It has been more than two years since I traveled outside the country after the unexpected global pandemic lockdown in March of 2020. It also changed the course of my day-to-day living. I was a business owner and travel junkie visiting mostly Asian countries every quarter during the pre-pandemic years. When the pandemic hit, I tried to keep my sanity intact by going back to the corporate world and accepting an acting gig for a digital commercial. I had to adjust to staying at home for a long time since no leisure travel was allowed, even outside the metro.
Year 2022 started awfully with a surge in cases due to the Omicron variant; but soon, alert levels went down because of the gradual drop in Covid transmission. I hope this would be sustained in the coming months. I began to see light at the end of the tunnel when the Philippines eased its travel restrictions to foreigners. Soon, other countries eased or lifted restrictions allowing foreigners to once again step foot in their land.
When Singapore announced the opening of its border to tourists, I was among thousands of Filipinos excited to finally restart life as a travel enthusiast. I could now continue my own version of the Amazing Race in Asia.
Finally, during the most recent Lenten week, while most Filipinos went to nearby beaches to enjoy the start of summer, I flew to the Lion City of Asia. Here are the changes I experienced traveling as a tourist to Singapore in this post-pandemic season, from airport departure to exploring its tourism attractions.
Get ready for more requirements
Before, you just simply book, pack, and fly to your destination country for your well-deserved vacation. But in this post-pandemic era, you have to research well (and even ask around) to check the travel requirements since these can change on a day-to-day basis.
For Singapore, it is advisable to check the website of the Singapore’s Immigration and Checkpoints Authority. It has a TravelSafe website (safetravel.ica.gov.sg) that has a complete information of all the requirements Filipino visitors must have in order to enter the country. I also advise you to follow the social media sites of the country you will be visiting (in this case, Singapore tourism and immigration) so you are constantly updated with the latest news.
Check your documents well
Before Covid, you just need to present your roundtrip tickets, hotel booking confirmation, passport, and visa (if applicable). But today, you will need a lot of patience because of the additional requirements like swab test (no longer required for SG tourists starting April 26), Covid insurance (no longer needed for SG tourist beginning April 26), vaccination travel pass, vaccination certificate, and contact tracing apps (note: Negative antigen test result and one health pass [QR Pass] is required before going back to Philippines).
Again, it is advisable to always check the websites of government authorities so you and your travel buddies will not encounter any hassles and inconvenience. You don’t want a missing document to ruin your entire holiday experience.
Allot more time for airport check in
Two to three hours before departure is not enough. In this post-pandemic era, you have to arrive at the airport at least four to five hours before your flight. There are now a lot of airport checkpoints and checking of Covid-related travel documents that will definitely eat up time.
After more than three hours of air travel, I finally reached Changi Airport. I was always enamored by this airport and it is no wonder that it is one of the world’s best airports. In this post-pandemic era, the whole airport process for tourists – picking up luggage, lining up at immigration, etc. – remained efficient and stress-free.
Rediscover a recovering tourism scene
As I explored Singapore for five days, I noticed that tourism was getting back in shape. Many foreigners, including Filipino tourists, explored Singapore’s popular tourist spots such as Marina Bay Sands, Merlion, Sentosa, Clarke Quay, Gardens by the Bay, Bugis Street, Little India, Chinatown, and Arab Street. Almost all tourist spots were packed with locals and foreigners, all enjoying the freedom taken away because of the two-year travel lockdown.
After uploading my Singapore travel vlog on my YouTube channel, it has gained 7,000-plus views already in just a few days. My engagement analytics on Facebook and YouTube also went up as well as my viewers were significantly engaged in asking about the travel requirements and guides for Singapore.
This only shows how Filipinos missed traveling and Singapore, by far, is still a very popular destination for us.
On a final note, I enjoyed my Singapore trip because it gave me excitement and an adrenaline rush to explore the world again. They say that one must travel while your feet can and not deprive yourself of investing in experiences.
I wouldn’t forget the smiles of small business owners I met in hawker centers and Bugis street who were severely affected by the global health pandemic. The smiles of locals and tourists are signs of hope that businesses could now bounce back. We may never return back to the good ‘ol days, but this hard reset made us all realize the importance of our planet’s sustainability, the fragility of our lives (that we must make the most of it each day), and the wonderful therapy that travel can bring to our wellbeing and sanity. To more travels and more “wander-ful” memories!