Event organizer Tim Yap yesterday defended his decision to organize a party in Baguio City, which recently became viral because it allegedly violated social distancing protocols.
Yap’s party, held at The Manor at Camp John Hay, was first exposed by a Twitter account called Gays Over COVID, which posted video clips of the event earlier this week. A clip showed Yap riding a white horse without a mask, while guests such as actress KC Concepcion danced to the beat of Ifugao music. All of the guests in the videos did not appear to have any face coverings.
“And please don’t worry! We all took tests.” pic.twitter.com/lEUI8Zf0WI
— GaysOverCovidPH (@gaysovercovidph) January 25, 2021
Yap said his guests all tested negative for COVID, and they followed the protocols of the Baguio City government.
“We all know that Baguio is very strict with their protocols and they will not allow anyone to go up to Baguio who is positive; everyone, before they go up to Baguio, should be negative,” Yap said in English and Filipino during an interview with ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo.
The self-proclaimed “eventologist” said that contrary to what was shown in the videos, his guests were actually wearing masks.
“That time, they were going to the buffet table. Because it was dinner, they were going to eat, so they removed their masks. After which, the dancers arrived so there was community dancing, so they weren’t wearing their masks. They were dancing and this is what people have seen on social media,” Yap explained.
He said that he organized the party to “promote Baguio as a destination” and showcase the city’s “arts and culture.”
“That was my goal. I’m discovering and rediscovering different parts of the Philippines which I hope our countrymen can discover,” he said.
“Our real goal, our aim, is to help restart the economy, reopen the economy and promote local tourism,” he added.
Apparently aware that Filipinos are calling him out for partying while there is a pandemic, Yap said it was “never” his intention to “offend anyone.”
“I would never do anything that could endanger anyone. And of course, when everyone is negative, you feel safe with each other,” he said.
While Yap may argue that his guests took COVID tests, medical experts say that these are unreliable if taken immediately after a person becomes infected. The best time to take a swab is about two to three days after COVID symptoms appear; taking it earlier than that leads to a false-negative result.
Meanwhile, the Department of Tourism in the Cordillera Administrative Region, which has jurisdiction over Baguio City, said yesterday that it is currently investigating a party that was held at a hotel in the said area.
“A Notice to Explain has already been issued to the establishment,” the Tourism office said. However, it did not specify if it was probing Yap’s viral party held at Camp John Hay.
The hullabaloo surrounding the Baguio event follows the closure of a Taguig City restaurant, allegedly because influencer Raymond Gutierrez held his birthday party there. In one photo, Gutierrez’s cellphone-toting friends are seen crowding around him as he prepares to blow the candles on his cake.
This article, Tim Yap defends Baguio party as gov’t probes event over possible health violations, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.