Philippine Red Cross Saliva RT-PCR Test Experience

As per the AirAsia Newsroom, last January 25, 2021, the Department of Health (DOH) in the Philippines approved the Saliva testing RT-PCR for COVID-19 after they did a successful pilot testing with by the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) yielded 98.11% accuracy. And the good news is that it can be used for travel purposes to boost air travel demand. Airlines like Air Asia and Philippine Airlines welcomed the approval of the said Covid-19 testing.

Please note that as of this moment, this isn’t applicable for travels because inter-island travels has been suspended as NCR plus has been placed in Enhanced Community Quarantine until April 11, 2021.

What is a Saliva RT-PCR Test? According to the Philippine Red Cross, the saliva RT-PCR test uses the same system that is used with the nasopharyngeal swab samples. Instead of having to insert a swab into the person’s nostrils and/or throat, the person will have to deposit 1.5 to 2 ml worth of saliva through a straw into a container. It is more comfortable to do, no painful feeling after. It is more cheaper as it is only P2,000, it is just 10 minutes to do and it takes less time for the results to be released, around 6-12 hours only.
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For now, the only allowed venue to get a saliva RT-PCR test is at any Philippine Red Cross saliva collection sites. There are around 70 available sites at the moment. You can book at the Philippine Red Cross website and pay via credit/debut card (Visa), G-Cash and GrabPay. If you are looking for the SM Megamall COVID-19 Saliva Test (RT-PCR), just click it to make things easier for you.
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Reminders:
Saliva RT-PCR test can’t be used for outgoing international travel. With regards to domestic travel, you will have to check first with the destination, and mode of transportation (sea/air). For air travel, Bohol and Boracay accepts NEGATIVE saliva RT-PCR test results.
Some sites accepts walk in but some accepts drive-thru only. SM Megamall Saliva Collection Site accepts drive-thru only as noted in the website, but we just walked in, as we only rode a Grab going to SM Megamall.
Bring your confirmation of schedule that contains your order details. It was sent to your email. No need to print. Please make sure that you know your Order Number, Appointment Number and Retrieval Code.
Read the reminders of the said saliva collection site, because there are difference in each site.
Prior to taking the saliva test, do not eat, drink, gargle, smoke or vape for 30 minutes. Do not wear lipstick to the test as well. Make sure that it is at least 1ml and has no discoloration.

Why are were we taking the saliva RT-PCR test? We were scheduled for a saliva RT-PCR test on April 1, 2021. But due to the new ECQ restrictions, our travel that was supposedly on April 3, 2021 was cancelled.

Your trip was cancelled, did they allow you to get refund?
They actually allowed refund. But because of the influx of entries, they begun to uphold their “no refund” policy. We were advised to reschedule our testing date to when we will  be able to utilize it.

How did we request refund and then, request for reschedule? We sent an email to 1158-appointments@redcross.org.ph and they responded to me within 3 hours. After which, a new order confirmation was sent to my email. Note that you are only allowed to reschedule once.

Did Coco take the test as well? We also included Coco when we booked an appointment because it is what the LGU that we were supposed to go to require. Prior to the restart of ECQ in March 29, 2021, the resort were we were staying to told me that kids below 5 years old, no longer need a swab test. But the day before the test, we opted not to have him do the test anymore, since he will not come with us.

We decided to utilize our saliva RT-PCR last April 6, 2021 because we will go to our province, Lipa, Batangas for my sister’s civil wedding. As I’ve mentioned above, their e-mail support is very responsive and we were able to reschedule without any problems.

What did you do with Coco’s slot, since he didn’t use it anymore? Instead of booking another slot for my brother, I tried to email them again to ask if the slot is transferrable. I explained that the supposed slot is for a child and if it is possible for my brother to use it instead. I was able to transfer the slot to my brother within the day (which is actually the day before the test). As usual, their email support was very responsive.

Sharing with you the experience:

When we arrived the bus bay of SM Megamall Mega A, at the first station, we asked first if it is possible for us to do the test without being inside a vehicle. They said we can as there are seats provided. We gave them our order details and they had us fill up an information sheet and was given the saliva test apparatus. Don’t lose the sticker (your control number).
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When we were ready we then proceeded to the second station where we were instructed on how to use the saliva test apparatus. When we were ready we started depositing our saliva to the tube. It should be so easy, but in reality, it is still hard. Some can’t really spit out 2ml saliva in one go, in our case. It took me 5 times before I was good to go. My mom even longer, but my brother did it in one go.
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I received the e-mail of the result 12 hours after and of course, I was negative. And because of that I am confident that my son and husband is safe as well. I think it is wise to have yourself tested if able for your and your family’s sake and peace of mind.
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Overall, Philippine Red Cross team is very efficient for me. Starting from how they handle the customer service,  up until the saliva test itself. Good Job PRC Team!


Instead of writing another blog, I preferred to just edit this first one instead and add a second section where in I will share with you our latest Saliva Test Experience. This time around, Coco was able to take his.

Philippine Red Cross RT-PCR Saliva Test | July 2021

For the second time, I booked another travel in the time of Corona for me and Coco. I scheduled our RT-PCR Saliva Test via Philippine Red Cross again exactly 72 hours from our scheduled flight (Test schedule: July 29, 2:10PM, Flight schedule: August 1, 2:10PM). Days before our PRC schedule, nanganganib na naman nga na mag cancel ang trip because of the threat of the Delta virus Variant of Covid-19. It was a gamble for us, because if we cancel our schedule, and we can travel, we won’t get to complete the requirements. So I decided to push through with the test. Thank God, they announced the night before our schedule, that we will still be on General Community Quarantine with heightened restrictions until the end of August, which means we are safe to travel. We pushed through with our schedule, got the result and next thing we know, they did another announcement for ECQ. The thing is, ECQ won’t happen until we supposedly get back to Manila. But because of the said announcement, Malay Tourism Office stopped their release of QR codes which a person will need to enter the island. Again, another trip cancelled because of ECQ. Php4,000 down the drain. My son’s heart, broken.
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For this schedule, I chose to be tested at the PRC Market! Market! site because I also scheduled for a haircut for Coco with Cuts4Tots in SM Aura Premier. The thing with the PRC Market! Market! site, when you view it from the website, you will see that it is on their 3rd floor. Medyo alanganin, right? Especially if you have a kid with you, since as much as possible, you won’t want to bring the kid inside the mall or any enclosed space. But then since no one told me about this, we did entered the mall, didn’t have any problems entering, I just told them that we have an appointment at the PRC site, but I have the appointment request printed, in case they would look for it.
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TIP: If you will choose the PRC Market! Market! Site for your RT-PCR Saliva Test, you don’t need to enter the mall premises. You just have to go to the parking lot, opposite the BPI side mall entrance, and go to the 3rd floor. It is much safer that way since it is open air. The PRC site is by the parking area, right outside the bridge way if you are coming from inside the mall. Click here for easy access of purchasing a slot for PRC Market! Market! Site.
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Comparing to the SM Megamall site, line at the Market! Market! site was long. It took us around 30 minutes before it was our turn. We were 20 minutes early, so if you follow our schedule, it was 12 minutes later than our schedule. I’m not sure on how to compare this, both malls I think have the almost the same foot traffic, as both has almost the same nature of their location, both were done on a weekday and almost at the same time. It just that I think, compare to last April, more people are now aware of having their Saliva test taken, so I guess that is why there were more people?

The problem was there was no social distancing in the line. But as a responsible citizen, I distance myself from the one in from of me and Coco. The thing is, the person after me has no respect with boundaries and social distancing, even if I already told him to move a little. I’m not sure if this is the case because it was raining a little. But either way, the security should have done something about this.
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Prior to taking the test, though it is more comfortable than the nasopharyngeal swab, I still have to brief Coco of what will happen. Since I already did this before I was able to show Coco the videos that we took before. He said that it is very easy. Either way, we should always brief our children of any tests that might be done to them.

After checking our details from their record, we were given our saliva test kit. I showed Coco how to assemble it and a few minutes later, he is already done. He didn’t have a hard time spitting saliva to his tube.
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At 12 midnight, 10 hours after, we received our results, we were both Negative of Covid-19, but after we woke up the next morning with a broken heart, as we can not travel despite of the difference of dates.

Please note that as of this writing, the National Capital Region is again under Enhanced Community Quarantine Status. That is why, travel, especially air travel isn’t allowed.

12 comments

  1. Wow, that’s a great news, pain free covid testing at The RedCross. I never had this test before that’s why I am curious about it’s validity compared to the nasopharyngeal swab. Is it really effective…?I think 2000 is worth the test. I hope they can provide us with more specific test with less probability of producing false positive or vice versa results

    Like

  2. The Philippines needs more options and make it FREE FOR ALL. Para lahat ma-encourage na magpa-test agad. Dito sa Australia, our health ministry published various campaigns and yes including social media campaigns in many languages to reach more audiences and send clear messages about COVID vaccinations and COVID tests.

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    • It’s my first time to learn about Saliva test and it’s good to know that these can be alternatives for swab test in a cheaper yet not so hurtful way like swab.
      I hope the results are indeed accuate though. Keep safe! 🙂

      Like

  3. We were also considering this for our trip to siargao this april, but yeah that was cancelled. I hope that saliva test was just as accurate because the swab test really hurt. I can still feel the pain now. Haha

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  4. Pain-free test is better lalo na for kids. I remember when I had my SWAB test as one of the requirements upon giving birth. And good to know na mabilis mag respond ang Customer Service nila.

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  5. Im glad to know you had a good experience with them overall. Never had the chance to experience this but thanks for sharing. Learned new things!

    Like

  6. Bute nlang nakita koto blog nato super helpful lalo na OC ako, jusko, mali pa ang middle name while registering, sana d maging issue

    Like

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