PAL hopes non-essential travel boosts passenger demand

MANILA – Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) is hopeful that the resumption of non-essential travel beginning Oct. 21 will boost passenger demand, spokesperson Cielo Villaluna said on Monday.

During the Laging Handa public briefing, Villaluna said PAL is currently operating 15 to 20 percent of its normal frequencies. 

“We used to operate 250-280 flights a day (pre-pandemic). Then, it has reached 15 percent of that, and now it’s at 15-20 percent. It (frequencies) is gradually increasing. We are hoping that the percentage would increase. We anticipate passenger demand, (considering the) latest development,” she said.

Those traveling abroad would have to present at the check-in counter roundtrip tickets, travel and health insurance, written declaration acknowledging the risks in traveling, and a negative antigen test.

PAL flies to the United States, Middle East, London, and Asia Pacific.

“There is an ongoing pilot testing of the efficacy of antigen test. If by Oct. 21 there is no announcement (regarding this), we will see if the RT-PCR (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) test result can be accepted. We will keep everyone posted,” she added.

Only essential travel is currently allowed.

Meanwhile, Villaluna said PAL hopes that the number of domestic passengers will also increase. 

Travel to Boracay, for instance, has been allowed by the government since Oct. 1.

Villaluna reminded passengers bound for Caticlan they are required to have a negative RT-PCR test 72 hours before the flight, health declaration form, and a confirmed booking in a Department of Tourism-accredited hotel.

PAL is implementing physical distancing inside the aircraft whenever the situation permits, she said. (PNA)

Baguio reopening to spur ‘swift’ PH tourism recovery

THE reopening of Baguio City to travelers from Luzon would spur a “swifter” recovery of the Philippine tourism industry that had been reeling from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic since March, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said Saturday.

Baguio is set to start accepting tourists from Luzon, particularly the National Capital Region (NCR) and Regions 2 and 3, starting on October 22 with 200-daily carrying capacity.

New health and safety measures would be finalized anew together with the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) Technical Working Group (TWG).

Requirements for tourists, meanwhile, would be relaxed through the Baguio Visitor Information and Travel Assistance (VISITA), which has received an encouraging number of 2,000 registrations and some 200 travel requests since it officially launched on September 22.

The agency said booking itineraries through a DOT-accredited tour agency is “now optional” but guests are still required to book in an accredited accommodation establishment issued with a Certificate of Authority to Operate.

“Now that we have an actual visitor count, the city has an important reference point and valuable feedback on how to move forward from this initial opening period,” Tourism chief Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.

The DOT, through the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), funded the VISITA program to assist Baguio’s initial reopening for the Ridge and Reef travel corridor or La Union, Pangasinan, Ilocos Sur, and Ilocos Norte (BLUPISIN).

“It was a privilege to be working closely with the local government of Baguio during this process. We witnessed first-hand how they came up with effective policies to find the delicate balance between ensuring public safety and reopening for tourism to bring back jobs and livelihoods lost to the pandemic,” the Tourism chief said.

“The Ridge and Reef Project is one of the pioneering efforts to get our industry back on track, and the whole country is watching closely. Everyone’s determination to get the job done responsibly has been truly inspirational,” she added.

The expansion of the green lane to include nearby towns La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba, Tublay or the so-called BLISTT is also being worked on with the respective local government units (LGUs).

“With its vision to promote a green, peaceful, and family-oriented tourist destination, we are counting on the BLISTT Tourism Council to be a strong ally in the DOT’s ongoing thrust for sustainable tourism development. We commit to support its endeavors as we work with local government units in the coordination and preparation of the area’s eventual reopening,” Romulo-Puyat said.

Almost seven months since the first lockdown was imposed in the country, the DOT said Baguio has improved its capacity in terms of critical health care and isolation centers, the addition of newly trained contact tracers to an already efficient team, and the creation of a new triage center for tourists at the CAP Convention Center.

The pilot study for antigen testing is also now in its final stages, which may pave the way for use to screen potential visitors.

“Since this method is cheaper than the RT-PCR, the gold standard for Covid testing, allowing the use of antigen tests, will surely be welcomed by visitors,” Romulo-Puyat said. (PNA

Enchanted Kingdom opens under strict health protocols

ENCHANTED Kingdom, the theme park located in Santa Rosa, Laguna opens today, Oct. 17, under strict health protocols.

According to a news report, the theme park will operate under strict safety and health protocols. Tickets must be purchased online and health declaration forms must be filled out before entering the area.

Aside from checking the temperature and offering alcohol disinfectant to incoming visitors, the park will allow inside only those with temperatures 37.5 degrees Celsius and below.

There will be a holding area outside the park for those with temperatures above 37.5 degrees Celsius should they need to cool down. However, if their temperature stays the same or goes higher, they will not be allowed to enter.

Aside from having “Safety Wizard” patrollers to implement the protocols, numerous markers are also placed inside the park, from the rides to the stores, to enforce physical distancing.

 A cashless policy is also implemented for guests buying food and souvenir items, while performers are required to wear a face shield while staging shows.

Out of the 30 rides at Enchanted Kingdom, only 14 will be operational, including the Flying Fiesta and Space Shuttle. Rides for kids are still closed down.

From a full capacity of 17,000 people each day, only 8,500 visitors will be allowed inside.

According to the theme park’s administration, the rides will be disinfected after each use.

“More on the mental effect of the people kasi nga alam natin lockdown, quarantine. A theme park like EK offers a fresh open air environment which experts say is very safe,” said Cesar Mario Mamon, chairman and president of Enchanted Kingdom.

For other rides such as Agila and Rialto, Mamon said, “kinakabitan pa namin ng medical grade HEPA at ultraviolet filters para ’yung circulating air inside will be safe.”

For now, Enchanted Kingdom’s popular concerts and fireworks are put on hold to avoid gatherings.

Only those aged 21 to 59 will be allowed at EK. The theme park will be open only on weekends from Oct. 17 to Dec. 13 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Meanwhile, from Dec. 14 to Jan. 3, the theme park will be open every day. – (Kaela Malig/RC)

How to deal with pimple breakouts or ‘maskne’ during quarantine

FREQUENT wearing of facemasks has led some people to suffer from pimple breakouts amid the quarantine. It’s a common reaction but it should not be a cause for worry as there are remedies to deal with it.

In a PinoyMD report, dermatologist Dr. Jean Marquez explained that because one area of your face is covered for a prolonged period of time, it can sometimes cause dead skin, oil, bacteria to pool inside pores, causing inflammation.

She said that acne and pimple breakouts appear when sweat, oil, and dust is trapped and pressured in one space which might cause growth of bacteria and eventual acne breakouts.

To avoid the “maskne” (acne caused by frequent wearing of facemask) problem before you even encounter it, it’s important to have an effective skincare regimen using products that are friendly to the skin.

The good news is, there are few Asian products that can help prevent “maskne.”

Mizumi Smooth Cleansing Water –P249 (100ml)

Said to be made from natural extracts from broccoli, chicory, and celery, MizuMi Smooth Cleansing Water promises to leave your skin with moisture and softness. 

It boasts of being “5-FREE,” which means it does not have perfume, oil, alcohol, parabens, and synthetic colors.

It has a double micellar formula that removes dirt, sunscreen, and even waterproof makeup but still gentle on the skin. The solution is watery which is easy to apply with less friction minimizing formation of lines and wrinkles.

Son & Park Beauty Water (1,399)

Skincare gurus have called this “holy grail” as it’s a 2-in-2 product that serves as a cleanser and toner. Son & Park Beauty Water promises to mildly exfoliate the skin with papaya extract; to clarify and calm skin with hazel water; and to hydrate using a cocktail of lavender water, rose water, and orange fruit extracts.

This product can both be used in the morning before applying makeup and at night to strip off leftover dirt and makeup residue after cleansing your face.

Acne-fighting moisturizer: Papa Recipe Eggplant (P1,099)

If you’ve heard of Papa Recipe, you probably already know that it is popular for its natural ingredients. The brand started with a Korean’s father looking for ways to to heal his daughter’s skin.

You might never have heard of eggplant as an ingredient for skincare products but this one contains 72% eggplant extract making it rich in “lupeol” which controls sebum production. It promises to balance moisture of the skin and oil levels for a healthy hydration that nourishes dry, rough, and sensitive skin.

Mizumi Mild Facial Cleanser P379 (100ml)

MizuMi is a Thai beauty brand that uses Japanese technology derived from Japanese words “Mizu” for water and “Mi” for beauty. The brand’s belief is “skin beauty starts with water.”

Their mild facial cleanser is infused with seven types of hydrating ingredients that promises to moisturize the complexion and restore a healthy pH balance to boost the skin’s natural protection. It is an ideal  product to be used for those with sensitive and acne-prone complexions.

Papa Recipa Bombee Honey Mask Sheet (P149)

Another Papa Recipe product, this sheet mask is soaked withnatural ingredients that will help moisturize, heal, and pamper the skin including honey, propolis, and royal bee jelly. It uses a natural pulp sheet mask which is perfect for those with sensitive skin types.

Britory Like Snow Serum (P899)

Bella Padilla recently launched Britory, a Korean two-product skin care line, which is perfect for on-the-go girls with not much time for long skin care routines.  

The Britory Like Snow Serum has several ingredients, including Niacinamide, Glutathione, Arbutin, Ceramide, Neem Tree Flower Extract, Walnut Leaf Extract, and Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate — all helping your skin glow like snow. 

Britory Like Snow Cream(P990)

Unlike most creams, Britory’s is gel-based making it not icky and giving it a cooling effect on the face. The Britory Like Snow Cream have ingredients that help soften and lighten the skin including Panthenol, Lactobacillus Ferment Filtrate, Niacinamide, Glutathione, Ceramide, and Neem Tree Flower Extract.

Britory Cream and Serum are both available in Shopee, Lazada, and other leading online platforms. MizuMi, Son&Park, and Papa Recipe are available in  BeautyMNL, Zalora, LazMall, and Shopee Mall.

‘Turon’: A sought-after snack during the pandemic

ON BARANGAY Bagua here every afternoon from Monday to Saturday – a small “turon” (deep-fried banana rolls) roadside store draws people even during this time of the pandemic.

The store, owned by Oscar Alojado Buenafe, 74, has no signboard but residents here sure know how to follow with their nose the smell of the reasonably priced, sweet, crunchy, spring roll-wrapped “turon” with ripe strips of “saba” and “langka” (jackfruit) inside.

Between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. daily, various kinds of vehicles and people from all walks of life toe the line for social distancing to wait for their turn to buy and munch on the affordable snack treats from the Buenafe store along the Bagua area here.

The store serves more than a hundred customers daily, depending on the availability of the snack food items.

“We also sell pinaypay na saging (banana fan fritters), saging rebosao (caramelized banana strips), and sweet potato fritters,” Buenafe said in the vernacular.

He said they have not changed the price of their food bestsellers during the past four decades except during this time of the pandemic that began last March.

“Marketing for ingredients became harder to find due to strict coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) lockdowns and we have to adjust,” he said.

For one, he said, their “turon” is currently priced at PHP7 per piece, a PHP2 increase from their usual price per piece for the past 10 years.

“Despite this, our ‘suki’ (regular customers) kept on coming back, without even minding the slight increase in prices,” Buenafe said with a smile.

Through the years, he said he had befriended all his loyal customers, ranging from doctors, nurses, engineers, teachers, and even military and police personnel.

“They frequent our store, or even sending someone by placing their orders in advance,” he said with delight.

Benefits of the business

For the past four decades, Buenafe said he and his wife Editha have managed to send his children to school, two of them became teachers while the others too became professionals in their preferred fields of work.

He said one of his children died but did not expound on the matter after becoming emotional during the conversation.

“Life must go on. I have other children to attend to and grandchildren,” Buenafe said.

Satisfied customers 

Anna Leah Mosina, 19, said she likes to buy “turon” and other food items at Buenafe’s store because it is served hot and smells delicious.

“It is one of my cheap treats daily,” Mosina said.

Gerome Uy, 26, a trader from nearby Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao, said the “turon” has gained popularity in his set of friends through the years.

Elementary pa lang po kami suki na kami ng turon na yan (We have been regular customers of that ‘turon’ even during our elementary days),” Uy said.

Sustaining the business 

Even amid the pandemic, Buenafe said his store keeps on doing good in sales because his products are cheap and done to the preferred taste of its customers.

He noted that their “turon” is quite easy to cook and that the ingredients are inexpensive.

“You can buy the ingredients at the market, like brown sugar and coconut oil, but do remember that you should always cook with love,” Buenafe said.

He pointed out that their love and care for their customers had been there through all these years. (PNA)

1 2 3 16