Baguio City to accept tourists from Region 1 starting Sept. 22

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 18 2020 12:03 PM | Updated as of Sep 18 2020 06:45 PM

Burnham Park, April 15, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE)— Tourist favorite Baguio City will start accepting guests from neighboring Ilocos region on Sept. 22, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Friday.

Residents of Region 1 who wish to visit Baguio City, known as the Philippines' summer capital because of its cool weather, should register online and show proof of a hotel reservation, Roque said following an inspection of precautionary protocols Baguio has set up.

"Beginning Sept. 22, our city of Baguio will be open para sa mga bisita galing sa Region 1 (for visitors from Region 1)," he said.

"You can come and enjoy the city of Pines," he added.

Baguio will welcome an initial batch of 200 tourists whose trips will be guided by accredited tour coordinators, its mayor Benjamin Magalong said.

"This will be guided tours. Wala pa po tayo doon sa tinatawag na DIY (do-it-yourself) tourists," Magalong said in a press briefing.

For now, Magalong said the Baguio city government wants to welcome only a "manageable" number of tourists to keep COVID-19 from spreading.

"We're still trying to learn. Bago it sa atin (this is new to us). We've never experienced this before," Magalong said.

Magalong earlier said the local government would use the VIS.I.T.A app or the Visitors Information and Tourist Assistance app to manage the arrival of tourists.

He added that they will be working closely with the Department of Tourism and the private sector, particularly tour operators to control and manage visiting tourists. 

Tourists also need to subject themselves to either a swab test or antigen test.