Gray Matter


The Pandemic Won’t Let Me Go Home to the Philippines

pandemicI don’t want to sound like I’m whining, but I can’t help myself. The pandemic and the restrictions put into place by the country of the Philippines keeps me from going home. In 2006, I consciously decided to make the Philippines my home, never expecting to return to the United States for any great length of time. Things didn’t turn out that way, obviously.

Pandemic Quarantines

For months, the Filipino citizens have had to endure various levels of community quarantines. At one point, it was so bad that people couldn’t leave their residences without special passes from their barangay (neighborhood) headquarters.

Some of the more Draconian measures are still in place in some of the more heavily populated areas. The procedures for travelers coming from the United States by air make absolutely no sense for those of us who are already vaccinated.

Air Travel Quarantine Procedures

I can honestly say that I wouldn’t have a problem with the procedures if they made sense, even at extra cost. The testing measures make absolutely no sense and the amount I would have to spend beyond that for both me and my wife, Josie, isn’t something I trust to be what it should be.

There are several sources of information I peruse at least once a week, including the COVID-19 Information page from the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines. I’m waiting for the time to come when these procedures are removed, so I can head home without consequences.

According to all the sources, including a few Facebook posts on the matter, the procedure goes something like this:

The quarantine facilities have to be approved by the Philippines government, and they update the list once or twice a month. To set this all up, I would have to use a travel agency here in the United States familiar with the procedures. If you add up all the details, including the ordering of food to be brought into the quarantine facilities, it could end up costing more than three times the prices of the tickets to fly there (under $2000 USD for the two of us into Manila).

Vaccination is the Key

According to the charts at Our World in Data, less than 10 percent of the Philippines population is vaccinated. Compare that to more than 50 percent in the United States. I read (or heard) somewhere that the Philippines wouldn’t remove the restrictions until they reach at least 30 percent in vaccinations. Unfortunately, it’s taking longer than it should because many Filipinos are refusing the vaccinations.

I have my fingers and my toes crossed that I’ll be able to return to the Philippines in January 2022. While I have nothing against living with my children and their families, it’s nothing like living under my own roof.

Author: RT Cunningham
Date: July 12, 2021 (UTC)
Categories: Travel

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