My time is up in Germany!
I visited my partner for three months under the Unmarried Couple Visa - a new visa category which was deemed essential for binational couples to reunite.
The visa still follows the 180/90 Schengen rule and I can only reapply for a visa in my home country so I had to go home.
The Philippines is one of the strictest in terms of requirements and procedures. When I arrived in Germany, I only had to do 2 steps - 1) register online and 2) home quarantine. That was it!
On the other hand, I think there's more than 20 steps to return to the Philippines in this guide!
I warn you that I am really detailed so if you want a condensed instruction, check the DFA infographic.
This is based on my actual experience, a bit more detailed, and consistent with the DFA procedures as of February 2021.
This also applies to any country of origin but you have to check specific airline or transit requirements such as an RT PCR test.
- 1 BEFORE YOUR FLIGHT
- 2 ON THE DAY OF FLIGHT
- 3 ARRIVAL AT NAIA 3
- 4 DURING QUARANTINE
- 5 GOING HOME
- 6 COMMON QUESTIONS
- 7 LIST OF DOT & DOH-BOQ ACCREDITED HOTELS (with Estimated Price)
BEFORE YOUR FLIGHT
1. Check if you need to take an RT-PCR Swab test before your flight.
This requirement depends on your transit and destination.
The Philippines does not require a negative test to show upon arrival. Instead, you need to undergo a 7-day hotel quarantine and an RT PCR test on the 6th day.
I read that some countries like Qatar require a negative test even if you are just transiting.
My flight was from Frankfurt, transiting Dubai, via Emirates and an RT PCR test is NOT required.
Dubai does not require a test if you're coming from Germany but requires it if you're coming from the Philippines . The policy is different for every origin and destination.
(An odd testing policy considering Germany has much more cases that the Philippines, anyway...back to the procedures)
This can be best checked with your airline as well.
2. Pre-register for a RT-PCR swab test at the PADLAB (Philippine Airport Diagnostic Laboratory System) no later than 3 days before your flight
For terminal 1 and 3 passengers, click here.
For terminal 2, click here.
I registered on the terminal 3 link. The form is quite lengthy and the following information were asked: personal information, employment, travel history (for the travel purpose, I indicated "Returning Resident), contract tracing, special population (I indicated "Traveler"), exposure history, symptoms, payment (GCash or Over the Counter).
Once submitted, you will be re-directed to a page that says it was successful and includes your QR code. Print and keep this QR code/ transaction ID as this will serve as your ID when transacting with PADLAB
You can still register with PADLAB when you arrive in NAIA. However, the airline staff checked for my PADLAB transaction ID so better do this pre-flight for a smoother boarding process.
3. Pre-book an accredited quarantine hotel and arrange transport.
I personally booked mine at the Courtyard Hotel Pasay because it's affordable and near the airport. It's the only accredited hotel in Metro Manila that offers a room for less than P1000 a night (P529 per day average as price/ discount vary per day in Agoda).
Aside from the cost for 6 nights and 7 days, you have to consider the transportation cost as you have to arrange this with the hotel.
This hotel is only 3 kilometers from the airport but transportation cost is P450! If the hotel does not provide transport service, you can get an airport taxi when you arrive.
You are not allowed to get a Grab.
For the list of accredited hotels, see the list below or head over to the table of contents above so you can easily jump to the list.
I got this list from the Department of Tourism via FB messenger on 16 Feb 2021. Always check with them for updates as the DOT/ DOH links of inspected hotels are not working.
4. Pack snacks and instant food you can take for your quarantine.
Only if budget is a concern.
The meals at the quarantine hotels are mostly overpriced (and not the best at my choice of hotel) and some hotels do not allow food delivery services like FoodPanda.
ON THE DAY OF FLIGHT
1. Prepare travel documents and requirements.
At Frankfurt airport, I was asked the following requirements by the Emirates staff:
- flight itinerary
- PADLAB transaction ID QR code
- pre-booked quarantine hotel (the staff checked the number of days so book 6 nights and 7 days)
2. During the Frankfurt-Dubai flight, you have to wear your mask at all times except when eating, of course.
3. At Dubai transit, nothing was asked. You just follow the usual process when changing flights.
4. During the Dubai-Manila flight, you have to wear a mask at all times. Face shield was not required.
Face shield was only required from my previous flight from Manila to Dubai.
- Fill out the white arrival card (usual card for Immigration) and yellow health declaration form which will be given by the cabin crew.
ARRIVAL AT NAIA 3
The following procedure looks lengthy but the entire process only took 30 minutes. It was very organized and there were officers who can assist you.
1. Before disembarkation, a BOQ (Bureau of Quarantine) officer will brief you on the process and what to expect when you step on NAIA.
2. AT NAIA, the yelllow health declaration form will be collected before you enter the briefing area.
OFWs and non-OFWs are segregated, you will see signs where to go.
3. An officer will provide you an Affidavit of Undertaking to fill out. Submit it to the same officer once you're done.
Read and understand what you're signing. Follow what you have agreed to as this is a legal document, as it states...
In case of my failure to observe the mandatory facility quarantine, I shall be held civilly and criminally liable under existing laws of the Philippines in addition to the provisions of Section 9 (b) and (e) of Republic Act 11332...
5. Proceed to the DOT (Department of Tourism) booth which is just near the briefing area. Prepare your pre-booked quarantine hotel and PADLAB transaction ID.
6. The DOT staff will verify your hotel and ask about your transportation. They will issue you a Dispatch form. Keep this as you need to give this to the coast guard before leaving the airport.
7. The next counter is the PADLAB verification and payment. They accept cash and credit card payments. The RT PCR test costs P4000.
Keep the receipt with reference number and transaction slip as you would need to present this on the 6th day.
A PADLAB nurse will visit your quarantine hotel on the 6th day. Due to the number of tests they conduct, they could not provide the time when they will arrive at your hotel.
8. Once you have received PADLAB receipts, you may now proceed to get your baggage and pass through Immigration.
9. Message your hotel when you're ready to be picked up. You can wait near the departure gate.
10. Before leaving the airport, the coast guard will ask for the Dispatch form (from step 6) and will also check some papers from the driver to ensure that you're going to an accredited quarantine hotel.
1. Observe quarantine protocols such as wearing a mask and maintaining safe distance.
You can order food from the hotel. Whether you can get food delivered depends on the hotel's policies.
You are not allowed to go outside of the hotel premises.
2. Call or message your LGU (Baranggay) to request for a Letter of Acceptance. If your Baranggay doesn't respond, contact the city or town.
This is one of the most confusing part as it seems that my LGU is unaware of this process. They didn't provide me with a Letter of Acceptance and advised me that a negative result will suffice for me to go home.
Still, report to your LGU as it's their responsibility if they would monitor your home quarantine. It's better to do this step as you have signed an Affidavit of Undertaking stating that failure to observe quarantine procedures is a civil and criminal offense.
3. On the 6th day, PADLAB will visit your hotel for your RT PCR test.
Prepare your passport, PADLAB transaction ID (the page with the QR code you got from your pre-registration) and the transaction slip & receipt you got at the airport.
PADLAB visits several hotels in a day so they can arrive at any time, even in the evening. I had my test at around 5pm and received the result the following day at 2pm.
They will email the results within 24 hours.
For follow up, contact PADLAB Facebook Page.
- You can go home once you have received the email showing a negative result. Get clearance from your hotel staff.
I forwarded the email to the hotel as proof.
- Inform your LGU that you are about to go home and continue observing home quarantine for the next 7 days.
Can I take a Grab car to the quarantine hotel?
Only the accredited hotel's transport service and airport taxi are allowed.
The purpose of the quarantine is to isolate from the general population so interaction during this period is limited.
How much is the quarantine cost?
The RT PCR test costs P4000.
Cost of accredited hotel, transport to hotel and daily meals varies. Whether you will be allowed to order from GrabFood or FoodPanda depends on the hotel policies so check this ahead of your flight.
The cheapest hotel near the airport is Courtyard Hotel in Pasay. I paid and average of P529 per night (regular price is P750 but got a discount through Agoda) for a solo fan room with free breakfast (just bread, jam, coffee and they have free drinking water).
Other costs were P450 for transport, and an average of P300+ per day for meals.
I spent less than P10,000 for the entire week of quarantine (swab test, hotel, transport, food). This is the cheapest I could get.
Expect to pay more in other hotels. The average price I see is around P3000 per night. Of course, those are more comfortable hotels.
What happens next if the result turns out positive?
I do not have firsthand experience on this (thankfully!) but the staff told me that you will be transferred to a government facility and this will be free.
LIST OF DOT & DOH-BOQ ACCREDITED HOTELS (with Estimated Price)
I sent an inquiry to DOT and got the following updated list of accredited hotels on 16 Feb 2021 for MANDATORY QUARANTINE.
I took the estimated lowest rate for each hotel based on the Agoda price for March 2021 bookings. Please note that the price varies per day too and there are days when Agoda gives a higher discount or none at all.
This price is just an estimate for one person per night.
I arranged it per city, and then from budget to luxury (highest to lowest), to make it easier for you to choose.
Click on the link to see actual rates for your intended stay, reviews and photos. The links lead you to Agoda Booking page with discounted rates.
Lowest to Highest Rate per Night
The Courtyard Hotel Roxas Blvd P529 ave/ day - fan room, transport P450
Hotel Sogo Roxas Blvd P1,821
Asiatel Airport Hotel P1,939
Go Hotels Airport P1,999
Nichols Airport Hotel P2,100
Networld Hotel P2,999
Microtel Wyndham, MoA P3,290
Savoy Hotel P3,328
The Heritage Hotel P3,600
Belmont Hotel Manila P3,882
TRYP by Wyndham MoA Pasay P4,018
Sofitel Philippine Plaza P5,045
Citadines, Manila Bay P5,870
Conrad Hotel Seaside Blvd P6,029
Midas Hotel P7,307
Manila Marriott Hotel P9,500
The Henry Hotel Manila can't find an available date*
Hotel Jen/ JEN Manila by Shangri-La can't find an available date*
Sequioa Hotel Manila Bay can't find an available date*
Lowest to Highest Rate per Night
Eurotel, Makati P1,282
Red Planet Hotel, Makati P1,437
Giles Hotel, Makati P1,718
E-Hotel Makati P1,787
Privato Hotel, Makati P2,154
Makati Valero Grand Suites by Swiss Belhotel P2,184
The Charter House -Makati P2,346
Y2 Residences, Makati P2,348
Crown Regency Hotel Makati P2,424
City Garden Hotel – Makati P2,576
Astoria, Greenbelt P2,745
Picasso Hotel- Makati Salcedo P3,184
Dusit Thani Hotel- Makati P3,966
New World Hotel Makati P4,201
Seda Residences, Makati P4,366
The Alpha Suites, Makati P4,612
Lourdes Suites Makati P4,815
Makati Diamond Residences P4,904
Hotel Celeste, Makati P4,999
Somerset Olympia Makati P5,682
IM Hotel, Makati P5,514
Citadines, Makati Salcedo P5,592
Ascott Makati P7,212
Oyo Nano Suites Fort 55 can't find an available date*
El Cielito Hotel Makati can't find an available date*
Nest Nano Suites – Makati can't find an available date*
1898 Hotel Colonia – Makati can't find an available date*
Royal Bellagio Hotel – Makati can't find an available date*
Ritz Astor Hotel – Makati can't find an available date*
Lowest to Highest Rate per Night
Red Planet Mabini P1,412
Eurotel, Pedro Gil P1,450
Go Hotel, Otis P1,607
Manila Grand Opera Hotel Sta Cruz P1,654
Swiss Belhotel Blulane Hotel – Manila Sta. Cruz P1,704
Octagon Mansion Hotel, Manila Malate P1,921
Vieve Hotel Ermita P1,991
Hotel Lucky Chinatown Binondo P2,208
Bayview Park Hotel Manila Ermita P2,349
Hotel Kimberly Manila P2,399
Armada Hotel, Manila P2,577
City Garden Suites- Manila Ermita P2,685
Executive Hotel, Manila P2,828
Ramada by Wyndham Manila Central Binondo P3,078
Manila Prince Hotel Ermita P3,324
The Manila Hotel Rizal Park P4,850
Winford Hotel P5,349
Diamond Hotel Manila Malate P5,416
H2O Hotel Manila Ocean Park P39,999 to 192,000+ (varies a lot per date)
Pearl Garden Hotel can't find an available date*
Windy Ridge Malate, Manila can't find an available date*
Hotel 2016- Manila can't find an available date*
The Bayleaf, Intramuros can't find an available date*
The Aloha Hotel can't find an available date*
Best Western Hotel La Corona Ermita can't find an available date*
Amelie Hotel Manila can't find an available date*
Rizal Park Hotel can't find an available date*
Go Hotels Ermita can't find an available date
Pearl Blossom, Manila can't find an available date*
The TNKC Hotel Malate (not in Agoda, no website)
BONIFACIO GLOBAL CITY
Lowest to Highest Rate per Night
F1 Hotel BGC P4,406
Seda BGC P5,741
Ascott- BGC P10,666
Lowest to Highest Rate per Night
Privato Hotel, Ortigas P1,823
Exchange Regency, Ortigas P2,222
Richmonde Hotel, Ortigas P2,994
Discovery Suites Ortigas P3,990
Holiday Inn, Ortigas P4,750
Marco Polo Hotel, Ortigas P5,207
Citadines Millenium, Ortigas P5,384
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Ortigas P5,500
Lowest to Highest Rate per Night
Winter Hotel Benitez Cubao P1,012
Privato Hotel, QC P1,999
Summit Hotel, QC Magnolia P2,116
Hotel Rembrandt QC P2,399
Cocoon Hotel QC P3,586
Seda Vertis North P3,094
Novotel Cubao Araneta P4,505
Winter Hotel Imperial Cubao can't find an available date*
MC Hotel- Fairview can't find an available date*
Go Hotels Timog can't find an available date*
Go Hotels North, Edsa can't find an available date*
Sequioa Hotel QC can't find an available date*
Hive Hotel, QC can't find an available date*
Microtel- Libis, Quezon City can't find an available date*
Luxent Hotel, Timog QC can't find an available date*
Simplicity Co-living and Co-working, QC can't find an available date*
Wow Hotel Aurora Cubao not in Agoda, link to their Contact page
Hotel Fox Novaliches, not in Agoda, link to their FB page
Elan Hotel Annapolis P3,505
Crimson Hotel, Alabang (w/ conditions) P2,542
Azumi Boutique Hotel, Alabang (w/ conditions) P2,999
Bellevue, Alabang P5,999
Acacia Hotel, Alabang P7,365
Mella Hotel C5 Ext. Las Pinas can't find an available date*
Microtel Eagle Ridge P2,160
Microtel South Forbes P3,404
Tanza Oasis P3,419
Royal Parc Hotel- Tagaytay P1,999
Quest Hotel- Tagaytay P2,125
Days Hotel- Tagaytay P2,771
Hotel Monticello -Tagaytay P2,998
Hotel Domonique – Tagaytay can't find an available date*
Tagaytay Haven- Mendez can't find an available date*
Hotel Carlito- Tagaytay can't find an available date*
Cabin by Eco Hotels P3,238
Container by Eco Hotels P3,999
Microtel Batangas P3,239
Unspecified: Great Eastern Hotel (website) contact to check if this is for Makati or QC
*For the hotels where I can't find an available date, you may click on the link and check on your preferred date. I tried randomly checking different dates but I kept getting a "sold out" or "just missed it" result.
I was trying to book Stone House Pasay (sister hotel of Courtyard) but they were no longer included in the list that I got from DOT. I still see this hotel in other blogs though, so better check with DOT for updates as they inspect the hotels from time to time.