Travel and Tourism

Locked down in paradise: Foreigners in COVID-19 quarantine rave over Philippines' beauty

Locked down in paradise: Foreigners in COVID-19 quarantine rave over Philippines' beauty
Austrian travel vloggers Mike and Nelly of Making It Happen
Making It Happen via DOT/Released

MANILA, Philippines (As released) — As the Philippines sees millions of tourists every year, it’s inevitable that there would be some travelers who ended up getting stranded in the country as the government ordered a community quarantine to safeguard public health and curb the spread of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Nonetheless, something interesting happened — some foreign nationals chose to stick by the country, having been charmed by everything it has to offer. Here are some of their amazing stories of their time here.

El Nido, Palawan

El Nido

Chris and Carol, travelers from Brazil, first arrived in the Philippines back in February. They were out on a tour in the Gigantes Islands when they heard about the quarantine, which made them afraid at first — but they eventually thought it was a good decision to stop COVID-19 from spreading.

After deciding that it was better and safer for them to stay in the Philippines, they moved to El Nido, Palawan, for better amenities. It didn’t take long for them to fall in love with the place for its easy way of life and its breathtaking beauty.

“When I go outside just to get groceries, I know we can’t spend time on the beaches, but just going past it and looking, it’s like a reset button,” said Chris in their vlog that explains their decision. “Filipinos in general are just positive people, and that’s helping a lot.”

“We may feel a bit sad sometimes because we miss our families and friends, but at the same time we realized that we are lucky to be stuck in a place like the Philippines,” he continued.

“Even the very few people that we meet are being friendly and very nice to us. They’re always smiling even knowing that things are not so good out there, and we think that’s the mindset that we all must try to have.”

Related: WATCH: What to see, do in Honda Bay, Palawan

Palawan beach tops ‘Asia’s Top 50 Beaches’ list, ranks 3rd best beach worldwide


Even the kids can ride the waves in Siargao.
The STAR/Bernadette LS Cabuntog, file

Austrian travel vloggers Mike and Nelly found themselves stuck outside of Manila when the quarantine struck, so they decided to travel to Siargao, where they knew some people. While they admit that their situation is a little difficult, the generosity of Filipinos makes it easier for them to bear as they wait to be able to get back to the capital.

“The Filipino generosity never ceases to surprise me,” said Mike in this vlog entry where Filipino friends hosted them for a get-together on Mother’s Day. “I wish it were like that everywhere on planet Earth, but we are lucky to be in the situation that we can be here in the Philippines.”

“I am very, very grateful that we are able to experience [Filipinos’ hospitality],” added Nelly.

English family Jmayel, Sacha, and their daughter Story are also staying in Siargao, where they feel fortunate to be stuck in. They visited the Philippines as they were looking for a new home, a place to “feel content in”—and ended up in Siargao as a tourist destination right before the government announced a quarantine.

Siargao provides them a nice, quiet, and inspiring environment where their entire family can stay calm and relaxed while waiting out the quarantine. The family considers the pandemic as some sort of sign that they should be moving—if not to Siargao, then to somewhere in the Philippines in general.

“I love the way it feels on the island, just general day-to-day living. It has a very nice, relaxed vibe,” said Sacha in their vlog entry explaining their circumstances. “The people are wonderful, and the island attracts a good crowd.”

“We are safe & sheltered on what can only be described as a paradise & we are grateful for that each day,” said Jmayel.

Related: Siargao: Surf & so much more


A stroll along the Rizal Boulevard promenade at sunset is a great way to end your day in Dumaguete.
Charvee Tan/The STAR, file

American travel vlogger Carson Moody and his Filipina-Australian girlfriend Zowie Palliaer ended up spending their quarantine in Dumaguete City. Carson, who professes a genuine love for the Filipino culture and people with his extensive content immersing himself in it, manages to stay upbeat and positive despite the quarantine. You can check out a glimpse of their daily quarantine life in this vlog entry, which shows them taking it easy in Dumaguete.

“If you look closely, you’ll see raw, authentic Filipino life. A young girl by herself on a bamboo boat with ramshackle homes by the river. Forget the tourist spots. This is what the Philippines is all about, and moments like this will always be my favorite,” says Carson.

Related: Dumaguete’s got me!


Top Manila vloggers on a sunset cruise in Manila Bay before the lockdown.
Philstar.com/Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo, file

Manila-based British travel vloggers George and Lucy moved to the Philippines in 2019 to explore everything the country had to offer, but got caught up in the quarantine in March. The worst-case scenario hasn’t dampened their spirits and sentiments about the Philippines, as all its sites and experiences still occupy a special place in their hearts.

“We definitely wanna go back into our family afterwards, of course we do. It’s not gonna be a permanent move back to the UK, we still have [the Philippines],” said George in a recent vlog where a fan asked them about their current plans.

Related: WATCH: Top vloggers cruise Manila Bay to enjoy dry season amid COVID-19 scare


Dutch travel vlogger Rod, who documents his travels with Filipina wife Viv and their six kids found themselves stranded in Marabut, Samar as they were spending their vacation. With such a big family, they eventually needed some help to get by, which they were easily able to get from both generous neighbors and fans.

“Thank you so much for helping us out—seeing the deeds, instead of just words,” said Rod of compassionate Filipinos who sent money to help the family in their time of need in a recent vlog entry. “When we say we care for people, we should also show it in our deeds.”

Despite the less-than-ideal situations we’re all facing right now, if there’s anything these positive stories and these enthusiastic foreigners have shown us, it’s that we can always see the bright side of a worst-case scenario—and having breathtaking environments that the Philippines is well-known for and warm, welcoming Filipinos definitely help.

For the latest travel updates and advisories in relation to COVID-19, visit philippines.travel/safeph.

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