Missing your trips to Baguio City? You’re not alone.
When the coronavirus hit and changed travel as we know it, Baguio was one of the cities that experienced a steep decline in tourism. But after months of tight borders, the Summer Capital finally reopened on 1 Oct 2020; since then, more travellers have been carefully finding their way back to their favourite destination away from home.
Is travelling to Baguio during COVID-19 worth it?
Before COVID-19, trips to Baguio were simple. We could wake up one morning and decide it was time for a refreshing break. We could call up our friends and ask if they would be up for a spontaneous day trip to the City of Pines.
Back then, Baguio was our quick escape, perplexingly always just one bus ride away from the exhausting heat of the rest of the Philippines. But now that we’re facing a pandemic, it takes a bit more effort than usual to head to Baguio.
Nowadays, travellers have to carefully plan itineraries and arrange trips through Baguio VISITA to make travel happen. Registration is required because Baguio only allows tourists with a negative COVID-19 test to enter their premises — it’s what’s best for the city, after all.
With that, just like with every pandemic-stricken trip travellers plan to take, we have to think: Would travelling to Baguio during COVID-19 be worth all the effort and risks?
What is Baguio like in the new normal?
As travellers, we know very well that Baguio is a top-rated destination just for how it naturally is. While fascinating man-made structures have, as of the past decade, started dotting the area, the city doesn’t really rely on these for its allure.
Instead, Baguio holds on to its cool weather (which reportedly dropped to 10.4°C early in January!), its distinctively musty yet sweet scent of pines, and its vibrant creative culture that continues to shower everyone with life. All these, travellers can still continue to enjoy, just as they did before.
Aside from the numerous operating hotels and restaurants in Baguio, guests are welcome to visit its endless outdoor destinations. Here are some activities you can enjoy amid COVID-19.
- Have a picnic or ride a bike or boat in Burnham Park.
- Go horseback riding in Wright Park.
- Stroll around Mines View Park.
- Visit the Botanical Garden.
- Hang out in Ili-Likha Artists Village.
- Shop local arts and crafts in Mandeko Kito! Artisanal Market.
- Enjoy the artwork at the BenCab Museum.
Although it has widely opened, Baguio City continues to adhere strictly to COVID-19 protocols. Travellers are reminded to observe social distancing, properly wear their face masks and shields, and regularly wash their hands.
Victory Liner makes travelling to Baguio in the new normal easier
With the new normal initiatives of Victory Liner, trips to Baguio are possible once more. For reservations, you may book your tickets to Baguio here.
Requirements for tourists travelling to Baguio during COVID-19
For a safe bus trip, tourists only need to secure a QR-coded Tourist Pass (QTP) and a valid government-issued ID before heading to the Victory Liner terminal. If you’re a tourist, you can obtain your QTP via the Baguio VISITA website. While applying, you will be asked to fill out and upload the following:
- Basic information
- Valid government-issued ID
- Travel itinerary (where you will stay)
- Health declaration form (HDF)
- Negative result of an RT-PCR or rapid antigen swab test (valid up to 72 hours)*
Victory Liner offers its own swab testing
If you haven’t gotten tested yet, you can opt to head to the Victory Liner Cubao terminal two hours before your target departure time, where you can get swabbed at their very own Hero Laboratories Swab Testing Booth. Open from Monday to Sunday between 5am and 3pm, the booth offers swab tests for ₱800. The bus fare and swab test bundle costs ₱1,376. Make sure to bring a valid government-issued ID.
As soon as you get your negative swab test result at the terminal, you can upload it to your VISITA account to complete your registration and get a QTP. This said, make sure you have pre-booked an accredited Baguio hotel before heading to the terminal. If you’ll be staying at a private home, you will be asked for the contact details of the homeowner.
Travelling to Cubao from Baguio
When returning to Cubao from Baguio, you will only need to present a QTP and a valid government-issued ID. For reservations, you may book your tickets to Cubao here.
Requirements for non-tourists travelling to Baguio during COVID-19
If you’re travelling to Baguio outside tourism reasons (e.g. returning resident, student, employee, Drop & Go driver, and more), you must register through the Baguio City official website. Create an account and fill out the HDF (health declaration form) downloadable here.
On this site, you will also find the documentary attachments required, depending on your purpose of travel. Bring all the accomplished documents to the Victory Liner terminal on the day of your trip to Baguio.
Travelling to Cubao from Baguio
When travelling to Cubao from Baguio, non-tourists will only need to present a travel authority, a medical certificate, and a valid government-issued ID. For reservations, you may book your tickets to Cubao here.
Schedule of Baguio routes to and from Cubao and Olongapo
Victory Liner has opened its Baguio routes via Cubao (₱576 bus fare) and Olongapo (₱581 bus fare). From Cubao, there are four trips per day: 7am, 10am, 1pm, and 3pm. As of writing, bus trips from Olongapo to Baguio are only available every 9am. To make sure you don’t miss your trip, reserve your seats via the Victory Liner website.
Health and safety protocols for passengers
- All passengers must present a negative swab test result, an approved QR code, and an accomplished health declaration form (tourists will fill this out upon QTP registration).
- Only passengers who are 16 to 65 years old will be allowed to board.
- Those with a temperature above 37.5°C or any symptoms of COVID-19 will be restricted entry.
Other reminders for passengers during the bus trip
- Wear your face mask and face shield in the terminals and on the bus.
- Maintain physical distancing throughout the ride.
- Regularly sanitise your hands.
- Refrain from eating, drinking, or talking while inside the bus.
COVID-19 may have changed a lot about the world, but many beautiful things about Baguio remain. Hop onto a Victory Liner bus once more, and you’ll find that Baguio City is still the same City of Pines amid the pandemic. It is still the same city which turns life into a beautiful haze of rejuvenating road trips, artisanal food tours, and adventurous hikes. It is still the same city that welcomes travellers home.
Brought to you by Victory Liner.