When Maricel Lowe and her son went to the Philippines in January to visit family, she couldn’t imagine the headache it would be to get home. The original plan was to for her husband Joseph to meet them in the Philippines on April 7, and then fly home on April 25.
After COVID-19 restrictions were put in place in March, Lowe said she booked a flight for her and her son to return home April 3rd, but then the flight was cancelled.
Flights are still leaving from major centres, like Manila. For those who are on remote islands, they are having issues getting a sweeper flight to be able to get to the mainland.
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Lowe said she started reaching out to the Embassy of Canada in Philippines on Facebook. She eventually got through, and a few days ago was able to return home to Grand Prairie, Alta.
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It was an additional $750 to get a flight from there to Edmonton.
Lowe’s story isn’t unique. There are almost 800 members in the Facebook group, Canadians Stranded in the Philippines, and dozens of people are commenting on the Embassy page daily hoping to get home.
“Us Canadians, we have to pay our own and it’s expensive, there’s a lot of Canadians in the Philippines now that can’t afford to go,” Lowe said. “They keep booking the flights and then airline people keep cancelling it, so they max out their credit cards so they can’t book anymore.”
READ MORE: Coronavirus: Mandatory quarantine in Philippines leaves Canadians trapped abroad
Abe Preisinger was supposed to leave the Philippines for Edmonton on March 17, but just days earlier the Philippine government cancelled all domestic flights. Preisinger said he has been calling Philippine Airlines and the Embassy, but it has been hard to get through.
Meanwhile, Preisinger said he has watched countries like Switzerland, Germany and Russia send special flights so their citizens could go home.