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Heritage sites, beaches reopen in Ilocos Norte, but only 50 visitors allowed daily

/ 04:20 AM October 07, 2020

WIND POWER The Bangui wind farm, which features a row of giant turbines that harness wind to produce clean energy, has become a top attraction in Ilocos Norte. The province has started opening some of its tourist spots after more than six months of community lockdown. —WILLIE LOMIBAO

LAOAG CITY, Ilocos Norte, Philippines — Tourist sites in Ilocos Norte were reopened on Oct. 1, but only a maximum of 50 tourists daily would be accommodated, according to the provincial tourism office.

Visitors must take the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests not earlier than 48 hours before their arrival, preregister online to get a tourist pass, and book their stay with accredited travel agencies and tour operators.

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Heritage sites, beaches and selected museums are among the sites allowed to accept guests on a “first-come-first-served basis” in Ilocos Norte, which is part of the “Ridge and Reef” travel corridor with Baguio City and other provinces in the Ilocos region.Gov. Matthew Manotoc said the reopening of tourist sites would be gradual and safe, noting that it remained to be in the “exploratory phase.”

“This is the culmination of many months of so much hard work. We know that unforeseen things will occur so we try to place all safeguards as much as we can,” Manotoc said during the inauguration of the provincial tourist triage center in Pinili town.

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He said the revival of the local tourism industry would benefit families and businesses that rely on it.

In Pangasinan province, which is also part of the so-called tourism bubble in the region, tourists have yet to come in droves.

Miguel Sison, Alaminos City tourism officer, said the age restriction for travelers had prevented tourists from going to the Hundred Islands National Park. The Department of Tourism prohibits those age 60 and above and 21 and below from traveling.

Sison said the province could only accept residents in the region as tourists, “preventing the industry from going full blast.”

Yolanda Sotelo

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TAGS: coronavirus pandemic, coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19, Ilocos Norte tourism, travel restrictions
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