magazine Condé Nast Traveler named the island as one of the “19 places to go to in 2019.” It also included Siargao in the roster of the world’s 20 best holiday destinations for 2020.

Siargao has been nominated in this year’s World Travel Awards under the “World’s Leading Island Destination 2020.”

BERNADETTE ROMULO-PUYAT DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM NEW NORMAL NOVEL CORONAVIRUS PHILIPPINE TOURISM SIARGAO
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