If you’re planning to travel within the Philippines — to one of the officially reopened destinations, of course — you’ll probably need to undergo an RT-PCR test to make sure you’re safe from Covid-19. To help leisure travelers along, the Philippine Tourism Promotions Board offers subsidized RT-PCR tests to Filipinos and foreigners living in the Philippines.
If you’re qualified for the 50% subsidy, you may end up paying an affordable rate of about P700 (at the Philippine Children’s Medical Center) to P900 (at the Philippine General Hospital) — which really helps, especially if you’re traveling as a family.
There are requirements and guidelines, and pre-registration is necessary to qualify for the subsidized RT-PCR tests. You can check the DOT’s SafeTrip page for details, but here’s what you need to know about getting a schedule for the subsidized swab testing:
Step 1: Register at tpb.gov.ph/rtpcrphtravel five days before your planned departure date.
You will be asked to choose between two testing sites — either the Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) in Ermita, Manila, or the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) in Quezon City). Once you’ve chosen a site, you’ll be asked to fill up a form that includes your destination. In order to be approved for the test, the destination must be declared open to leisure tourists — you can check on the DOT’s SafeTravel page.
You’ll also be asked to upload the following supporting documents:
- Copies of two valid government-issued IDs. These need to be clear, and in either PDF or image formats. Files must be 10MB or less.
- Copy of confirmed hotel booking. Bookings must only be made with DOT-accredited accommodation properties. Again, this must be clear, in PDF or image formats, and under 10MB.
- Copy of roundtrip transportation tickets if applicable (airline/bus tickets). The name of the traveler and travel dates must be reflected in the ticket, along with the booking reference number. You know the drill: clear, PDF/image format, under 10MB file size.
Step 2: Wait for approval
The Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) will evaluate the documents and inform you of the status of application within a reasonable time. Note that each of the hospitals can only accommodate a limited number of COVID-19 RT-PCR tests per day, so applications will be on a first-come, first-served basis.
Step 3: Fill up the Client Investigation Form
Approved applications will receive an email for further instructions on filling up the Client Investigation Form (CIF) — UP-PGH will email the log-in credentials for their CIF site (cif.pgh.gov.ph), while PCMC has a downloadable form that can be emailed to email@example.com.
Step 4: Wait for a schedule for the swab test
After the CIF has been submitted, travelers will receive a schedule for swab testing. Only those who have submitted the CIF and who have received confirmation of swab test schedule will be accommodated. Walk-in requests shall be strictly denied.
Step 5: Get tested on the scheduled date
Travelers with approved applications must be at the testing center on their confirmed date of swab testing. Failure to show up on the scheduled date will mean forfeiture of the 50% COVID19 RT-PCR subsidy.
Step 6: Wait for the results over email
Expect the Covid-19 RT-PCR test result to be sent to your email within 24 hours.