Where to get free swab tests for coronavirus in Cebu City

Ryan Macasero
Where to get free swab tests for coronavirus in Cebu City

RT PCR SWAB TESTING IN LAS PINAS. - Medical Technologist conducts swab testing to one of walk-in patient of One of Prime Medical Hospital in Pamplona III, in Las Pinas City offers affordable RT PCR (Swab Test) of COVID-19 for private individuals for only Php 3,500 can get the result in 3-5 days. According to hospital personnels, no face-to-face transaction, only online application and schedule allowed and online payments to avoid contact amid Corona Virus pandemic. Photo by Dennis Abrina/Rappler

Dennis Abrina/Rappler

Free testing is available at the IEC Convention Center and Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center

Cebuanos can get tested for SARS-CoV-2 by RT-PCR – real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction – for free, whether or not they have COVID-19 or coronavirus disease symptoms.

RT-PCR test kits use actual swabs taken from the nose or throat of patients. This test determines the actual presence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

This is unlike rapid tests which use blood samples extracted from patients to determine their antibodies for the virus.

The RT-PCR is considered the “gold standard” of coronavirus tests by medical experts because of its accuracy in detecting the SARS-CoV-2.

There are two sites where residents can get tested in Cebu City. These are the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) and the Bayanihan Center on Pope John Paul Ave II.

Must Read

Goodbye, brain scrapers. COVID-19 tests now use gentler nose swabs.

Goodbye, brain scrapers. COVID-19 tests now use gentler nose swabs.

While anyone can get swabbed at either center, the Bayanihan Center test site prioritizes frontline workers (medical and non-medical), those with pre-existing conditions, and anyone with mild symptoms. 

Both centers have a turnaround time of 2-4 days for results.

Drive through testing

At VSMMC, those with vehicles can use the drive-through testing service and do not need to get out of their cars.

Those who rely on public transportation can be dropped off and get swabbed at the hospital. 

Those who want to avail of the VSMMC test have to book online to get an appointment.

The hospital is located on B. Rodriguez Street in Cebu City and can accommodate up to 200 people per day. The hours for testing are between 9 am and 3 pm.

Bayanihan Center

The other testing site is at the Bayanihan Center in the IEC Convention Center, which only accepts walk-in clients. 

Those who want to take undergo swab tests at the IEC Center have to contact the following hotlines to make an appointment.  The numbers are 0905-3598952, 0905-3598953, 0905-3598954, 0905-3598955, 0905-3598956, if calling in between 10 am to 7 pm; and 0905-3598958 and 0905-3598959, if calling from 10 pm to 7 am.

The center is located at Pope John Paul II Avenue 23 Minore Park corner Cardinal Rosales Ave, Cebu City. Their hours are from 8 am to 12 noon and 1 pm to 3 pm.

Visit the Bayanihan Center’s Facebook page for more information.  –

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Ryan Macasero

Ryan covers Cebu and the Visayas for Rappler. He covers all news in the region, but is particularly interested in people stories, development issues and local policy making.