Travelers’ notes from quarantine hotel


BalikBayani République | Tony Alabastro

First Advent Sunday comes with extra quarantine days for stranded tourists and returning residents seeking to spend Simbang Gabi and Noche Buena at home.

Omicron’s late November appearance extends mandatory quarantine in government accredited facilities or hotels up to seven days from previous three days.

Nostril-and-throat swab tests testing are done on fifth day for vaccinated, and on seventh day for unvaccinated inbound travelers.

Extra day or two in quarantine add to waiting time for reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) Covid19 testing results.

OFWs, including those awaiting repatriation from South Africa, get free quarantine room and board and RT-PCR testing. Others pay.

Absent at NAIA’s Terminal 1 are visually-impaired cumbacheros serenading passengers in the now dark and gloomy pathway on the way to holding room where OneHealthPass QR codes are scanned.

Upon exit and on way to Immigration Counters, arrivals get invitations to Duty Free Shops.

Fixed rate white taxis or yellow metered taxis queue on curb outside arrival area.

Agoda advertises free breakfast at five-star hotel, which denies two check-in guests complimentary breakfast and local or international newspaper.

Front desk upgrades the paying quarantine couple to 11th floor, 30-sq. premier room with panoramic EDSA and SLEX view during five-day quarantine. Room amenities are provided for one person.

Quarantine means meals have to come from the hotel menu. Service charge, VAT and taxes not included in printed price.

An email to the GM gets a Duty Manager’s response allowing guests a single day food delivery.

Negative Covid19 results are texted at 1:30am on fourth day.

Covid19-free guests get smaller replacement room on 9th floor with a cityscape of Shangrila, Glorietta, Holiday Inn & Suites, SM and Park Square.

Bell man with 25 years service says hotel is fully booked and busy with conventions and weddings. Duty manager, in a 2:30pm meeting, can’t meet departing guests gifted with late checkout.

Guests have to confirm arrival of white PPE-clad swabbers on third day or pay extra hotel quarantine stay.

Quarantine-free, masked mall-goers produce international certificate of vaccination or prophylaxis to dine in establishments advertising staff are 100pc fully vaccinated. Rarely used are contact tracing Trade app required of overseas arrivals. Customers fill out xeroxed contact tracing sheets.


The first of six fully-vaccinated Philippine Air Force (PAF) batches undergo seven-day mandatory quarantine upon arrival in Bandar Seri Begawan for a S-70i Black Hawk Training until Dec. 27, 2021.

Philippine Embassy Charge` de Affaires Pete Raymond Delfin and Defense and Armed Forces Attache Colonel Angelo Ariles attend Brunei helicopter training launch.

Brunei Multi-PurposeTraining Centre’s S-70i stimulator offers 12-foot dome display. High fidelity image generator gives extreme field-of-view visual system in highly realistic synthetic environment.

PAF has 16 Polish-made Black Hawks retiring popular Vietnam Warera Hueys (Bell UH-1). Some fly vaccines to remote areas.

Philippines will buy 32 more utility Black Hawk helicopters from a Polish aerospace manufacturer.

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