More Singapore businesses re-opening in phase 2 from Friday

Here’s great news to quietly celebrate within groups of maximum five people. With the number of cases stabilizing in Singapore, the country will move into post-circuit breaker phase 2 from Friday, June 19.

Sharing an infographic from the Straits Times which has more details.

The government is also highly recommending that working from home continue to be the default for businesses that are able to do so. Retail stores are opening from Friday and this is generally good news for businesses on the road to recovery.

Other things happening is that Singapore is gradually re-opening itself again to neighboring countries. There’s a “fast lane” for essential travel between China and Singapore. Countries like New Zealand and Vietnam which have little or no cases will have different SHN or stay-home notices allowing returning LTVP or long-term visit pass holders to serve their notice at their own desired location (at their home, etc.) instead of government-designated facilities. These are interesting developments.

The Philippines is not on that list. As of this writing, all returning LTVP holders from the Philippines will serve their 14-day SHN in government-designated facilities.

Tourists or STVP (short term visit pass) are still not allowed into Singapore.

What are you looking forward to doing in phase 2?

Weekly flights to Manila on Philippine Airlines resume from June 12

After Singapore’s circuit breaker and the Philippines’ community quarantines, Philippine Airlines is restoring a few of its international and domestic routes starting this month.

For those of us in Singapore, Philippine Airlines will be able to ferry us back home on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays effective June 12. These are on PR 507/508.

It’s a relief to have my favorite and preferred airline available again for flights to the Philippines. These are subject to change depending largely on the Covid-19 situation in both countries. Learn about Philippine Airlines’ restoration of selected flights here.

Covid-19: Repatriation flights to Manila from Singapore

This situation is developing.

If you’re an unfortunate soul that has to travel during this period, I can only imagine the anxiety. Luckily, I found a new job a few weeks ago which can keep me in Singapore. The thought of having to travel during this period is very stressful. I was anxious over travel restrictions due to the pandemic.

However, don’t lose hope. It is possible to go home to the Philippines. This is my action plan if I were going home during this period:

  • Check with the airline on flight availability. I’ve listed below what I understand are available options for flights between Singapore and the Philippines. Currently, it’s limited.
  • Understand the travel situation both in Singapore and the Philippines. As of this writing, Singapore Changi Airport has already closed two of its four terminals (T2 for renovation and T4 for reduced travel during this time). Understand that traveling will take longer so this means checking in extra early. Understand that you will be subject to testing and quarantine upon arrival in the Philippines. A fellow OFW shares her experience making the journey from Singapore to Manila here.
  • Prepare for the journey. Face mask, hand sanitizer, cash on hand, etc. I even suggest packing light snacks (Skyflakes!) because of the possibility of limited food options available at the airports.

As of 23 May 2020, this is the current status of Singapore and the Philippines.

SingaporePhilippines
Circuit Breaker until June 1, 2020 – the country will re-open in 3 calculated phases from June 2Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) in Metro Manila, Laguna, and Cebu / Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) or General Community Quarantine (GCQ) elsewhere outside MECQ areas

Important: The Embassy of the Philippines in Singapore organizes repatriation flights for Filipino citizens and OFWs. Please check the Embassy’s Facebook for the latest announcements here. With Circuit Breaker ending soon, more flights may appear from June and July.

Flights to the Philippines from Singapore

AirlineFlights to the Philippines
Philippine AirlinesAll PAL domestic and international flights are cancelled until May 31, 2020.
Our flag carrier PAL is operating limited repatriation flights. Learn more here.
Cebu PacificAll CebPac domestic and international flights are cancelled until May 31, 2020.
Singapore AirlinesAccording to SQ, reduced flights are available between Singapore and Manila. Please visit this page to learn more.
Jetstar AsiaAccording to Jetstar from an update in April, temporary flights are available from Singapore to Manila. Details here.
ScootAccording to Scoot, there are no Scoot flights to the Philippines through to June.

Flights to Singapore from the Philippines

  • Flights are very limited as of this writing.
  • It is understood that Singapore is not accepting short term visitors or tourists during this period. Likewise, it is understood that the Philippines is currently not allowing international travel for Filipinos for tourism purposes. I mean, who wants to play tourist these days?! Watch YouTube.
  • Singapore’s Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) provides guidance on re-entry for those with Long Term Visit Pass (LTVP), STP, IPAs, etc. Please check here.
  • Even with proper documents, a rule of thumb is that for re-entry, prior approval from ICA is required before you commence your journey. Please check with ICA!
  • Also worth bookmarking: Ministry of Manpower and Ministry of Health for the latest advisories.

Those are the resources I’d bookmark. Get your information from these trusted resources (Philippine Embassy in Singapore, government websites, and airline websites) instead of hearsay.

It’s a stressful time but hang in there and keep safe!

Have you made the journey or traveled during this Covid-19 pandemic? Share your experience and tips in the comments.

Photo by Ina Carolino on Unsplash

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What Filipinos can do at home during Singapore’s circuit breaker

In this post, I write about what Filipinos can do in Singapore during the circuit breaker.

Many places around the world are in lockdown due to the pandemic. Singapore is no exception since it began the circuit breaker period on April 7, 2020. As of this writing, circuit breaker will end on June 1, 2020 with the re-opening of business in phases.

First of all, stay home!

With exception to going out for exercise from your household solo, stay at home. Stay at home. Stay at home. Be safe. Here are some suggestions on what you can do.

Learn new recipes with Panlasang Pinoy

Since circuit breaker began, I’ve brushed up on my cooking skills by watching my favorite Filipino cook on YouTube, Vanjo Merano. The way he explains recipes is clear and easy to understand. Subscribe to his YouTube channel here if you haven’t yet.

If you must exercise, do it at the nearest park.

Of course, with all the food you’ll be cooking and eating… keeping healthy means keeping fit with exercise. We’re lucky that during circuit breaker, we’re still allowed to leave our homes for essentials and solo exercise. Remember to follow all government rules during this period like wearing a mask if you’re not exercising. Jog solo and NOT with your housemates (yes, we Filipinos tend to live together in houses). Bring your mask with you and your EZ-Link card in case you somehow jog too far. At best, please try to stay within your neighborhood. If you’re going to the park, you can check if it’s crowded using this NParks safe distancing tracker.

Connect with friends and family back home

During this circuit breaker period, I’ve connected with my friends and family in the Philippines. I recently had a call with my college friends, high school friends, and family. My brother even organized a virtual lunch one Sunday so my partner and I can eat together with my family.

Put together a balikbayan box to send stuff back home

With the downtime, it’s also a period you can declutter things you’ve accumulated over the years in Singapore. If you have shoes, bags, and articles of clothing you can send back to the Philippines… use this period to assemble a balikbayan box and have it shipped. Shipping is an essential service. You can learn more on the LBC website.

Support a charity or charitable organisation

Many of us in Singapore are blessed to have jobs and a work pass. While we provide for our loved ones, let’s not forget we can also provide help for charitable organizations both in the Philippines and Singapore. In Singapore, you can look at supporting HOME or give.asia which provides assistance to migrant workers. In the Philippines, ABS-CBN Foundation has a donation drive called “Pantawid ng Pag-ibig” (Bridge of Love) which is calling for donations in the fight against Covid-19. Learn more about ABS-CBN’s initiative here.

It’s important to stay healthy and safe during the circuit breaker. As a Filipino on an employment pass in Singapore, there’s an added layer of stress of not wanting to make the simple mistake of being in a crowded place or being caught without a mask. Please follow all government advisories and stay updated. During circuit breaker, stay home and only go out for essentials. Don’t forward unverified news. Stick to reliable sources of information.

My sources of information: Singapore’s Ministry of Health website on Covid-19 and the Philippine Embassy in Singapore.

The health of all depends on each one of us.

One of my favorite quotes from the gov’t daily WhatsApp reminders

How are you keeping sane during lockdown or circuit breaker?

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