THE Philippines’ surfing capital, Siargao Island, is reopening its shores to domestic tourists starting November 23, the Department of Tourism (DOT) announced Saturday.
The reopening was also confirmed by Mayor Cecilia Ruson of the municipality of General Luna, Surigao del Norte through a local executive order.
“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,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.
Flights to Siargao will resume on December 1, the DOT said, allowing travelers from outside the region to visit the teardrop-shaped island through Sayak Airport near the barangays of Del Carmen and Heneral Luna.
Siargao is one of the country’s premier destinations, known for its towering limestone hills, shorelines of white sands and tiny shells, caves with crystal formations, and clear waters that attract surfers and nature travelers from around the world.
Aside from surfing, tourists go island hopping, kayaking, nature trekking, bird watching, and leisure swimming on the island.
Tourists are required to submit a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction
(RT-PCR) test result before arriving on the island.
If the RT-PCR is taken more than 48 hours of departure from the point of origin, a negative antigen swab will be required on the day of arrival.
Tourists arriving via Surigao City/Sayak Airport will need an e-Health pass with a valid ID; negative RT-PCR result taken within 48 hours from point of origin; 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 round-trip ticket/travel details.
Meanwhile, tourists from Surigao del Norte will be required to show an e-Health pass with a valid ID; a certificate from the barangay chairman that a traveler is not a close contact of a Covid-19-positive patient; and confirmed booking from an accredited DOT-accommodation establishment.
For hotels and resorts, they must secure a business permit, CAO; e-Health system registration; e-Health pass or QR code reader, and new normal protocols approved by the municipal health office.
A curfew will be enforced from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. (PNA)