President Duterte saw footage where the island’s sewerage system disperse raw waste directly into the sea and called it a “cesspool.” He directed closure of Boracay last April 26, 2018, to last for six months while government solves the island’s many problems.
Boracay is back in business with a soft opening last October 26, 2018. This is the first phase of the rehabilitation program, the second phase is in April 2019 and the last stage in December 2019. The government implemented changes to maintain the pristine condition of the beautiful sanctuary. Visitors have to adjust to certain policies, notices, and the topsy-turvy condition in the newly reopened tourist destination.
Ongoing civil works projects
Tourists will be met with dust and rubbles from the current road widening project implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). It will take more than the usual travel time to reach a destination because some roads are blocked and traffic is congested.
The place resembles a war zone with the laying of sewage pipes, realigning of posts, and demolition of protruding parts of establishments. Residents and businesses took time to do repairs on their own.
Only 6,405 tourists per day can enter
Only 6,405 tourists are allowed daily to maintain the serene tropical atmosphere of Boracay. Verification centers are put in place at Caticlan, Aklan to monitor the arrival and departure of visitors. Tourists must present their hotel reservation, a valid ID, and they are required to fill out a form.
A limited number of accredited hotels
Over 150 hotels are open to the public. These were the establishments who were able to acquire certificates, permits, and clearances from the Department of Tourism (DOT). The non-compliant ones were shut down.
Air-bed-and-breakfast (Airbnb) establishments are not allowed to operate.
New eco-friendly transportation
New eco-friendly vehicles will ply the routes to provide transportation to the public. These will preserve the island’s beauty, reduce the carbon dioxide emission, and ease traffic. A tourist has the following options to go around Boracay:
- Air-conditioned buses. Passengers will use a smart card the fare is Php300 they will enjoy an unlimited ride good for three days. The ride is free for senior citizens, persons with disability (PWDs), and children below 12 years. The bus is equipped with GPS, CCTV, and Wi-Fi.
- Electric tricycles (e-trikes). A passenger can book an e-trike ride there is no booking fees charged.
- Solar-powered shuttle. Non-air conditioned buses that will transport the public around Boracay.
Dos and don’ts along the beaches
The government formed Kaligkasan, a local group that will guard the coastlines to ensure that tourists and residents are following the do’s and don’ts.
- All water activities are temporarily suspended that includes diving, banana boating, snorkeling, and sailing.
- Beach chairs and umbrellas are prohibited but tourist can lounge using beach mats and towels to get lots of UV rays.
- Partying along the beach is prohibited. Goodbye to loud music a welcome respite for tourists who wants to unwind and de-stress and hear the sound of waves rushing to shore.
- Souvenir and food stalls have been prohibited. Further from the beach are accredited kiosks to fill your hungry tummy and souvenir shops for cool mementos.
- A ban on smoking and drinking along the beach. Visitors can roam freely enjoying the flour-like sand on their feet without worrying of stepping on cigarette butts, broken bottles and cans.
- Beachside roasting is forbidden there is no dining by the beach. Say goodbye to your favorite liempos, hotdogs, burgers, and isaws.
- Bring your cutlery and reusable bottles because single-use plastic is forbidden due to its adverse effect on the environment.
- Fido is not allowed on the beach. Pet owners should not leave their pets unattended or local officials will seize them. Be a responsible pet parent and clean up Fido’s waste.
- Litterbugs will be fined. Be sure to throw trash in designated areas to avoid another round of rehabilitation.
- Sandcastle building is regulated.
- Casinos have been banned. A beach is a place where family and friends get together to have fun and gambling should be not one of them.
- Kerosene lamps used for fire dancing is not allowed.
- Electric lights should not be installed on the coastline.
- Pyrotechnics display is permitted up to 9 pm.
Boracay has been recognized internationally as one of the best go-to places for tourists. Government is doing everything to protect nature’s gift let us not leave all the work to government do your share. Adhere to the guidelines to keep “Boracay looking good – All the time!”