The Random Bibliophile

by Renee Alexis

Renee Alexis
20-something Filipina, an introvert who loves young adult fiction, brush pens, Taylor Swift, and BTS. Coffee runs in my bloodstream.


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We Back!

Hey there! It's me, and I'm currently under 14-days mandatory quarantine at our municipality. As I've said, I'll be writing a separate blog post about our journey home and so here we are.

It's been stressful but we've managed to push through with OWWA's help. So... where to start? 

KC and I landed in the Philippines last August 19 after a 9-hour flight direct from Dubai. After disembarking the plane, we were lead to the OFW lane and were given forms to fill out. I think there were at least 7 forms we needed to accomplish. We got in the queue for the swab test, then went through the immigration. The waiting time was over 3 hours before we were able to go out of NAIA Airport Terminal 2. We were then ushered to get in the queue for the shuttle bus to take us to our hotel. Right after the bus started running, we were jammed into traffic and that was when it dawned on me that we were finally in the Philippines. 😅 Welcome to the land of traffic and slow internet!

I didn't know what to expect when we would get off the plane. All I knew were vague information that we will be provided for everything when we get to Manila airport. I was surprised that OWWA had everything settled out, right from the swab tests to the hotel assignments to the meals and to the buses that would take us to and fro. 

We stayed at Eastwood Richmonde Hotel for 3 nights while waiting for the swab test results which were going to be released by 24 to 48 hours time via email. In fairness, I was expecting less so I was really delighted by the turn of events.

When we got our results on the morning of August 22nd, we immediately informed the hotel so that we can check out. We were guided by an OWWA representative as we checked out and they had a bus waiting for us to take us back to the airport. When we were dropped to the airport, we had no idea what to do next. The good thing was there were coast guards all over the place, we just had to ask them where to go. And then again, we were given forms we needed to fill out. We were allowed to enter the airport immediately after filling out the forms and not lead to the queue because we were going to Mindanao.

Once inside the airport, we were greeted by a lot of fellow OFWs waiting to be given a flight. Some of them had been in Manila for over two weeks because their provinces were in a travel ban. That day, the government had piloted 8 planes to take the stranded OFWs home, so we had to wait out a few hours more for our turn.

We got our names listed for a flight to CDO and the waiting game began. We got to the airport around 5:30 PM and our flight was at 3 in the morning. We landed in CDO at around 5 AM and then got our names listed to our designated provinces and municipalities so that we can be ushered into the correct van. This was where KC and I separated paths because we don't live in the same place. I got to my municipality at around 10:30 AM and we took a rapid test. I tested negative and so did all the people in the group I traveled with. We were then handed over to our LGU and were then transferred to the isolation facility for the mandatory 14-day quarantine. 

I was awake for more than 24 hours that day, imagine how stressed and tired I was. Thankfully, I finally got here where I am right now. Now, it's just a matter of waiting the days out so I can finally, FINALLY go home and see my family! 2 days down, 12 more days to go! Whew, this journey home has been a very long, very stressful one, but I am very thankful for OWWA and all of the staff in the airport who were working hard up until the wee hours of the morning to assist us OFWs so we can go home to our families. Even when we had to wait for long hours, I am very grateful for all of their hard work.

For everybody's information: If you are an OFW, the swab test is free and is conducted by the Red Cross. The hotel is also provided by the OWWA and the bus ride to and fro the hotel is free. All the meals right when you land are also provided. The flight to your provinces are also free. I didn't have to pay a single peso since I got off the plane until I reached here at my municipality's quarantine facility. All the meals of the 14-day quarantine are also care of the municipality, as well as the rapid tests and the swab test if ever you test positive in the rapid test.

I took a vlog of our journey and posted it on my Youtube channel. Feel free to watch it below!

And here's a video of how my days went when I was in isolation in Manila.

I'm happy to be back home! Let's see what will happen in the new few weeks. 😊 xx



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