Since the start of the lockdown in March, I had no choice but to remain in Cebu City for a number of months because of the travel restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. It was only around August, when the MECQ status was temporarily lifted, that I decided to start processing the requirements so that I can travel home. However, I would not be traveling to Bacolod where I’m from but instead, I chose to travel to my grandparents’ house in Bohol.
Fortunately, after two months, I am now in Bohol and for the LSIs who are still stuck in Cebu, I am writing this Cebu to Bohol travel guide for you. So that if you decide to travel, you have an idea about the whole process from gathering your travel requirements up to the end of your 7-day self-quarantine.
Table of Contents
Gathering your travel requirements
The first thing you should do if you wish to travel from Cebu to Bohol is to get in touch with your LGU (Local Government Unit) in Bohol. Here is the list of the different contact numbers of each LGU. Notify them that you are an LSI and wish to travel to Bohol. Most likely, they will then provide you with the list of travel requirements you must gather before they can issue your Letter of Acceptance and Endorsement Letter. These are the Barangay Clearance, Medical Certificate, and the Travel Authority documents.
Cebu to Bohol Travel Requirements:
- Barangay Clearance
- Medical Certificate
- Travel Authority (COVID Shield document)
- Letter of Acceptance
- Endorsement Letter
Depending on which barangay you are located in Cebu, for the Barangay Clearance, Medical Certificate, and the Travel Authority, you can all get these from the Barangay Hall. In my experience, you will not be paying for any of these documents. You will be asked to fill out some forms and once you’ve submitted those, you will need to wait around 1-2 weeks before the documents are released to you.
When you have the three documents, contact your LGU in Bohol again and let them know that your requirements are now complete. This is when they will send you your Letter of Acceptance and Endorsement Letter. With all your requirements complete, the LGU will then provide you your travel date, time, and which ferry you’ll be on. Note that you will be paying for the ferry ticket, not the LGU.
Submitting your travel requirements to the Coast Guard
Once you have all your travel requirements and date of travel, before you can purchase a ticket, you need to have all your documents stamped by the PCG or Philippine Coast Guard. Head to the Cebu City Pier 1 and just outside the main gate, there will be some canopies there where the coast guards will be sitting. They won’t be hard to miss as there should also be other passengers lining up. Make sure to have two photocopies of all your documents and your valid ID as the coast guard will be keeping these.
Purchasing a ferry ticket
After your requirements are stamped, head to the designated ticketing office to purchase your ticket. In my case, the ferry I was assigned to was Lite Shipping so I headed to their main ticketing office at M.J. Cuenco Avenue which is a short taxi ride from the pier. When it’s your turn at the ticketing counter, make sure to notify the staff the travel date and time that was assigned to you by your LGU. They may or may not check your travel requirements but have them ready just in case.
Upon receiving your ticket, you are now one step closer to traveling home. All that is left now is to ride the ferry from Cebu to Bohol.
Riding the ferry
Make sure to get to the ferry terminal hours before your scheduled trip. Although you may already have a ticket, I heard that there was an instance where some passengers were left behind because their ferry boat was either already full or that it left early. In any case, try to get to the terminal at least 3 hours before your trip just to be safe. My scheduled trip was at 10:00 PM but I was already at the pier by 7:00 PM.
Keep in mind that you must wear a face mask and face shield before you can enter the passenger terminal and the ferry. However, you do not necessarily need to keep the face shield on when you’re already aboard the ship. For the sleeping arrangement, you are free to choose which bed as long as there’s a vacant bed between you and the closest passenger.
Arriving at Bohol and disembarking the ferry
The ferry travel time from Cebu to Bohol for Lite Shipping took about 5 hours. Upon docking, passengers are not allowed to disembark until the service sent by their LGU has arrived or unless they are asked to do so by the ship’s crew. You will also need to fill out a piece of paper called PPE Entry Protocol which will be provided by the crew. When you do disembark, all your bags will be sprayed by personnel wearing PPE suits. If you have a laptop or tablet and your bag isn’t water-resistant, make sure to take those out as they can get wet.
After your bags have been washed, head to the registration booth where you will submit the paper that you just filled out while you were on the ferry. If your service hasn’t arrived yet, you will be asked to take a seat and wait for them to arrive.
Start of your 14-day quarantine
When the service sent by your LGU has arrived, you will be transported to the designated quarantine facility. Usually, this is at a school in your area. If you’ve requested to be quarantined at a hotel (this is an expensive option but if you do wish to stay at a hotel, make sure to let your LGU know after you’ve received your Letter of Acceptance), you will be transported there instead. The first day of your quarantine will start the next day and not on the day of your arrival.
In regards to your food, your relatives will be the ones to provide those and there’s a schedule of when they should bring your breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For those who opted for a hotel, in most cases, the hotel will be the ones who’ll provide your meals.
Shortening your quarantine
If you wish to shorted your quarantine to 7 days, you can opt for a swab test instead of a rapid test. However, if you aren’t an active member of PhilHealth, you will need to pay ₱4,500. If you are an active member, it is covered but they will ask for an MDR (Member Data Record) so make sure to bring one along if you do plan to take the swab test.
Once your facility/hotel quarantine ends and you are tested negative, your LGU will once again pick you up and transport you to your house. From there, you aren’t allowed to go outside for 7 days. After 7 days, someone from your LGU or local RHU Center will head to your home and provide you with the Certificate of Completion as proof that you have successfully completed your quarantine. You will be needing this document whenever you decide to travel again.
So that was my full guide for those who wish to travel from Cebu to Bohol amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. I hope that you’ve found it useful and if you need to summarize it all up, I’ve provided some bullet points below for all the steps that I mentioned in this article. Anyways, safe travels and until my next travel guide!
Steps to travel from Cebu to Bohol:
- Contact your home LGU that you are an LSI in Cebu
- Gather all necessary requirements/documents
- Ask your home LGU for a travel date and time
- Have all your requirements stamped by the coast guard
- Purchase your ferry ticket
- Ride the ferry to Bohol
- Complete your 14-day quarantine at a facility or hotel
- Complete your 7-day quarantine at home