Quarantine Fatigue in Manila? Consider Relocating to the Beach or Mountains!

It looks like the Philippines, especially Metro Manila, will be stuck in zigzagging levels of quarantine for another five years. I’m half-kidding. Do you honestly think the Philippines will reach the same level of progress as Taiwan and New Zealand soon?

We already know that isolation, stress, and the uncertainty brought about by the pandemic are fertilizers for mental health issues, no matter how many house plants you’ve purchased. I understand if your head is about to explode at the thought of going through version 2 of 2020. We’re all going through quarantine fatigue.

Welcome to Kate’s temporary office: Boracay. Spot.ph sent me on a mission to write about the health protocols and new tourism rules on the island.

There’s a growing number of Filipino freelancers and remote workers who’ve decided they’ve had enough of their cramped condominium space and have moved to the beaches or mountains, where they can do exactly what they’ve been doing on their computers in Manila, but this time by the ocean.

My real estate agent friend told me that most of his Manila clients are now renting or buying properties in Batangas and Tagaytay. I’ve also seen a surge of people now living with one suitcase in Boracay, Siargao, and other island getaways.

I’ve seen people make it happen, and I too am considering it. Here are few questions you need to ask yourself before you buy that one-way piso flight to one of our 7,107 islands:

1. How will you earn a living? Do you have a stable freelancing gig or remote job that allows you to work from anywhere? Will it be enough to pay for your monthly bills with enough left for savings and investment?

Hue Hotels in Boracay was my temporary home and office for a week. As a social-distancing germaphobe, I felt safe in their open-air spaces. They officially partnered with Lysol for their regular cleaning. They also provide guests with a hygiene kit and refillable disinfectant spray.

2. Does your job entail having a strong and stable internet connection? Some islands like Siargao have poor cellular and internet signal. You can’t just leech off the café’s WiFi forever. Unless your location provides a decent internet connection, many digital nomads invest in a WiFi router.

3. Would you consider downgrading your career? I have a friend who used to have a stressful but high-paying corporate job in Manila. Pre-pandemic, he decided to move to Siargao, where he now works as a hostel manager and musician. The pay is smaller, but the cost of living is cheaper on the island. He’s also happier with his daily life of surf, sand, and sea.

Kate’s gear goes to Boracay. Click here to see where I got my budget-friendly and travel-sized vlogging gear.

4. How long do you want to get away from the city? One year? Six months? Indefinitely? I have another friend who’s giving remote working a try in Boracay for one month, just to see if it’s really what he wants.

5. Do you have responsibilities that you’re leaving behind in the city? Being single doesn’t sound so bad all of a sudden, huh? I have one married friend (no kids) who’s handling some businesses in Boracay, while her husband is handling the other businesses in Manila, and they’re temporarily making it work. I know someone who was able to relocate her entire family—preschool kids included—to La Union. I know another person who got stuck in Cebu at the start of the pandemic and continues to juggle several part-time jobs there. While it’s much easier for the single and unattached, I’ve seen it work for families and couples.

Hue Hotels was my home for a week in Boracay. Their mostly open-air structure is perfect for digital nomads like myself. Choose from the following deals valid until June 30, 2021:

1. Deluxe rooms, which are regularly ₱10,000 per night, are now only ₱3,000 per night.
2. We Got Hue, ₱10,600, deluxe room for two for 3D/2N, includes free breakfast and pre-departure PCR tests.
3. Alternative Abode, ₱15,000 (deluxe room) or ₱25,000 (suite) for two people for seven days. If you want the hotel to arrange your RT-PCR test, include roundtrip boat and land transfers, and daily breakfast, just pay an additional ₱10,000.
4. Monthly rate, ₱55,000 (deluxe room) or ₱85,000 (suite) for two persons. If you want the hotel to arrange your RT-PCR test, include roundtrip boat and land transfers, and daily breakfast, it’s ₱85,000 (deluxe room) or ₱115,000 (suite) for two persons.

All package deals include discounts in the resort’s restaurants and bars, unlimited internet access, and use of hotel amenities. Visit their Facebook page or webpage for more info.

6. What type of accommodation can you afford? Tourism suffered massively in the last year, so many hotels, hostels, and home rentals are offering discount prices for digital nomads.

7. Do you have the patience to work on the requirements? Just like traveling for leisure, there are requirements needed before you can move to an island or province outside Manila. Unfortunately, our country does not have a uniform set of protocols yet, and each travel destination gives zigzagging announcements every month. You’ll be doing a lot of research.

If you’re blessed with a job that allows you to work from anywhere, then consider getting out of that suffocating condo or high-risk location. Photo taken at the poolside of Hue Hotels and Resorts, Boracay Station 2.

8. Will you promise to follow health protocols when you land in paradise? It’s easy to forget that there’s a pandemic when you’ve set foot on the white sand, but please don’t let your guard down. Continue to wear a mask in public, social distance, and wash your hands regularly. Even if the place you’re relocating to has low COVID cases, it does not mean you can party like it’s 2019.

There’s a growing number of Filipino freelancers and digital nomads relocating to the beaches or mountains. I can’t blame them. Kate was here in Station 0, Boracay. Waterproof bag from Decathlon.

Have you successfully relocated during the pandemic? Tell me your story in the comments section!