Got itchy feet and want to take the kids along? Read on for our guide on how to get around the Philippines with kids during GCQ
Let’s face it — nobody — kids included, is happy staying at home. Sure, they get to see more of us, but nothing beats being able to play outside and get some fresh air. While minors still really aren’t allowed outside during GCQ (except for exercise), there’s one thing they’re allowed to do: travel.
The GCQ rules you need to know
According to the Department of Tourism (Resolution No.121), point-to-point travel for leisure from NCR Plus to areas under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) is allowed without age restrictions. However, individuals below 18 years old and above 65 are subject to an RT-PCR test before travel. Some LGUs have their own rules too, so it’s best to check beforehand.
Fully vaccinated? According to the latest IATF resolution 124-B, for domestic travel, fully vaccinated individuals do not need to undergo an RT-PCR test. All they need to do is show their COVID-19 Vaccination Cards that say it’s been 2 weeks since your second dose. However, you’ll still need to undergo health and exposure screening upon arrival.
And yes, point-to-point travel means you can only go to ONE DESTINATION. There’s no eating in restaurants. According to GCQ rules, minors still aren’t allowed out — only for outdoor exercise — which is why you’d best have your lunches and snacks on hand at all times!
Outdoor tourist attractions in GCQ areas (including NCR and Bulacan) are allowed to operate at 50% capacity while those in Cavite, Laguna and Rizal can operate at 30% (as of June 30).
PSA: As of 23 July, the IATF has halted Resolution 125: kids are not allowed out due to the Delta variant. However, some LGUs may have different rules. We recommend checking ahead to play safe!
As you know, the rules are constantly changing, so stay tuned for the latest updates regarding travel with minors during GCQ!
Should you travel with kids during GCQ?
Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer for this. It depends on where you’re going, who you’re seeing, what you plan to do, how you’re getting there and your vaccination status. Experts say that flying is safe, thanks to the hospital-grade air filtration systems in planes, as well as thorough screening and cleaning practices. Not to mention near-empty flights and social distancing in airplanes, plus everyone wearing masks.
As safe as it may seem, it’s not 100% safe, even if you’re fully vaccinated. And there’s the new Delta Variant to think about too, plus the fact that kids in the Philippines aren’t up in the vaccine roll-call just yet. When traveling with kids, you might want to play it safe, especially during COVID-19.
Here are some safer suggestions for traveling with kids during GCQ:
1. Minimize air travel and go on a road trip
While the idea of having screaming kids in the backseat for a few hours might not sound so great, it’s a lot safer than flying. However, some cities’ travel restrictions may vary, so be sure to have the necessary documents and tests before you hit the road. Read here to see how this mom drove from Manila to Baguio with a toddler and baby in tow.
Risks: Any stop you make (getting gas or going to the bathroom) could put you or your travel companions in contact with other people. If you’re flying, you could spend some time in security checkpoints and lines, which could expose you to the virus. Make sure to keep your distance during your flight and choose days when there are less people flying.
2. Choose a hotel with upgraded cleanliness protocols
Our biggest worry with hotels is that it could be full (or semi-full, rather) of people you don’t know. But here’s the thing: many hotels have upped their safety and cleanliness standards in light of COVID-19. Our tip? Call ahead and make sure the hotel you’re staying at has fully adjusted to the new normal. Peeved that your hotel is requiring you to take an RT-PCR? That’s a good thing, mama! Looking for kid-friendly hotels? Check out our list of all the best staycations in the city, plus this article for awesome deals from our fave hotels.
Risks: Common areas in hotels may expose you to other people. Plus, some hotels are quarantine areas.
3. Book an AirBnB for less interactions
Want a surefire way to avoid people who aren’t in your household while traveling with kids during GCQ? Rent an AirBnb! Not only are they better for families (think of all the extra room to run in… and yes, having a pool all to yourselves!), they can come out more affordable than hotels. Looking for a place to stay? We’ve rounded up our fave family-friendly Airbnbs near Metro Manila. You’re welcome.
Risks: If you’re renting a place with another family, make sure they’re in your GCQ quarantine bubble! If they aren’t, then you might have a problem…
4. Go camping
There’s no better way to encourage a love of all things outdoors than camping. Plus, it’s a great bonding experience for the whole family. Yup, nothing beats sleeping under a starlit sky after roasting marshmallows with your favorite people! We hear some of these places allow camping for kids!
Where to get RT-PCR tests for kids
To keep our unvaccinated kids safe, we recommend getting a home service or drive through RT-PCR test instead of going to a clinic. Yup, the less interaction with other people, the better! But here’s the thing: getting swabbed isn’t the most pleasant experience for kids. Do your part to comfort them before and after getting swabbed. The good news? Some LGUs and establishments allow a spit RT-PCR test in place of your typical swab.
Check our these providers for your home service RT-PCR test for kids:
A Star Laboratories
The folks at A Star Laboratories aim to give you fast and accurate RT-PCR results — you’ll get them in 4-6 hours! Not only do they offer home service, they also have drive thru testing at their affiliated clinic. Whoop for minimal fuss!
We love how easy it is to download the AIDE app and book a service, which includes RT-PCR tests for kids and parents who want to travel during GCQ. Need more than just a COVID-19 test? They also offer physical therapy and vaccinations.
Although relatively more pricey than most, you can count on Hi-Precision to deliver. And yes, their numerous branches means you can totally trust them. Book an appointment via the Hi-Precision app today!
Where should you travel with kids during GCQ?
Want to go to the beach?
There’s no giant sandbar that’s more kid-friendly than Boracay! Unfortunately, you’ll need to hop on a plane to get there, not to mention the transfers you’ll have to do via boat and van.
RT-PCR test required? Yes
Other requirements: You’ll need to submit a filled up health declaration form, get a Boracay Tourist QR code at least 12 hours before departure.
Our go-to for a quick getaway? Batangas! Whether you choose to wind down in Calatagan, Nasugbu or Anilao, there’s a lot to do for families in the area.
RT-PCR test required? Yes, if you’re staying at a hotel.
Other requirements: Many Batangas towns have checkpoints, especially the ones that are more popular with tourists. Have your negative PCR-test ready, as well as a printed copy of your hotel/AirBnB booking.
Want to enjoy the cold mountain air?
Want to enjoy the cold mountain breeze but can’t be bothered to drive to Baguio? Rizal has its share of eco parks, a zoo, and places to enjoy Mother Nature. Read all about them here.
RT-PCR test required? No
If it’s a weekend away with kids during GCQ you’re after, Tagaytay is your best bet. We love how close it is to Metro Manila and how there’s just so many things to do for kids. You’ll be spoilt for choice for the sheer number of AirBnbs in the area!
RT-PCR test required? Yes, if you’re staying in a hotel
Missing the pine trees, ube, strawberry jam, drinking hot chocolate by a roaring fireplace in Baguio? Well, worry not, because families can travel to Baguio again! The best part? The tourist attractions are open, even for kids!
RT-PCR test required? Yes or antigen test, done 72 hours prior to arrival or at the Baguio triage center for a fee
Other requirements: You’ll need to fill up some forms at the Visita Baguio website to get your QTP.
Places recommended by other parents
Need more travel inspo? Online communities such as Pwede Bata on Facebook are filled with updates and GCQ travel experiences of parents. And yes, most of these updates are filled with all the deets you need to know, including latest travel requirements and whether kids are allowed or not. Super useful, we think!
For more ideas, check out our up to date list of all the places to travel and take kids during GCQ.
When it comes to planning your travels with kids during the GCQ, it’s completely normal to be uncomfortable about taking risks all in the name of fun. Exercise caution at all times and know the risks you’ll be putting yourself and your family through. Once you’ve weighed the pros and cons and done all the necessary legwork, at the end of the day, what feels right to you is what matters most.