The saying goes, “Good things come to those who wait.” That wait, where tourists and vacationers itching to visit – or revisit –the white sandy beaches of Boracay Island are concerned, is finally come to an end. Six months the resort island had been barred to the outside world by government orders, in order to clean up its ecological disaster and overcrowded infrastructure. This work has not yet ended, but Boracay has been judged fit to reopen as scheduled. Following a soft opening period almost two weeks ago, to shake down the new features and regulations for beachgoers, Boracay is ready.
CNN Philippines reports that the resort island of Boracay has been fully reopened to tourists this Friday, October 26, a full six months following its shutdown in April at the order of President Rodrigo Duterte. The fiery President had declared the Philippines’ most recognizable resort to be a “cesspool” following reports of illegal structures on the coastlines, lack of sewage systems and environmental damage that has resulted in potentially health-hazardous seawater content. During its closure, the resort island was gone over with a fine-toothed comb by national and local governments alongside local business interests, to correct any ecological disasters and improve on its existing infrastructure.
Of course, all the rehabilitation efforts put into Boracay for the better part of this year would go to waste if tourists were given too much leeway on the island. To address that, the DENR and DOT have released a set of guidelines to curb the buildup of waste, as well as control the volume of people at any time. Aside from littering and vomiting prohibitions, the beachfront is now barred to pets, beach-beds, chairs, umbrellas, hot-coal roasting, partying, and late-night fireworks displays. Water sports and sandcastle-building are to be regulated, torches would be replaced with LED lights, and no casinos can operate on Boracay.
Even access to the island has some caveats now. There are only a limited number of Boracay hotels and accommodations accredited by the government to allow bookings by tourists, and all incoming vacationers must be able to present reservations slips to those listed hotels to be allowed entry. Furthermore, the maximum tourist limit of 6,000 on Boracay at any given time will be strictly enforced, a far cry from the old glory days when the crowds numbered 19,000 on average.
While Boracay is now back in business – in a more manageable manner – the government stresses that its rehabilitation has only entered into a new phase, with facilities such as a circumferential road still in progress. Barring complications, full rehabilitation of Boracay and its environs are expected sometime in December 2019.
Image courtesy of Panay News