Due to COVID-19 concerns, we will not be able to have face-to-face meetings this fall in the Philippines. A national webcast is being planned to provide services each day to members scattered across the islands. Below is information regarding each of the three Feast sites in the Philippines. If you have registered for one of these sites, please follow the instructions here to change your registration: https://www.ucg.org/members/news/changing-feast-plans.
Our normal Girl Scouts camp venue in Mindanao has been closed by the local government through the end of December. One possible alternate site would only allow 50% of the hall capacity to gather, and that would not accommodate all the brethren. Also, the province requires anyone under the age of 20 or over the age of 60 to stay in their homes. The feast coordinator and his wife, other senior citizens, and families would not be able to attend due to this exclusion.
Albuera has served as the Feast site for the central Visayas islands since 2014. The venue has just now reopened for limited business. The local government issued guidelines similar to Mindanao’s. Regulations vary from one island to the next. Members traveling from Cebu or Negros would have mandatory quarantines of up to two weeks if they traveled to Leyte.
Baguio is a popular vacation spot in the Philippines since it is a mile high in the mountains. On paper it is still open to tourists. However, the government has established a stringent application system for approval to travel there. If our church members had to apply for admission, many would be denied access. In addition, a rather steep daily use fee is being levied on all visitors—500 pesos per day (about $10 US) is enough to prohibit most members from attending. It is obvious that the local government does not want many citizens traveling to this popular site.
International visitors are not allowed into the Philippines at this time. Only those with Philippines passports can enter the country. Sadly, Denise and I will not be able to go there for the Feast this fall. We pray that the COVID-19 situation eases up so we can travel there in January for the annual national council meetings.