AKLAN, Philippines – World-famous Boracay is now open for everyone to see, exactly 6 months after it was ordered closed by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Months-long rehabilitation efforts by the Philippine government yielded drastic changes – from making the White Beach spotless again to overhauling its entire road network. New rules were also imposed to preserve the fragile island.
Excited to see what the “new” Boracay has in store for you? Here’s what to expect.
Spotless white beach
Missed the powdery white sands of Boracay on your feet?
There are no water activities yet, so don’t put kitesurfing, diving, or paraw-sailing in your itinerary. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said they are still restoring the marine biodiversity around the island.
Tip: Don’t dare miss the famous sunset, it’s now so much better at the new Boracay.
There are only a couple of hotels and stores open right now, with many establishments waiting for their permits to operate.
As of October 25, there are only 157 hotels and resorts that tourists can book accommodations from. That’s only 3 out 10 hotels to choose from, down from the original 525 prior to the closure.
Fret not, the government said accreditation is still ongoing, so the list will grow longer in the coming days. AirBnBs will no longer be allowed. (LIST: 157 Boracay hotels open by October 26)
Tip: Make sure to book rooms only from accredited establishments.
War zone-like roads
Brace for Boracay’s war zone-like roads. It’s dusty and bumpy.
The entire stretch of what used to be the main road is partially closed from Hue Hotel in Station 3 up to Crafts Boracay in Station 2. But there’s an alternative road – but quite a longer trip – that is being used to go around the island.
Because of the construction works left and right, traffic is a bit heavy especially on narrow roads. The Boracay Circumferential Road will be opened by the end of the year.
Tip: Take advantage of the free rides around the island offered by Grab Philippines’ modern jeepneys. The Hop-on, Hop-off service is free until the end of the year.
Rising soon in Boracay are several open parks at its wetlands. For starters, wetlands serve as catch basin and prevent flooding in the island.
The government has partnered with the private sector to restore the wetlands. So far, 4 groups (Energy Development Corporation, LT Group, San Miguel Corporation, and the Aboitiz Group) are restoring and developing them to be sustainable open spaces.
The Balabag Wetland Park, adopted by the Aboitiz Group and developed by PGAA Creative Design, will soon be another attraction in Central Boracay. It’s just right across the D’Mall and the nearest at the beachfront.
Tip: Don’t forget to take a selfie!
Boracay is not as lively as it used to be, as the government imposed a ban on partying at the beach.
No more tables and chairs near the shoreline so all drinking and partying will have to be confined inside the bars. (WATCH: What it feels like without beach parties in Boracay)
The beach is also dimly lit, as the only light source comes from the establishments. Some parts are also very dark as many stores are still closed, and installing lights outside of establishments’ spaces is banned.
Tip: Make sure to bring a flashlight while walking. – GIFs by Adrian Portugal, Ken Bautista, Nico Villarete/Rappler.com