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Boracay Officially Reopens On October 26 After A Six-Month Full Lockdown

Boracay officially reopens this coming week! Still considered one of the Top 25 beaches in the world by TripAdvisor, our top paradise island destination has been given six months to recuperate, recharge, and renew itself.

Like some patient who has been stuck in the ICU; the nagging question left hanging is in what condition is the patient (aka Boracay) now? Has the patient fully recovered? Apparently not. Is the patient ready to be discharged? Well, all systems are a go for the 26th reopening. And what changes can we expect, what precautions taken, as the patient leaves the ICU?

 



As those who have been following probably know, it is a controlled, limited reopening come October 26th. Only 115 resorts and establishments were given the official green light to reopen on the 26th and accept bookings (as per the October 19 announcement). Fortunately, there is diversity in the approved list, from luxury high-end resorts to medium-priced establishments and Bed & Breakfasts. This assures us that a broad range of visitors can descend on the island, and enjoy the once-again pristine White Beach, and regale in the signature island life, both in the daytime and nighttime that, historically, has made Boracay such a tourist favorite.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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It seems it’s the Boracay port, and the backroads that still have a long way to go in the island's rehabilitation. People I know, who were there a week ago, say the road repair is, optimistically, only about 50% done. And this means that landing on makeshift pontoons on each of the three beach stations is where, initially, the tourists and visitors will disembark when they arrive on the island. From one point of view, this is great as it means better proximity to where you’ll be staying; but I can’t help but observe that this was the situation back in the 1990s, and precisely what we were avoiding when we made the port the default place to disembark when coming from Caticlan.

As the roads are still being repaired, expect to do a lot of walking along White Beach, or make sure the place you’re staying at has diverse dining options and just stay put throughout your stay. I’ve always enjoyed the walking along the beach, and if the road congestion and the fumes of the pedicabs are a thing of the past for now, I won’t be missing them. 

 



Make certain you have on you a copy of your confirmed hotel reservation; as it’s a sure bet that you’ll be asked to present this before being allowed to enter the island. Officially, 19,000 tourists are being allowed to enter and make use of some 9,000 rooms that represent the approved list of establishments. 

Be forewarned of the following:

  • No smoking and drinking of alcoholic beverages along white beach.
  • Dining by the beach will be prohibited.
  • All water activities will be temporarily suspended.
  • No installation of beach lights on the beachfront.
  • Fireworks displays will only be allowed until 9PM.
  • Sand castle-making will be regulated.
  • Souvenir shops and hawkers along the beachfront will be banned.
  • Fire dancing that uses kerosene will be prohibited.
  • And officially, casinos are banned from the island.


Hotels not connected to the island’s sewage system or don’t have their own STP (Sewage Treatment Plant) will not be allowed to reopen. And TIEZA is the sole regulator of Boracay’s water lines. 

As we can glean from the above, there is a plan in place to try and rationalize the island’s infrastructure, and avoid a repeat in the decline of the island’s resources and living conditions. Whether this plan is enough, or if it will even be enforced in an efficient manner remains to be seen. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The 10-day dry run for the October 26 soft opening of Boracay has begun. More here: http://bit.ly/2OrHgLK

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Several of the approved establishments made the six-month hiatus an opportunity to renovate, spruce up, and even add new wings and features. Discovery Shores, for one, will unveil a new wing, their Signature Suites come mid-November. And they have a new dining option, the Italian restaurant Forno. 

 


From the pictures we’ve been seeing from people who were on the island last week, the island certainly looks recharged and renewed. And obviously, we have to find a way to keep it that way. It just doesn’t make sense to allow things to backslide to how they were—when overdevelopment, overcrowding, and a blatant disregard for sanitation, clean beaches and water, brought things to such an abominable state of affairs. Boracay is too precious a treasure—let’s hope this take two is the true wakeup call it needs.

 

Photo by Hector Periquin on Unsplash