After its six-month shutdown, Boracay island opened for a dry run from October 15 to 26. Photos and videos of the island after the massive cleanup were shared by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources on social media.
Only the island’s residents and those from the main province of Aklan and from other provinces in Western Visayas were invited for the dry run.
The environment agency shared visuals on the results of the rehabilitation efforts of the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force and other groups on the day before the soft opening, October 14.
The visitors arrived via Boracay stations 1, 2 and 3 where pontoons were setup to ease their disembarkation.
The next day, an event called “Salubungan” for the limited arrival of tourists.
SALUBUNGAN NG MGA AKLANON AT BORACAYNON, GAGANAPIN SA OCT 15 SA ISLABoracay island – MAGSASALUBUNGAN ang mga taga…
It was at the event that Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu announced that the island’s waters are now “fit for swimming.”
Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat of tourism shared that the soft opening was for the tour operators and airlines to see the place first.
“We want to invite the airlines, the tour operators so that they can see what Boracay is before they actually promote it and before the soft opening,” Puyat said.
She also shared a video clip of the developments on Instagram.
Guidelines for Boracay’s reopening
Tourists need to follow stricter environmental measures to sustain the pristine waters of the island from now on.
The Malay municipal government passed an ordinance last month that prohibits the use of single-use or disposable plastic items by hotels, resorts, restaurants and establishments.
“Single-use plastics, particularly those used in packaging, have been identified as a contributing factor to Boracay’s mounting waste problem, not only on land but in surrounding waters,” DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said.
The number of tourists arriving will only be limited to 6,405 people. It was previously found that Boracay’s tourism capacity was only 19,215 people per day, but the number of locals, migrant workers and stay-in workers in Boracay reached 52,526 daily.
Private entities will also need to seek an environmental compliance certificate from the DENR first before being allowed to construct or operate.
“Sometimes there is a flip side to development as unchecked development takes its toll on the environment. While we encourage the influx of new businesses, local governments should always consider the potential impact of new projects on the environment and to nearby residents,” Año said.
Hotels, resorts and inns require accreditation from the Department of Tourism. The official list of currently accredited accommodations were released earlier this month.
Puyat warned the public should check the official list of accredited hotels first before making reservations.
“We want to warn the public that they can only book on those hotels that are listed on the DOT website, FB, Twitter, because we learned that many establishments not on the list have been accepting reservations,” Puyat said.