Travel Lokal in the ‘New Normal’

Despite more than two months of community quarantine and minimal venturing into the outside world—mostly on supply runs—majority of us are fighting cabin fever humoring our predicament and making the most of our downtime. In our minds, we are still living out our wanderlust through reading books, binge-watching, learning online courses, writing and whatever that may stir the pot of our creativity.

Can't wait to hit the road? You shall be back on the road soon  (On a bus somewhere in Southern, Cebu)
Itching to go back to travel we started to look at each corner of our homes as destinations itself. There’s the Las Kusinas, Santa Bedroom, Los Salas, Costa Balcony, Rotonda De Sofa and airport terminals such as the LVG (living room), PAT (Patio), DNR (dining room), BKY (backyard) and BTH (bathroom).

As the old saying goes, “A thousand journeys always starts at home”. I came to realize that I should go back exploring my own home consisting of more than 7,600 islands. My backyard with airport codes such as: BCD, CGY, DGT, DVO, GES, ILO, KLO, CEB, PPS and more.

Tara! Travel lokal muna tayo

Some of my fondest memories of traveling was during the early 2010’s when I was just starting to take my wonder of exploration outside the four corners of my home and office. These are holidays with my then girlfriend to Coron in Palawan to Davao. Solo trips to Cebu, Bohol, Dumaguete, Bacolod. Birthday trips with friends to Cagayan de Oro. Backpacking Mindanao with my (another then) girlfriend to Cotabato City, Pagadian, Coron (again), El Nido and Iligan.

View from Kayangan Lake (Coron, Palawan)
More than 70 provinces later and my desire to explore my own country took a backseat for a few years, as I directed my curiosity to exploring our neighbors in Asia.

In front of the Golden Mosque in Cotabato City
But as the Covid-19 pandemic puts a giant question mark to international traveling—also placing my planned return to my favorite country of India (second to Philippines, of course) next year in doubt—I realized this is also an opportunity to re-explore and re-acquaint myself to my country by visiting more local destinations in the hopefully soon-to-be post pandemic world. 

Gorge on local cuisines like the curacha crabs of Zamboanga City
Right now as I write this, my mind is already wandering to places I want to visit again and provinces I want to step foot for the first time. Other than reading about a Covid-19 vaccine being discovered, I look forward to continuing my passion for traveling.


I owe a lot of my past travels to Cebu Pacific. I am one of the many Juans who was able to book flight tickets for a cheap—especially during their much-awaited piso sales. They made air travel affordable for many Filipinos. I grew up thinking only our rich neighbors can fly to Cebu to witness the Sinulog Festival or to Davao to get a taste of Durian fruit or to Caticlan to swim in the clear waters of Boracay.

A participant in the Ati-Atihan Festival in Kalibo, Aklan (held every January)
After learning that Cebu Pacific Air is introducing guidelines to deal with the “new normal” of flying, my desire to travel was rejuvenated. When they made a promise that “Every Juan Will Fly Again”, the cabin fever I’m having right now after 80-plus days of community quarantine, suddenly becomes bearable as I look forward to the “new normal” with renewed hope.

Recently, Cebu Pacific implemented a new set of measures to ensure ‘contactless flights’ adhering to the social-distancing needed in halting transmission of the Covid-19 virus.

These measures will start from guaranteeing safety on ground where all Cebu Pacific staff will wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs). Others include:

Self-check in and contactless boarding

Prior to their flights, passengers are strongly advised to check-in online for faster processing and lesser human contact. Upon boarding, passengers will hold out their boarding passes with the bar-code facing the airline staff, for touch less scanning. 

Changes in in-flight experience

Wearing face masks will be mandatory for all passengers for the duration of the flight. Middle seats will be kept vacant as much as possible to give way for social distancing on board.

Rapid crew testing before flights

Pilots and cabin crew members will undergo rapid antibody testing before boarding their flights. They will be given their own PPEs to be worn on duty.

Keeping cabin air clean and safe

The airline’s fleet of Airbus jets are equipped with High Efficiency Particulate Arrestor (HEPA) filters to block microscopic bacteria and virus clusters, including the Novel CoronaVirus, with 99.9% efficiency.

Intensified aircraft cleaning measures

The airline has also put in effect thorough daily disinfection of all aircraft which follows procedures approved by the Bureau of Quarantine and World Health Organization.

Second Wave of its More Fun in the Philippines

Many industries are suffering right now. The tourism industry took one of the biggest hits. While it will be reckless to continue traveling without practicing required safety measures, it is also doable to help the tourism industry get back on its feet by traveling sensibly. More than ever, we need to travel responsibly nowadays, not only as respect to Mother Nature, but also to our fellow human beings.

See you again soon, Mayon
To learn more about the "new normal" of traveling around the Philippines, check out this informative article: The New Normal for Travel and Tourism in the Philippines put up by Kapwa Travel—one of the country's leading tour operator.

Remember, that we mustn’t cower in fear, but at the same time respect our unseen enemy. In the grace of good karma, the “new normal will still gift us with memorable travel experiences.

Safe travels, everyone.