After months of travel restrictions, Baguio City has finally reopened amid COVID-19! While several travellers have been looking forward to this day to come, locals are still hesitant about welcoming tourists with open arms.
Now that we’re seeing the travel limitations easing in the City of Pines, it’s definitely worth asking: Should we really consider visiting Baguio during COVID-19? We ask Baguio locals — including frontliners, hotel and transient owners, students, and other residents from diverse walks of life — for their take on this.
Also read: Baguio Reopens to Select Local Tourists on 21 September 2020
“It’s a no for me.”
“Although for selected provinces lang open ang Baguio, there’s still a chance na kumalat pa rin ang virus. At least, that’s based on experience. Lahat halos ng kaso ng COVID-19 dito ay galing sa labas. They became lax sa pagpapasok ng mga tao sa boundaries.
Mahihirapan yung kakaunting health workers dito kapag biglang may rise ng COVID-19 cases. Kung economy ang problema, I think Baguio people ang magkukusa na lumabas mismo at gumastos sa sariling city once na humupa na ang cases.” – Pearl, 31
“Strict naman sila rito. Lulusot ka muna sa butas ng karayom sa rami ng paperwork at swabbing bago ka makapasyal. So I guess, only those who badly want to visit Baguio would be willing to go through so much hassles para lang makadayo rito.” – Anonymous, 30
“No, I don’t think tourists should visit the city now.”
“While the city boasts of its effective contact tracing, it’s still not enough. Prevention is better than cure pa rin talaga. Plus, opening Baguio during COVID-19 is also disadvantageous for tourists since cases in the city have been increasing for the past few days. Tapos marami pang aasikasuhin para makapasok dito. So, magastos.
If people from areas with low cases would come and visit, then they might cause the cases in those areas to increase if ma-catch nila yung virus dito. Either way, kawawa ang frontliners.
Sa economy naman, a lot of business owners have already brought their businesses online, which is definitely safer. The locals are more than willing to support these businesses. Exception na lang siguro ay yung mga hotels and transient houses.” – Angelica, 26
Also read: Life in Baguio City: Here’s What It’s Really Like
“No, unless Baguio gets totally clear of COVID-19 cases.”
“While may protocols to ensure safety, hindi pa rin ibig sabihin na 100% siyang nasusunod. I think we should wait it out. Instead, let’s help each other (government and citizens) to get through the effects of the pandemic.” – Shan, 26
“I think the current plan is acceptable.”
“I think the current plan of allowing a very limited number of tourists into Baguio City is acceptable, as long as the very rigid guidelines set by the city are followed. As it stands now, I think the city wants to inject some life into our economy. A proper channel by which tourists can come through will prevent the current unfavourable situation where people use their connections or are smuggled in just to get to the city.
Central to all of this, of course, is the pandemic remaining contained in the city. Any spike in cases or uncontrollable outbreaks should warrant a reevaluation of the protocols and the open status of the city.” – Raphael G., 31
“Hindi pa, kasi hindi pa safe.”
“I think people should be more intelligent and vigilant now, considering the much lax health protocols the government is implementing. With this crappy governance and the irrational excitement of people towards having a normal life amidst this pandemic, tourism will just worsen the crisis. This kind of leisure should not be a priority at this time.
Baguio’s economy will suffer, for now. But, there are still alternative ways for the city to survive this crisis. Contingencies should be playing a bigger role in terms of this matter. It will just be a matter of time to regain Baguio’s economic heights if the local government keeps its priorities straight in this pandemic.” – Tom, 23
“Tourists may visit Baguio, of course, since there are already protocols and safety regulations in check. But, it’s worth knowing that a visit to Baguio during COVID-19 might not be ideal. First, they’ll have to go through the struggle of filling up papers just to travel. Second, they might not enjoy the climate and the destinations that are included in their plans; the government only allows short visits, after all. Third, there’s still that risk of getting infected by COVID-19.
Still, there are positive benefits of visiting Baguio during COVID-19: Tourists can enjoy the new normal in Baguio and visit some tourist destinations that the Baguio government has cleaned and fixed up. Through visiting Baguio during COVID-19, you can also help boost the income of hotels and restaurants here. And of course, tourists who visit Baguio can raise awareness about the new normal we have.” – Kerwin, 24
“Opening Baguio during COVID-19 might just worsen our crisis.”
“This pandemic has brought many challenges in every Filipino’s life, especially those who are in the economic industry. Here in Baguio, tourism is considered as one of the major sources of income for most of the locals kaya marami ring nawalan ng trabaho.
Para sa akin, ang muling pagbubukas ng turismo sa Baguio ay magdudulot lamang ng pagdami pa lalo ng mga nagpopositibo sa COVID-19. I appreciate the actions of the LGU until now: For example, they still implement quarantine passes and market and mall schedules for different districts. Parks have already opened for locals. You can see many policemen roaming around the city to make sure that people abide by the precautionary measures against COVID-19.
I am only concerned with the outcome of opening the city for tourists. It can be more difficult to implement social distancing due to the city’s small capacity. While tourism is limited to Region 1 tourists for now, there are still a lot of loopholes. You can’t really ensure that the number of tourists entering the city will be controlled. I also believe that leisure should not be the priority during this crisis. I know that the local government of Baguio can find other ways on resolving issues regarding its economy. Mas dapat intindihin ng lahat ang kaligtasan ngayong pandemiya.” – Clouie, 23
Also read: COVID-19 Travel Philippines Travel Advisory for Filipinos & Foreign Visitors
Undoubtedly, many of us dream of travelling to Baguio again. But as travellers, it’s our responsibility to assess whether our trips would be sustainable and beneficial for the locals. After all, they are the heart of our wonderful dream destinations! So, should you visit Baguio during COVID-19? At the end of the day, it’s all up to you to decide.