Where To Get Painless Swab Test (RT-PCR) In Metro Manila: Contact Numbers And Prices

UPDATED: This article was published last August, changes were made to show more recent information.

There are numerous accredited laboratories in the Metro Manila that can conduct reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction or RT-PCR tests. We’ve listed down some hospitals and labs that can accommodate your testing needs.

At the moment, there are two acceptable tests used to determine if a person may have COVID-19: reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and antibody blood test (more commonly known as rapid test). Between the two, the RT-PCR is the definitive way to tell if someone is infected with the said coronavirus.

Where to get swab test

As part of our public service, we’re here to list down everything you need to know about where to get PCR tests in Metro Manila, their addresses and contact numbers, and some verified prices from some hospitals and laboratories offering the said COVID-19 tests.

And because we’ve all experienced the uncomfortable truth about getting a swab test done, we’ve also added a new, painless way to get tested for COVID-19. But first, let’s get to know exactly why RT-PCR test is the preferred way to know if one is COVID-19 positive.

What is an RT-PCR test?

At this point in the pandemic, everyone already knows that RT-PCR is the only definitive way to tell if a certain individual has COVID-19 or not. But what exactly is this type of test?

In a nutshell, the RT-PCR test is divided into two segments: reverse transcription and polymerase chain reaction. If it sounds like a lot of scientific mumbo jumbo, don’t worry. We’ll break it down for you.

1. Reverse transcription

In this part of the test, the laboratory creates a copy of the virus’ DNA using RNA through a process called reverse transcriptase. Using the samples collected from the patient, laboratory officers will break open the cells from the sample.

2. Polymerase chain reaction

Once the viral genetic material has been isolated, health personel will proceed by amplifying the said sample using an RT-PCR machine. Meanwhile, certain genetic material probes that will target coronavirus-related genes will be added to the process.

If the amplification process yields more coronavirus material in the sample, the fluorescent probes will react to the increasing number of viral material and indicate it via spikes over time. An increasing number of upticks indicate that the virus is indeed present in the sample and in turn, the patient.

Read: COVID-19 Test Kit Procedures In The Philippines: Types, Cost, and Accuracy

PCR test procedure

To further break it down, these are the steps undertaken when someone takes an RT-PCR test to determine the presence of COVID-19 in their body.

  1. The patient agrees to a swab test to get mucus sample from the nose and throat
  2. Laboratory experts will break open the cells in the samples by combining the samples with a solution called lysis buffer, allowing them to extract the RNA that might contain the presence of the virus
  3. Once the RNA has been isolated, they will conduct reverse transcription of the RNA to create a complementary DNA
  4. The complementary DNA will then be placed in an RT-PCR machine that creates copies of the genetic material
  5. When there is enough sample to test on, scientists will add fluorescent probes that will target gene markers that are specific to COVID-19
  6. Upon finding signs of COVID-19 in the sample, the probes will emit react to these markers by creating a fluorescent glow, which will then be recorded by the machine over time
  7. After a certain period of time, the machine will release the results of the rate of interaction of the probes with COVID-19 genes, with a positive result coming from the continuous amplification of the genetic material

Why does it take at least 48 hours for laboratories to come up with results for RT-PCR tests? There are several factors that can affect the processing time of swab tests conducted on suspected individuals. Some of the are the following:

  1. The samples received by the laboratory did not meet the criteria for proper testing
  2. Labs run the test in batches, allowing them to save time and effort in validating cases
  3. RT-PCR testing labs follow a strict standard in handling viral samples

While RT-PCR tests have a 97 percent accuracy, this doesn’t mean that you can no longer get infected by COVID-19 or you should become lax with your health and sanitation practices.

As always, maintain enough distance between you and other people, wear face masks or shield whenever you go out, and seek medical treatment immediately when you exhibit symptoms related to the coronavirus.

Where to get RT-PCR tests in Metro Manila

Whether you’re already exhibiting symptoms for COVID-19 infection or you just need to give yourself some peace of mind, you can now get RT-PCR tests from hospitals and other accredited centers in the country.

Saliva Test: a painless alternative to the swab test

If you’ve been swab tested before, you know that it’s a necessary yet unpleasant experience. Good thing that the Philippine Red Cross has introduced a new, painless and cheaper alternative called a Saliva Test. It’s only ₱2,000 (50% cheaper than most swab tests) and according to Healthline, nearly as accurate and less invasive. So if you need a COVID-19 test done, why don’t you try this one yourself. Here’s how you can book a saliva test from the Philippine Red Cross:

  1. Go to https://book.redcross.org.ph/index.php/book-a-saliva-test/ and follow the instructions given.
  2. Select the location where you’ll book a saliva test at the bottom part of the page, together with the date and time. Based on our research, there are multiple saliva testing locations made available by the PRC, not just in Metro Manila but nationwide.
  3. Once you’re ready, add-to-cart and review your booking.
  4. Click on checkout then enter payment info as necessary.
  5. Once payment is confirmed, an email will be sent showing you the date, time, and location of your COVID-19 test appointment. You will also be sent the all-important e-CIF form that you need to fill in BEFORE your appointment.

Now that you’ve booked yourself a saliva test appointment, here are some pointers you need to follow before your scheduled test:

  • Be at least 15 minutes early to your appointment schedule. There are some verification and security procedures to be done prior the testing.
  • Make sure you have your proof of payment and confirmation email at hand, whether printed out or saved digitally. Also, don’t forget to bring any proof of identification (valid IDs) and your own pen.
  • Always wear a face mask and face shield while in transit and in the venue.
  • Do not ingest anything, wear a lipstick, gargle, drink, smoke or vape 30 minutes before the test.
  • While you are submitting your saliva sample, make sure that it’s at least 1ml and without any discoloration (clear).

Your results will be sent via email once you’re done. You can also check it through http://c19.redcross.org.ph/track.

If for other reasons that a swab test is required, here are some of the COVID-19 testing labs in Metro Manila licensed by the Department of Health:

1. Armed Forces of the Philippines Medical Center – Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences (AFRIMS) Collaborative Molecular Laboratory

V. Luna General Hospital, V. Luna Avenue, Pinyahan, Quezon City

(02) 8246-2111

2. Asian Hospital and Medical Center

2205 Civic Drive, Alabang, Muntinlupa City

(02) 8771-9000

3. Chinese General Hospital

286 Blumentritt Road, Barangay 372, Santa Cruz, City of Manila

(02) 8711 4141

4. Detoxicare Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory

Unit 204 Highpointe Medical Hub, 241 Shaw Boulevard, Bagong Silang, Mandaluyong City

(02) 8897-6994

5. Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital

Dr. Uyguanco Drive, Barangay 187, Caloocan City

(02) 8294-2571

6. Lung Center of the Philippines

Quezon Avenue, Pinyahan, Quezon City

(02) 8924-6101

7. Makati Medical Center

2 Amorsolo Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City

(02) 8888-8999

8. Marikina Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory

80 Bayan-Bayanan Avenue, Marikina Heights, Marikina City

9. Philippine Genome Center – University of the Philippines

A. Ma. Regidor Street, U.P. Campus, Quezon City

(02) 8981-8500

10. Philippine Red Cross

PRC Tower, 37 Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue corner Boni Avenue, Barangka Ilaya, Mandaluyong City

8790-2300

11. Philippine Red Cross – Port Area

Radial Road 10, Barangay 650, Port Area, City of Manila

(02) 8527-0861

12. Research Institute for Tropical Medicine

9002 Research Drive, Alabang, Muntinlupa

(02) 8807-2631

13. San Lazaro Hospital

Quiricada Street, Barangay 331, Santa Cruz, City of Manila

(02) 8732-3778

14. Singapore Diagnostics Inc.

4/F Sterling Centre, 131 Dela Rosa Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City

(02) 8845-0655

15. St. Luke’s Medical Center – Global City

Rizal Drive corner 32nd Street and 5th Avenue, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City

(02) 8789-7700

16. St. Luke’s Medical Center – Quezon City

279 E Rodriguez Sr. Avenue, Kalusugan, Quezon City

(02) 8723-0101

17. The Medical City – Ortigas

Ortigas Avenue, Ugong, Pasig City

(02) 8988-1000

18. University of the Philippines National Institutes of Health

623 Pedro Gil Street, Barangay 670, Ermita, City of Manila

(02) 8526-4349

19. University of the Philippines – Philippine General Hospital-Medical Research Laboratory

2/F Laboratory Complex, Philippine General Hospital, Taft Avenue, Barangay 670, Ermita, City of Manila

(02) 8554-8400

20. National Kidney and Transplant Institute

East Avenue corner Elliptical Road, Pinyahan, Quezon City

(02) 8981-0300

21. Philippine National Police Crime Laboratory

Camp Rafael T. Crame, Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue, Bagong Lipunan ng Crame, Quezon City

(02) 3414-3334

22. Safeguard DNA Diagnostics Inc.

Unit 103, G Business Hub Building, 728 Shaw Boulevard, Wack-Wack, Mandaluyong City

(02) 8296-7595

23. Tondo Medical Center

Honorio Lopez Boulevard, Barangay 126, Tondo, City of Manila

(02) 8865-9000

24. Tropical Disease Foundation

1 Amorsolo Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City

(02) 8894-0743

25. Hi-Precision Diagnostics

440-442 W. Long Building, Del Monte Avenue, Sienna, Quezon City

(02) 8741-7777

26. San Miguel Foundation Testing Laboratory

40 San Miguel Avenue, Ortigas Center, Wack-Wack, Mandaluyong City

27. Sta. Ana Hospital – Closed System Molecular Laboratory

2692 New Panaderos Street, Barangay 886, Santa Ana, City of Manila

(02) 8516-6790

28. Fe Del Mundo Medical Center

11 Banawe Street, Doña Josefa, Quezon City

(02) 8712-0845

29. Health Delivery Systems Inc.

2/F and 3/F Soho Central, Shaw Boulevard, Highway Hills, Mandaluyong City

(02) 8634-5714

30. Philippine Heart Center

174 East Avenue, Central, Quezon City

(02) 8925-2401

31. Philippine Airport Diagnostics Laboratory

Domestic Road, Barangay 191, Pasay City

32. De Los Santos Medical Center

201 E Rodriguez Sr. Avenue, Kalusugan, Quezon City

(02) 8893-5762

33. St. Martin de Porres Charity Hospital

A. Bonifacio Street, Kabayanan, San Juan City

(02) 8723-0743

34. Philippine Children’s Medical Center

Quezon Avenue corner Agham Road, Bagong Pag-Asa, Quezon City

(02) 8588-9900

35. Cardinal Santos Medical Center

10 Wilson Street, Greenhills West, San Juan City

(02) 8727-0001

Read: QUIZ: How Much Do You Really Know About COVID-19?

RT-PCR test prices

Although no medical facility has released their RT-PCR testing price publicly, these are just some of the available cost of swab testing in Metro Manila. Refer to the directory of COVID-19 testing centers above for contact numbers and address.

1. Asian Hospital and Medical Center

Prices: P6,000 regular rate, P4,000 for senior citizens

2. Cardinal Santos Medical Center

Price: P8,000 walk-in rate

3. Chinese General Hospital

Prices: P5,500 drive-thru rate, P5,000 walk-in rate, P3,409 PhilHealth rate, P1,591 PWD/senior citizen rate

4. Makati Medical Center

Price: P8,150 regular rate

5. Philippine Red Cross

Price: P4,500 regular rate

6. St. Luke’s Medical Center – Global City

Prices: P12,300 emergency room rate, P8,150 drive-thru rate (prescription needed)

7. St. Luke’s Medical Center – Quezon City

Prices: P12,300 emergency room rate, P4,300 regular rate, P6,500 drive-thru rate

8. St. Martin de Porres Charity Hospital

Price: P4,000 regular rate

9. The Medical City – Ortigas

Price: P8,150 regular rate

10. VRP Medical Center

Prices: P9,000 to P10,000 regular rate

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Updated: Added Saliva Test from Red Cross Philippines. Please contact COVID-19 Test facilities first for reservations and price