The first time we traveled during a pandemic was back in August and it was just within Cagayan de Oro City so the only documents that were required were barangay exit pass for our family, barangay clearance for me and Mahal, and health certificates for us three either from a doctor or the city health office certifying that we were in good health at that time. It was quite easy. This time around though, we were moving from Cagayan de Oro City in Northern Mindanao to Oslob, Cebu which is the southwestern part of Cebu Region. We traveled by land and then by boat from Cagayan de Oro port to Cebu port then traveled by land again for 3-4 hours outside of Cebu City.
The following documents were required of us (and I assume it would be the same for people traveling by boat between regions anywhere in the Philippines). Just keep in mind that once you have all these travel requirements, their validity will last for only 2 weeks. So you better have your travel itinerary ready and make sure you’re good to go!
1. Lung X-ray
This is to see if our lungs are clear of any disease. We got one for each of us. By the time the City Health Office checked our X-ray, we were told that Tuz, who is 5 years old, didn’t need to have his X-ray taken. We didn’t know this! Nobody told us! I kind of felt bad because HP Precision where we had ours, X-rayed him twice — one in front and one at his side. Darn it.
2. Barangay Certificate
This certified where we were residing and that we didn’t exhibit any Covid symptoms in the last 14 days.
3. Health Certificate
This one was issued to each of us after we gave the 2 above-requirements as an official declaration by the City Health Office that we are healthy.
4. Acceptance Letter from the Office of the Mayor of Your Destination
The Office of the Mayor of Oslob was only able to give us a signed acceptance letter after we sent screenshots of the first 3 requirements above. The acceptance letter stated all our complete names and that they are ready and willing to welcome us.
5. Affidavit from PAO (Public Attorney’s Office)
This is only required because we are bringing a 5 year old boy with us. It was the PNP (Philippine National Police) who required us to do this. Unless PAO can grant us an affidavit, PNP will not give Tuz a Covid Shield Travel Authority. It’s a good thing that we know someone from PAO — Atty James Daba. He’s our batchmate from school so he knows my history and can vouch that Tuz is indeed my son. Of course, we still submitted copies of Tuz’s Certificate of Live Birth, a PSA copy of his birth certificate, and my own birth certificate and annotated marriage certificate with the null and void (ab initio) court declaration just to be sure. This is because all my IDs are still under the last name of my ex and Tuz is using my maiden name as his last name. Complicated I know. You can read about my annulment post here: https://momtraneur.com/2019/08/26/annulment-process-philippines/
Anyway, with Atty. Daba’s kind assistance, we were able to get the much needed affidavit in a jiff. Thank you, Atty. James!
6. Covid Shield Travel Authority from PNP
There was a bit of a delay here. We were already given this the day before. Tuz’s copy was delayed because of the PAO requirement. By the time we went back to PNP to show them the affidavit from PAO for Tuz, the attending PNP officer told us that we needed to have boat tickets secured first. But how come the previous day, we were already given travel authority even without boat tickets yet? Aaarrghh! So Mahal went to Lite Shiping to get tickets. And of course, Lite Shipping won’t issue boat tickets for Tuz unless PNP gives him the Covid Shield Travel Authority! Catch-22 right? So Mahal went back to PNP and told the officer in-charge what Lite Shipping said. The PNP officer finally saw the light and gave Tuz the much-needed travel authority. Hay!!!!
The moment we had all these requirements with us, we already finalized booking the truck and container van for hauling all our things. We also finished packing all our stuff at home.
On the day of our trip, there were no problems whatsoever in terms of our boat travel.
There were just some new protocols we needed to follow at the port…
The next day, when the ship docked in Cebu port and we drove out of the pier, we were asked to drop by the DOH area. We couldn’t find where it was so we just proceeded to the Lite Shipping warehouse, had our stuff transferred to another truck, and started our 3-4 hour journey to Oslob. We got here at almost midnight.
The following day, we reported to the Regional Health Unit of Oslob. It was a weekend so the office was closed. But there was a med tech there who got our names and said that she will forward our names to the nurse in charge of our barangay. No nurse arrived at our place the next day but in the following days, Mahal gave me a copy of a form that we have to fill out every day with our body temperature. That’s it! No swab test, no rapid test. We just have to finish our 14-day quarantine at our new home and after that we’re okay to go out, buy food, go to the market, visit the beach, etc. within Oslob.
We’re currently on the 10th day of our quarantine. We are staying at Oslob New Village, Mahal’s little resort here. Their hotel has been closed since the pandemic began last year so it’s just us with his family here. And since we can’t go out yet until our quarantine is over, we made a little coffee/wine nook here just outside our unit so we can wine under the stars. So far, we’re all okay and healthy, with no symptoms whatsoever. Thank you, God!
So to those of you in the Philippines who plan to travel to another region or province in our country via boat, those above are the requirements you have to secure. It’s such a hassle, I know. Maybe that’s why we were the only passengers on the cargo boat we boarded. I don’t know if it’s the same for those riding airplanes. But one thing I know for sure is that if it’s not essential travel, just stay put, stay safe, and stay at home, and always, always follow the health protocols — wear face mask, wear face shield, wash your hands, sanitize, sanitize, sanitize! Safe travels to anyone traveling! God bless!