A Guide for Filipinos or Foreign Spouses Returning to the Philippines
A guide to returning OFWs and NON OFWs

A Guide for Filipinos or Foreign Spouses Returning to the Philippines

So, I will be sharing my husband’s experience of returning home in the Philippines.

This blog could be a guide for you if you or your loved one is planning to come back home this time. However, be reminded that protocols and rules here can change in the blink of an eye. This is only our story and can be different from yours.

I will write in a mixture of English and Tagalog so it can be easily understood for many.

For the past three months, if you will see my Facebook Inbox, puro ahensiya ng gobyerno ang makikita mong kausap ko. I have been consistently sending messages and inquiries to the Department of Health, Department of Tourism, Department of Transportation, Department of Foreign Affairs, Bureau of Immigration, Bureau of Quarantine, Philippine Coast Guard, Manila Airport, Philippine National Police, and Local Government Units. Ginawa ko ito araw araw. At halos araw araw din nagbabago ang mga patakaran ng bawat ahensiya. Kaya nakaka-frustrate.

With my husband’s kind of job, hindi ako sanay na wala siya samin ng mahigit dalawang buwan. But this time, he was away for four months! – In a foreign place, no flights, isolated. Can you imagine the emotional and mental torture? But I guess there are more frustrating stories out there and we still consider ourselves lucky.

Anyhow here’s what we did:

  1. Book a flight. As you all know, it is very difficult to get flights these days, not to mention how expensive tickets are. So after canceled flights. We finally got one which had transit to another country, a long cut as I said. It was a lot of stress but at least the final flight is to the Philippines. Kahit naka book kana, huwag ku muna magdiwang hanggat hindi ka nakasakay sa airplane.

Upon arrival at NAIA, Manila…

2. Get off the Plane. Line up. Fill out Forms. Orientations.

  • There is a line for OFWs and NON-OFWs. Obviously husband is Non-Filipino so he is in the line of NON OFWs. Non OFWs are the Filipino tourists and foreigners with Filipino spouses
  • Show the yellow form (medical declaration) that you filled out in the plane
  • Line up and Go to a room to fill out other forms

– Form 1 is from Red cross

– Form 2 is to do with Swab Testing

– Form 3 is a declaration that you will not leave the quarantine area or else they will take legal actions.

  • In the same room, The Coast Guard staff did a talk and orientation to people about Quarantine Policies. This is where you are also asked to have a booking for your accommodation while waiting for the test results. The personnel entertained questions but he sounded a little confused.

☐ In our case, husband did not pre-book a hotel accommodation because the policy before his flight was to book upon arrival. But on the date of his arrival, a new policy was announced that an arriving person can already have a pre-booked hotel room in Manila. Department of Tourism in Manila posts a list of accredited hotels as Quarantine places. Lahat ng OFWs ay libre. Walang babayaran mula sa swab tests, transfer from NAIA to hotel at ang pagkain sa araw araw.

☐ Non-OFWs do not pay for swab tests too, but accommodation and food are their own expense.

☐ Coast guards in that small room were a bit confusing. Pa-iba iba ng instruction na sinasagot sa asawa ko tuwing nagtatanong ng malinaw na information. Siguro dahil na rin sa language barrier.

☐ Sa mga may naka pre-book, may staff na nag che-check and verify.

☐ For those who haven’t booked yet, only one lady was showing the list of hotels and assisting the people. So a bit of chaos.Line up for SWAB TESTING. A separate line for OFWs and NON-OFWs. My husband suggests taking a photo of Bar Code / Reference Number of your Test Form, just in case, they say they lose it.

After the swab test, line up to the Immigration for clearance.

Pick your bags up and proceed to exit to be transferred to your booked accommodation. When my husband rang the hotel he booked, the hotel staff instructed him to just get a taxi. However, coast guards did not allow this because there was no staff available to escort. So he had to be dropped off by the Department of Transportation’s bus service. Meron ulit form dito to sign that declares you will not leave the quarantine facility until you get your results.

3. Wait for your Results in your Quarantine facility.

While waiting,

a. Follow Philippine Coast Guard Facebook page because they post a Master list of people with negative results there daily. Kapag nakita po na ang pangalan mo sa list, screen shot it and show hotel management. And then they will give you clearance to leave. Pwedeng i-organize ng hotel ang pagpunta mo ng PITX (Paranaque Integrated Terminal Exchange). Sa PITX ni re-release ang Quarantine Certificate which you will show to all checkpoints to go home.

b. Register in quarantinecertificate.com. You can also download your certificate here. They honor this too and saves you from going to PITX. Kaya lang, normally there is a delay here.

In my husband’s case, I got his results differently. Let me share with you the story. On the 3rd day of his stay at the hotel, he kept on complaining to me about the hotel I suggested. Sa Midus Hotel and Casino siya nag book. I took the suggestion of a lady I met on Facebook. Because it was a 4-Star hotel and it was safe because no contact with other people is allowed. By the way, it costs 4,500 pesos per night with 3 packed meals delivered to your door – Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. The downside is that no Beers allowed even if the Liquor ban is already lifted, and no food delivery from outside is allowed. This information was only given when he was already in the room, not before he booked it over the phone. The food that the hotel delivered was always cold and small serving. There was no laundry service, which did not bother us. Customer service was not too bad, they were listening to all his complains, however, there are just protocols and stuffs that are not logical. Paying the money for a 4-star hotel made us expect for a great service or food but it was disappointing. Coffee requested was not even brewed, only a 3-in-1 coffee. We understand that the staffs are only following instructions from the management, but it is just not fair. I have confirmed that other hotels that serve as quarantine facilities are allowing guests to go out to buy food.

By the way, He arrived at NAIA on the 30th of May at 10pm and finished all the processed and got in the hotel at around 3-4am on 31st of May. So technically, 2nd of June was his 2nd day and this is what I did… After hearing all his complaints about the hotel, I just had an instinct to make a follow up with his results. I know it is too early since other people have been staying in Manila for weeks and weeks. Also, they informed people that results are released in 5 to 7 days. But I just tried. I rang the Philippine Coast Guard and they said there is no result yet. I rang 

Bureau of Quarantine and they said I should just wait for online results. But I could not wait! I was lucky the lady I talked to was friendly and helpful. It was difficult but i tried hard. Nakiusap ako ng mahinahon kung maaring i-manually check ang pangalan ng asawa ko sa system. And there it is! Sabi nya okay po maam, may negative result na pero hindi pa ito posted. Nakiusap ako kung pwede bang I-email nalang sa akin ang Certificate and she said okay after kong makiusap ng makiusap. To sum up, I got the certificate through my email and this is what hubby showed to the hotel people and served as Travel Pass to come home here in Angeles City as well. But I gotta warn you, it took me all day working on this. I guess 30 phone call trials. Hindi sila agad nakaka sagot, Mahirap tumawag, sa totoo lang. But I guess my persistence and prayers made way.

So finally, at 6pm on June 2, my husband started traveling from Midas Hotel Manila, with the help and coordination of the hotel and Department of Tourism’s accredited transport company. He got home safe and sound at 8pm same night.

Truly, God moves in mysterious ways.

I hope this somehow helps, kabayan. Stay safe and God bless!

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Thank you for your sharing Story…
    Romans 8:28
    [28]And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
    Lahat ng bagay may dahilan din, lalo na’t sa pandemic nato marami tayong narerealize na mahalaga parin ang ating panananampalataya na syang bahala sa lahat, Praise God ur husband was safely Landed home. Na sa million na tao dito sa Mundo hindi Lang nakakaranas ng sakit or matitinding Pangangailangan. Salamat din sa Panginoon kumpleto ulit kayo at mararami tayong Mas higit pang ipasalamat pa sa Dios,
    1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
    [16]Rejoice evermore.
    Mangagalak kayong lagi;
    [17]Pray without ceasing.
    Magsipanalangin kayong walang patid;
    [18]In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
    Sa lahat ng mga bagay ay magpasalamat kayo; sapagka’t ito ang kalooban ng Dios kay Cristo tungkol sa inyo.
    May Godbless bless you and family. Keep safe🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻💕👨‍👩‍👦

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