Another good news for local travelers! Domestic tourists who wish to travel for tourism purposes can avail of the subsidized RT-PCR test at PCMC (Philippine Children’s Medical Center) for PhP750 only.

Two weeks ago, I posted on my blog that leisure tourists can avail of the RT-PCR test for PhP900 only at the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH). To encourage safe travel and make the swab test even more affordable for local travelers, the Department of Tourism (DOT) through the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) Philippines has partnered with another COVID-19 RT-PCR testing facility, the Philippine Children's Medical Center (PCMC), to subsidize 50% of the testing cost. From PhP1,500, qualified domestic tourists will only pay P750 for the swab test at PCMC. 

If you're interested to apply for the subsidy program, see the guidelines and application process below.

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UPDATE as March 4, 2021: Effective March 5, 2021, the application for subsidized swab test with PCMC has been temporarily suspended as the number of approved applications has already reached the allocated slots for the subsidy. Click here to read the notice posted on the Facebook page of Tourism Promotions Board (TPB).

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GUIDELINES AND HOW TO APPLY:

1. At least five (5) days before the intended travel date, the tourist must register online at https://www.tpb.gov.ph/rtpcrphtravel/ and indicate a travel destination that is declared open to leisure tourists.

2. Applicants must attach the following supporting documents:

  • Copy of two (2) valid government-issued IDs
  • Copy of confirmed hotel booking
  • Copy of round-trip transportation tickets if applicable (airline/bus/ferry tickets)

3. The Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) shall evaluate the documents and inform the tourist of the status of application within a reasonable time.

4. Approved applicants will receive a Client Investigation Form (CIF) together with approval notice. Please fill up this properly and completely and submit to pcmcdotcovid@gmail.com.

5. Once the CIF has been submitted, PCMC will notify the approved applicant of the schedule for swab testing. Only those who have submitted the CIF online and who have received confirmation of the swab test schedule will be accommodated.

6. PCMC shall endeavor to send the COVID-19 RT-PCR test result via email within 24 hours from the conduct of the swab test.

IMPORTANT REMINDERS:

1. PCMC can only accommodate to conduct 100 COVID-19 RT-PCR tests per day. Thus, applications will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

2. PCMC only accepts cash payment for RT-PCR testing.

3. Valid government-issued IDs are the following: Driver’s license, Passport, PRC license, PhilPost ID, UMID, SSS, Voter’s ID, TIN ID, PhilHealth ID, PWD ID, and Senior Citizen ID.

4. You may apply earlier than the five (5) day period prior to your departure date. However, if your destination requires a swab test taken within 72 hours, you will be scheduled for swabbing three (3) days before your travel date.

5. The address of PCMC testing site is Gate 3, Philippine Children’s Medical Center, Agham Road, Diliman, Quezon City.

6. Foreigners living in the Philippines may avail of the subsidy as long as the purpose of domestic travel is for leisure tourism. You must be able to submit proof/s of your residence in the Philippines upon registration. Submitted requirements will be evaluated by the Screening Committee.

7. Accommodation through Airbnb is not accepted. The Guidelines provide that only bookings made with DOT-accredited accommodation properties are qualified for the RT-PCR subsidy.

8. For clarification regarding the status of your application, you can send an email to phtravel@tpb.gov.ph.

The subsidy with PCMC provides local tourists another less expensive option to have their RT-PCR test as part of the travel requirements for many local destinations. UP-PGH is located in Manila while PCMC is located in Quezon City so tourists may choose to avail of the subsidy at the testing facility more accessible to them.

Through this partnership, DOT aims to encourage more domestic tourists to travel locally. Local destinations that are now open to welcome tourists that require negative RT-PCR test result include Bohol, Boracay and Palawan. Like the subsidy with UP-PGH, this is also limited and will benefit 11,600 domestic tourists.

The subsidy program is also part of the Safe Bangon Turismo campaign to support the Philippine tourism industry that has been severely affected by the pandemic.

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My Personal Experience

I was able to avail of the subsidized swab test at PCMC for my recent trips to Siargao and Boracay which both require the RT-PCR test as part of the travel requirements. Let me share the timeline of events from application to release of results just to give you an idea of the whole process.

Departure date: January 31, 2021
Destination: Siargao

January 24 - Applied online and after a few minutes, I received an automatic email from TPB that my online registration was successful.
January 27 - I received an email that our application has been approved and our names will be endorsed to PCMC 3 days before our travel date.
January 28 - I received an email from PCMC about our testing schedule. We also filled out and sent back the CIF that we were required to submit on the same day.
January 29 - Went to PCMC for our swab test scheduled at 9AM. The only requirement during the testing is a valid ID. We also paid the P750 on the same day.
January 30 - Received the result of RT-PCR test around 9:02AM via email.

Departure date: March 8, 2021
Destination: Boracay

March 3 - Applied online but this time, I chose UP-PGH to be my testing facility. After a few minutes (at 12:05AM), I received an acknowledgement email saying my registration was successful. On the same day (at 2:41PM), I received an email that my application was approved. However, I was informed that my name will be endorsed to PCMC instead. It appears that UP-PGH has reached the quota of 150 tourists on the day of my swab test.
March 5 - My application was endorsed to PCMC and later that day, I received an email from PCMC about my swab testing schedule. I also filled out and sent back the CIF on the same day.
March 6 - Went to PCMC for my swab test scheduled at 11AM. This time, aside from a valid ID, PCMC required a printed copy of the CIF.
March 7 - I received my RT-PCR test result via email at 6:26PM.


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