I was a Locally Stranded Individual (LSI), and let me share with you my experience.
This pandemic brought a lot of change in this world. One of the things that made a big change is how we travel.
I never imagine that the travel we are used to – fast-paced, open borders, easy access travel – will drastically change in just a snap. Even just going home is such a very stressful process.
If you follow me on Instagram, you knew that I am now in my hometown. I am now settled and having a great time with my family. However, I want to share with you my thoughts, realizations, and experience on how I got here.
The Preparation and Requirements
When the pandemic hit the Philippines, I was in Cebu with my sister. We managed to buy foods and supplies that will last us for 2-3 months without going out. We really did plan to hide away from the people (basically the outside world) and avoid the crowd completely.
I have to say that we forgot to include the factor that Filipinos are very stubborn and even though, with strict lockdown protocols, it wouldn’t be the same result as how China did it (as we all know).
P.S: a lot of things happened during the first few months of the Pandemic here in the Philippines, and that is entirely a different story that I cannot tell in this blog. Hahaha.
So we considered going home after spending 3 months in our apartment. We know for sure that we need to go home so we started to process all the requirements.
Please take note that the following requirements are based on our experience during our travel date (August 2020) and the details may change, please contact your city government for specific details.
Locally Stranded Individual (LSI) Requirements:
- 14-Days Certificate of completion from Barangay
- Medical Certificate From City Health
- Travel Authority from Philippine National Police
We visited our Barangay Hall and we filled up forms that contain our details such as our current address, and where we are going.
Our Barangay processed all of the requirements above. We waited for our names to be posted on our Barangay Facebook page to know that we already have those requirements. It took us more than two months to get all the requirements.
The moment we received our travel requirements we contacted our hometown.
Local Government Units (LGU) Checklist:
- Acceptance letter from LGU or Office of the City Mayor
It is important to contact your travel destination if they allow Locally Stranded Individual to enter. For example in our hometown, we have a quarantine facility for Locally Stranded Individual. Sometimes they do not allow Locally Stranded Individual to enter because the quarantine facility can only accommodate a certain number of individuals.
Once they allow you to enter, you will receive an acceptance letter from your LGU or Mayor.
Mode of Transportation
You need to check the requirements of whichever mode of transportation you will use.
In our case, we traveled from Cebu City to Davao City via Cebu Pacific Air. Then a land trip to Tandag City for 6 hours. Here are our requirements:
- Negative RT-PCR (swab) test results taken within 24 to 72 hours from the departure date.
- My father processed his travel authority to get us from Davao City to Tandag City.
Please check the following links for detailed information:
Our Travel Experience
On our travel date, we brought all of our requirements to the airport.
The airport was empty (as expected).
It was a weird sight for me to see the empty halls, vacant seats, and closed restaurants in the airport. The feeling of rush when you travel and spend time in the airport while waiting for your flight was replaced by an eerie feeling. Like the place was familiar but also strange. I guess, this is a sight we all oblige to adapt because of this pandemic.
We had our breakfast and waited for our departure for a couple of hours. During the entire time, we were very cautious about our surroundings. We already got a negative result from our swab test and we wouldn’t want to catch the virus during our flight.
To tell you honestly, I was not feeling well during the entire trip. I was not comfortable at all in our situation and I needed to be VERY careful.
The moment we arrived in Davao City, we followed their protocols strictly. They separated the people with swab test results and those individuals who need it.
We showed our result which was more than 72 hours already (we had our test taken on a Friday, and our flight was on Tuesday. If we took the test on Monday, and our flight will be on the next day, we wouldn’t have any result to show so we took the risk.), so the frontliners proposed that we take another swab test.
We took another swab test, and we waited for our father to pick us up at the airport.
They have a facility for those who are waiting for the swab test result before being released and enter Davao City. They didn’t put us in the facility because we are a Locally Stranded Individual from Surigao del Sur. We do not have any reason to enter Davao City at all.
They emailed the swab test result the next day and thankfully, it was negative.
My father showed the officer his travel authority to pick us up from Davao City to Tandag City. A few police officers escorted us and other vehicles to Davao City borders. I guess they need to make sure that Locally Stranded Individuals outside Davao City are going to their actual destination.
I have to say, that I am very happy with all the process and precautions Davao City did.
We traveled for another almost 6 hours to Tandag City. We stopped by a few Provincial borders and showed our travel authority.
After all those experiences, we finally arrived in our hometown, and we did a 14-day mandatory quarantine.
I realized that no matter how stressful and complicated the whole process of going home was, it was all WORTH IT.
Being with my family during this crisis is such a blessing and all I could do is just to be grateful. I think all we need is to see the beauty in the little things we currently have and to remember that this pandemic shall pass. We can all surpass this and one day, the world we knew, will even be more amazing.