AKLAN, Philippines – Top tourist hotspot Boracay finally opened its shores to the public, exactly 6 months after it was ordered closed for becoming a "cesspool."
For officials, Boracay's reopening is just the start of stricter compliance with environmental laws. Its rehabilitation is even hailed as an example for the rest of the world.
Aika Rey files this report.
AIKA REY, REPORTING: Maputing buhangin at mas malawak na babayin – 'yan ang tatambad sa mga turistang puwede nang makabisitang muli dito sa Boracay.
White sands and a wider shoreline – that's what tourists can now see when they visit Boracay.
Ngayong Biyernes ang pinaka-inaabangang pagbubukas muli ng isla matapos itong ipasara nang 6 na buwan.
This Friday is the much-awaited reopening of the island after it was ordered closed for 6 months.
KHRISTOPHER KEN NACOR, KITESURFING INSTRUCTOR: Na-surprise kami, super dami ng tao kaagad. Anyway lahat naman excited to see Boracay what happened to Boracay for 6 months.
We were surprised that a lot of people came here. Everyone is excited to see what happened to Boracay after 6 months.
The new Boracay will be an example to the rest of the island as well. I think Boracay will be ahead to conserve the beach or the corals and everything. I think Boracay will be the example for everyone, not only in Asia, maybe some other countries as well.
AIKA REY, REPORTING: Sa "bagong" Boracay, mas kakaunti na ang mga hotel at restaurant, at ipagbabawal na rin ang pag-paparty sa harap ng beach.
At the "new" Boracay, there are only a few hotels and restaurants back in business. Partying at the beachfront is banned.
Ayon sa Department of Tourism, nasa 157 lamang na hotel at resort ang kanilang pinayagang mag-operate. Marami pang dapat ayusin ang kanilang sewerage system, na siyang dahilan kung bakit tinawag ni President Rodrigo Duterte na "cesspool" ang Boracay.
According to the Department of Tourism, only 157 hotels and resorts were allowed to operate. Many businesses need to fix their sewerage system, which is the reason why President Rodrigo Duterte called Boracay a "cesspool."
Sa anim na buwan na ito'y sarado, sinabi ni DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu na ligtas nang lumangoy sa dagat. Kaya naman pinaghihigpitang maigi ang mga negosyo, upang makasiguradong sumusunod sila sa mga batas.
Because it was closed to the public for 6 months, DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu said the water is now safe for swimming. It's the reason why they are strict with businesses – to ensure they follow the laws.
ROY CIMATU, DENR SECRETARY: A periodic inspection of all establishments, hotels, restaurants, determine the compliance of environmental laws like the sewage. Tutukan namin weekly 'yan.
We will implement a periodic inspection of establishments, hotels, restaurants, and determine the compliance with environmental laws – like the sewerage. We will focus on that.
'Yang quality of the water naglagay kami ng real-time monitoring yan so that we will find out pagnagde-deteriorate ang quality of the water to the point na malalampasan niya 'yung maximum, we will recommend or we will decide na i-close muna a portion of that. So medyo very strict tayo especially sa quality of the water in the beaches.
We place real-time monitoring devices for water quality so that we'll know if it's deteriorating. If it reaches the maximum point, we will recommend or decide to close a portion of that. We are very strict especially with the quality of water at the beaches.
AIKA REY, REPORTING: Sabi ng mga opisyal, hindi nagtatapos sa pagbubukas ng Boracay ang pagpapasara ng mga tourist destination. Sabi nila, umpisa pa lamang ito.
Officials says the reopening of Boracay is not the end of closing down tourist destinations. They say this is only the beginning.
Aika Rey, Rappler, Boracay. – Rappler.com