Baguio opens cautiously to 200 Region 1 visitors on guided tour

Embarking on a do-it-yourself tour of Baguio City will not yet be allowed during its calibrated reopening to tourists next week, Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong announced Friday.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong (JJ Landingin / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)
Mayor Benjamin Magalong (JJ Landingin / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

According to Magalong, the initial batch of 200 visitors from Ilocos region must be booked on guided tours or travel itineraries of the city.

Baguio City, the country’s summer capital known for its cool breeze, will allow a limited number of tourists from Region 1 starting September 22 subject to certain health protocols. 

"Gusto ko lang klaruhin na iyong pag-open natin sa September 22 and probably for the next few weeks, ito ay limited lang sa Region I (I want to clarify that our reopening on September 22 and probably for the next few weeks will be limited to Region 1)," Magalong said during a televised press briefing Friday.

"These will be guided tours. Wala pa ho tayo doon sa tinatawag natin na DYI tourist or Do-It-Yourself tourist. Later on ho saka ho natin bubuksan kapag nakita na ho natin na confident na tayo sa pag-manage ng ating mga turista (These will be guided tours. We won't allow DYI tourists or do-it-yourself tourist. Later on, we will further open once we are confident in managing the tourist traffic)," he said.

Magalong explained that the reopening of Baguio to visits will be gradual as a precaution against the spread of the coronavirus illness. He said only a "manageable" number of visitors will be allowed as they study the "new normal" of the tourism industry.

"We will start gradually in a very calibrated manner and that is the reason why we are going to start with just 200," he said. "We’re still trying to learn. Bago ho ito sa atin (This is new to us). We’ve never experienced this before," he said.

Under Baguio's health rules, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said visitors must register online, show proof of hotel reservation before going to the City of Pines. Visitors will also be subjected to health protocols such as coronavirus tests.

"Magiging modelo po kasi ang Baguio kung paano po dapat buksan muli ang turismo (Baguio will be the model on how to reopen the tourism sector)," he said.