“CHEAP COVID SWAB TEST: How I Paid P750 For My RT-PCR Test” by Lianne

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(This article first appeared in Live Free with Lianne blog site.)

Do you want to know how to get a cheap COVID swab test in the Philippines?

If you’re looking at the COVID swab test prices in the Philippines and you’re shocked at how expensive a swab test is, then this article is for you! After all, we’re all about affordable travel here, remember?

In this post, I’ll show you how I was able to get a super cheap COVID swab test in Manila.

And the best part? It was done in a DOH and DOT-accredited hospital for swab tests, so you know you’re in great hands.

Let’s dive right in.

How much is the swab test?

For walk-in clients, the regular price of RT-PCR Testing with PCMC is Php 3,577. But since our COVID test is subsidized by DOT, we only needed to pay a cheaper price.

The COVID swab test costs P750 only — all in! No extra fees or additional charges throughout the procedure.

Where did I get my cheap swab test in the Philippines?

I took my swab test in Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) in Quezon City.

Please note that PCMC only acknowledges scheduled testing date, so if you go there as a walk-in, you may not get the cheap rate.

How to get cheap COVID swab test?

To get the affordable rates, you have to undergo a process first. Here’s how it goes:

1. Find out if you’re eligible

You can get the P750 cheap COVID swab test from PCMC only if:

  • You’re a Filipino or foreigner living in the Philippines, AND,
  • Your purpose of domestic travel is TOURISM, and,
  • You have confirmed transportation and accommodation bookings.

Right now, tourists going to Palawan, Boracay, Bohol, Baguio, and Ilocos Norte are covered by this DOT subsidy.

Since we can’t go to Seoul yet, domestic travel is the way to go for now!

For us, we were going to Boracay so we were able to get the nasal swab testing for only P750.

2. Prepare your documents to be submitted

Before you fill out the form to get your subsidy, you need to prepare your documents first. Here are the documents you need to submit to DOT:

  • Scanned 2 valid government-issued IDs
  • Copy of confirmed hotel booking
  • Upload copy of roundtrip transportation tickets, if applicable (airline/bus/ferry tickets)

Here are the valid IDs you can submit:

  • Driver’s license
  • Passport
  • PRC license
  • PhilPost ID
  • UMID
  • SSS
  • Voter’s ID
  • TIN ID
  • PhilHealth ID
  • PWD ID
  • and Senior Citizen ID

Make sure you have a clear scanned copy of your documents. Or, you can also take a clear picture of them and upload it to your computer so it’s easier to fill out the forms later.

3. Fill out the DOT subsidy form

Once you’ve confirmed that you’re eligible, 5 days before your flight, you should register online at https://www.tpb.gov.ph/rtpcrphtravel/.

cheap covid swab test

You can just follow the onscreen instructions and upload your documents.

Don’t forget to click the Submit button and wait for your approval email.

4. Wait for PCMC’s approval

A few minutes after submitting our application, we received this email from PCMC.

Take note that this email only confirms that we’ve registered for the cheap COVID swab test — this is NOT the approval email yet.

cheap covid swab test

Then, after 5 days or so, PCMC sent another email that the application was already approved. It’ll look something like this:

cheap covid swab test

5. Submit your Client Information Form (CIF) before going to the hospital

What if you’ve already submitted your application but haven’t received any updates from PCMC about your cheap swab test schedule?

Don’t worry.

What will happen is, 3 days before your scheduled flight, PCMC will send you an email informing you of your schedule for the swab test. It’ll look something like this:

cheap covid swab test

Inside the email is your attached Client Information Form (CIF).

Make sure you fill it out and send it back to them BEFORE your scheduled date, okay? 🙂

6. Go to PCMC on your scheduled date

Before you go to PCMC, remember to bring at least 1 valid ID with you.

You can take a car to the hospital, or go there via Grab or other means of public transport. Remember to pin:

Gate 3 of PCMC, along Agham Road, Diliman, Quezon City

No need to worry if PCMC is open on weekends, since it’s open daily from 8:00am to 3:00pm (including holidays).

Just take note of the testing area’s façade, which looks like this:

cheap covid swab test

Once you follow this area, you can continue walking until you reach the line of the testing area.

At that time, we went on a Saturday and arrived around 7:45 AM, so the line was already like this:

cheap covid swab test

While you’re in line, a guard will roam around to enforce social distancing. 😀

A few minutes before 8 AM, an officer will ask everyone in line to borrow their IDs for a while.

cheap covid swab test

Wait for a few minutes, and then they’ll give it back to you.

Afterwards, you’ll be given a piece of paper indicating how much you need to pay for your cheap COVID swab test.

For PCMC, remember, the payment is only P750 which is cheaper, compared to PGH’s swab test price which is P900.

cheap covid swab test

After you’ve received this piece of paper, you’ll fall into another line to pay at the cashier.

Once you’ve paid, you’ll receive the official receipt. Take note that PCMC accepts only cash for the payment, so prepare the amount beforehand because they won’t entertain any credit card payments.

cheap covid swab test

See the sticker that’s given together with the receipt?

Don’t lose it. 

Why? That’s because you need to give it to the nurse who will perform the swab test for you later, so make sure it’s safe with you, okay?

After you’ve paid and gotten your official receipt, you need to fall in line — for the last time.

This line will be for your swab test, but don’t worry since you can take a seat for this line already. 😀

cheap covid swab test

Once it’s your turn, give the sticker to the nurse, remove your face shield and face mask and take a deep breath. It’s now your time to get your swab taken for the test!

How was my cheap COVID swab test experience?

Honestly, we were a bit nervous because some people mentioned that the COVID swab test was painful.

Thankfully, though, my experience was NOT painful at all. It was just uncomfortable. 😀

When the nurse swabbed my throat area, I nearly choked, but it wasn’t super painful at all.

And when the nurse swabbed my right nostril, I backed away for a second. Lol. Just remember to take a deep breath and tilt your head backward so it’s easier.

All in all, it took 30 seconds for the whole swab test to be done!

When will you receive the swab test results?

PCMC mentioned that they’ll send the test results within 24 hours.

But what happened was we received it after 28 hours, so still not bad!

All in all, we’re super thankful because it was a negative result, so Boracay, here we come! 🙂

(Source: Live Free with Lianne)


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