The number of overseas Filipinos who went home to the Philippines during Christmas season doubled in 2021, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said.

According to Carlos Capulong, chief of the BI’s port operations division, 11,074 Filipinos arrived in the country on Dec. 24 and 25, a “100-percent” increase from last year.

“Last year, there were only 5,478 arrivals for the two days, while this year, it increased 100% to 11,074 for the Christmas eve and Christmas day,” Capulong said.

“While the numbers are still relatively low, we are confident that this increase will continue until next year, given the government’s aggressive vaccination campaign,” he added.

Data from the BI showed that a total of 141,216 Filipinos arrived in the country this December.

Americans were No. 2 in the BI’s list of top arrivals with 12,455, while Canadians and Japanese were second and third with 2,805 and 1,645, respectively.

On the other hand, a total of 117,795 Filipinos departed the country during the holiday season.

BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said the numbers had yet to return to pre-pandemic figures.

“The number of international travelers remain low despite the holiday season…by the end of the year, we’re expecting the numbers to rise a little, perhaps around 20 to 50 thousand more passengers,” he said. John Ezekiel J. Hirro