AKLAN, Philippines – On the eve of Boracay's much-awaited reopening, business owners are excited to see tourists once again.
But challenges remain, as they assess when they will break even from the depth of debt they have incurred over the 6-month closure.
Aika Rey files this report.
AIKA REY, REPORTING: Anim na buwan na ang nakalipas mula nang ipinasara ang isla ng Boracay. Sa darating na Biyernes, October 26 na ang inaasam-asam nilang pagbubukas nitong muli.
Six months have passed since Boracay Island was ordered closed. This coming Friday, October 26 is its much-awaiting reopening.
Para kay Lito Reyes, tapos na ang pagtitiis. Pero sa pagsisimula niyang muli, hindi lang daw back to zero, kundi back to negative pa raw siya. Aniya, baon pa rin siya sa utang.
For Lito Reyes, the suffering has finally ended. But when he starts again, it won’t be back to zero, but back to negative. He said he is still buried in debt.
LITO REYES, STORE OWNER: Mag-uumpisa kami sa negative kasi 'yung mga stall namin, tables, meron kaming utang sa renta. Buti na lang yung management nagbigay sa 'tin ng 50%. So ngayon 'yun hahabulin namin.
We will start on the negative because our stall, our tables, we have incurred debt from the rent. Thankfully, our management gave 50% discount. So now, that’s what we will have to pay.
Pero mag-oopen kami tomorrow partial lang, not totally. Tinitignan namin kasi minomonitor din namin ang pasok ng mga tourist through sa mga airlines. Kasi kaunti, may mag booking nga pero hindi marami pumapasok.
We will be open tomorrow but only partially, not totally. We are still assessing, because we are monitoring the entry of tourists through the flights. Because there are only few. There are bookings but not a lot goes here.
AIKA REY, REPORTING: Sa huling araw na sarado ang isla, nagkukumahog ang gobyerno at iilang negosyo sa paghahanda ng mga dapat pang ayusin para sa 'bagong' Boracay.
On the last day that the island is closed, the government and some businesses are rushing to ready those that need to be fixed for the ‘new’ Boracay.
But even if there are a lot of stores that are closed and roadworks that are yet to be finished, they are still grateful because they see the need to rehabilitate the island.
Aika Rey, Rappler, Boracay. – Rappler.com