Is Foreign Travel Unlikely This Year? Philippines’ Tourism Chief Clarifies


As news reports have it, foreign travel is unlikely this year, but no definite restriction for Filipinos is in place.


If you’re one of those who felt tad hopeless after learning that “traveling is but a dream” — a quote attributed to Philippines’ Tourism Chief Bernadette Romulo-Puyat during a virtual hearing on April 30 — don’t accept it as a conclusive statement. The STAR clarified that their reported quote does not mean that there is a definite travel ban on international trips even after the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) is lifted.

So, will Filipinos be able to travel abroad after ECQ?

Not exactly. While it may be reassuring that the government does not have a post-quarantine policy against outbound travel, Secretary Puyat is still doubtful that Filipinos will be able to take international trips right away. She cited that other countries have temporary entry restrictions in place too, which is definitely one large factor to consider.

Travel will not revert to normal right away. Even if the ECQ has been lifted… international travel might not yet happen within the year pending the travel restrictions of other nations.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat clarifies her ‘foreign travel unlikely this year’ statement on The STAR

In other words, what the DOT is saying is: Filipinos may travel, but they also cannot because of other countries’ policies.

Foreign travel still unlikely this year due to entry bans

As of writing, Japan has the Philippines under their list of areas that are subject to entry ban. Taiwan and Singapore also have restrictions for foreigners who are traveling as a short-term visitor.

South Korea has temporarily suspended C-1 and C-3 visas that were issued on or before April 5, 2020, but their Embassy in Taguig plans to normalize visa issuance when the Philippine government lifts the community quarantine in Luzon and fully resumes operations for its agencies. Our team at WAUG will add the updates here.

If foreign travel is unlikely this year, what now?

Again, put it into perspective. Let’s pretend that, in June, most countries have already lift their travel ban, the Philippines allows you to go, and you badly want to travel, then, by all means, go. But if you feel like you’re not ready to fly yet, you can always choose to stay and visit places that are near you. Here are some recommendations:

1. Find nearby restaurants and things to do

If you’re from Cebu and want to do something exhilarating, you can try this parasailing tour or this activity that WAUG calls the ‘rollercoaster of the ocean’! Should you feel like dining out and having fresh seafood in a restaurant, you may book Ace Crab Restaurant here, which our Korean users absolutely love. (Book it with an extra discount when you sign up here!)

Miss eating out? Find dining experiences that you can book at a discount!

To easily find experiences and activities that are near you, you may use WAUG’s Map feature on our mobile app. (If you have not yet, be sure to sign up today to get your welcome discount coupon!)

2. Travel to places that are just hours away

Nothing can stop you from dreaming.” Credit: Department of Tourism

As you may have heard already, in South Korea, the government had already relaxed social distancing measures. In the past few days, airports have resumed operation, and a great number of locals flew to Jeju Island to spend the long weekend. My colleague at work went paragliding in Gyeonggi-do, while I went to Gwacheon, which is not too far from Seoul.

The reason why I’m bringing this up is because, the way I see it, South Korea’s ‘new normal’ can be the ‘new normal’ in the Philippines and in other countries too. (But don’t get me wrong; wearing of masks and precautionary hygiene practices are still observed here!) Going through life without being restricted to stay home is possible, as long as you take measures to protect your personal and the community’s health.

With that said, when conditions in your area permit and you feel comfortable to explore destinations like Boracay, Palawan, or Bohol, do so. You’ll help boost local tourism. Some activities that you can book on WAUG:

  1. Island Hopping Tour in El Nido
  2. Fireflies Tour in Puerto Princesa
  3. PADI Open Diving Course in Boracay
  4. Bluewater Panglao Resort in Bohol
  5. Clark O Kitchen in Pampanga

3. Wait ’til you’re clear to travel overseas

Of course, if your definition of traveling is going overseas, you can always wait for the time when your preferred destinations open up. Right now, it might be worthwhile to curate trip ideas and shortlist activities for your daily itinerary. WAUG has offerings in hundreds of destinations, so if you want to push that trip to Seoul, Osaka, Hanoi, Paris, New York, or Hong Kong, use our platform to help you discover some things to do.

안녕하세요. 와그 입니다.

Hello, we’re WAUG.

It’s unfortunate that we’re meeting under such difficult times, but we’d like you to know that we’re thinking of ways to improve your weekend and travel experience in the near future. We are adding activities that you can enjoy in your home city and are improving the safety conditions of our global activities. You can read more about WAUG here.


For more information regarding the ‘foreign travel unlikely this year’ story, read this news article on DOT chief clarifies report on foreign travel restrictions

Jump Back