Read the Feature: The Best Restaurants in Boracay 2021
Dreaming of going to Boracay during these pandemic times but wondering if it is totally Covid-safe to go to the island? You’ll see a lot of marketing messages promoting the health and safety protocols in each element of the journey from the airlines to the hotel, but nobody discusses the danger faced by the traveler end to end and how he could protect himself.
So, is it really safe and worth it to travel to Boracay now?
Safely Traveling to Boracay
NO RT-PCR Test Check at the Airport. The government already relaxed the need for negative results in the RT-PCR Test for most destinations, so security does not check anymore. You have to be extra careful by wearing double masks and not removing them in the air-conditioned environment.
Your Boracay QR code certifies that you tested negative in your RT-PCR Test and serves as your passport throughout your travel to Boracay and your entry key to different establishments. The first time it is checked is at the check-in counters.
Don’t fake your RT-PCR Test or you’ll be a persona non grata on the island of Boracay for life.
BORACAY TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS
1. Fill out an online Health Declaration form at www.touristboracay.com and take a screenshot of the confirmation.
2.Submit the following requirements along with the health declaration confirmation notice at email@example.com:
a. Negative test result of RT-PCR conducted 72 hours prior to time of arrival
b. Valid ID (Proof of Identification with Philippine Residency)
c. Confirmed Booking Form
d. Roundtrip Flight/Travel Details
Make sure to do this 2 days before the flight and not a day before because they are strict with documentation.
Safety at the Gates. Make sure to follow social distancing by staying away from the crowd. Be extra careful going to the toilets where people cough or sneeze all the time in a confined space. Make sure you eat and drink water before going to the airport.
Fly Airswift. Our recommendation is to fly via Airswift direct to Caticlan because they have stricter health protocols with swab tests for all their crew everyday, individual acrylic dividers and smaller number of travelers onboard the plane.
Caticlan Transfers. Most of the transfers from the Caticlan Airport to the Jetty Terminal are done in an al fresco environment and most are done by Southwest Tours safely. You’ll notice that the health protocols are relaxed when you are going to the island like nobody uses face shields anymore while riding the boat or van or tricycle.
Take note of the official fees: ₱100 terminal fee/way, ₱40 boat fee/way, and ₱150 environmental fee (one time)
Is Boracay a Travel Bubble? It is NOT true that Boracay is a bubble because only tourists going to the island are required to undergo RT-PCR tests. But if you are a local of Aklan, there’s no need for swab tests. This is the main reason why there was a Shangri-La Boracay Covid outbreak when some of the staff went to the Ati-Atihan celebration in Kalibo where they got infected with Covid. Be careful.
First Impressions. You’ll notice that all roads going to the white beach now have a paved sidewalk. All the tricycles are now electric—no more pollution—and they follow reduced capacity. It’s also more expensive, averaging ₱150 for an exclusive one way trip. Let’s support the local economy.
Hotel Check-In. Most of the standard health protocols are followed—wearing of masks, temperature check upon entry, availability of alcohol everywhere, acrylic protection on check-in counters and al fresco high-ceiling lobby.
The only thing different is that daily room make-up is not allowed anymore as part of safety practices.
Safely Going around Boracay Island
Outdoor Roof Deck Dining. One thing I love about Boracay is that you can eat outdoors everywhere—with roof deck dining and live acoustic performances especially during the weekend.
Day Pool Club. We love Day Pool Clubs like the one at Hue Boracay because you can get vitamin D all day to build your immune system and hangout in an al fresco socially distant environment while enjoying your drink any time.
White Beach is Clean. The water at the white beach is now clean with all the STP (Sewage Treatment Plant) issues fixed. No structures—chairs, beach beds or borders—are allowed at the public beach. You can bring your own banig to sit on and enjoy hanging out without any masks especially when going to swim.
Note: There is still green algae during summer time on the white beach but it doesn’t smell anymore unlike before.
Boracay Sound Healing. En Calvert of Tirta Spa pioneered the sound healing massage experience where the vibrations of the Tibetan singing bowl and crystal bowl would massage and heal your inner soul. It’s one of the unique healing massage innovations coming out of the pandemic—no touch, sound waves only.
Sound Healing Experience is priced at ₱2,000/head with promotional discount. d
Diniwid Old Boracay Vibe. DiniBeach is the place to be on a Sunday afternoon where you get to enjoy the old Boracay vibe and meet the locals living on the island. Spyder house is already demolished and there’s no Nami Villas anymore because they violated the 25+5 meters ruling and they were not environment friendly.
Restaurants with Boracay Vibe. We love restaurants where you can eat al fresco, with food and ambiance that’s uniquely Boracay like Dos Mestizos which relocated to Station 1 (behind Seawind). Go during lunch when there is less crowd, and have a safe, long lazy lunch with family and friends.
New Normal Paraw Sailing. It’s good that only a maximum of 6 people are allowed on a trip that runs for one hour until the sun sets. It’s relatively cheaper (₱1,500 for 2 + additional ₱150/head) and more regulated now than before when the boatmen were rushing and packing the paraw with as many people as possible.
Juggies Innovation! Yes, hanging out in your villas, on the beach and on the boat are the new normal, and you can now enjoy ice cold beer with your Juggies—thanks to Los Indios Bravos, home of the best craft beers on tap and the famous Dino Ribs and the freshest oysters.
Roof Deck Sunset Jacuzzi. If you are staying at Discovery Boracay, you can enjoy the sunset with their roof deck jacuzzi experience with your special one. Most of the local tourists would enjoy Boracay out of their own travel bubbles so make sure to plan your trip with your cherished family and friends.
Nightlife. You can still enjoy the nightlife in the restobar along the beach and enjoy the acoustic musical performance or music from the lady DJs of Boracay until 1 am. The hottest bar place now is Om Bar Boracay but it gets packed at night, and I prefer avoiding crowded places which could be a ground zero for an outbreak.
Is it safe to travel to Boracay now? YES, as long as the LGU continues to require a negative RT-PCR test result to travel, and as long as you follow more stringent measures—wearing double masks and not removing them when you are at the airport and being more discerning with your choice of airline.
Is it worth it? Definitely, YES. Now is the time to go to enjoy a more sustainable and environment-friendlier Boracay! One of the good things that the Duterte administration did was to fix the environmental issues of the island by strictly implementing the 25+5 meters public beach restriction, proper sewage treatment plant requirement for all establishments, use of electric trikes and provision of paved roads along white beach. I love the rebranding to family centric destination vs. the 24/7 party island.
Make sure to support the local economy by being generous with your tips to the porters, eating at local establishments and engaging in different activities with proper health protocols. Most of the establishments are hoping for better revenues this summer, and they don’t know if they will survive without foreign tourists after the summer season.
Live an Awesome Life with Christ,
Founder & Digital Creator, Our Awesome Planet
Disclosure: Thanks to Nikkei Team for the experience. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights.
Disclosure: We were guests of Airswift, Feliz Hotel and Hue Hotel during our recent trip to Boracay.
P.S. It’s alluring to stay longer on the island and extend because you can rent a house or a room for as low as ₱1,000/day. Planning to bring the kids for a longer stay on the island and maybe do online distance learning for the new school year. Work-from-anywhere is the new trend as long as the internet is fast, and Globe has good fiber connection now on the island. Make sure to seriously consider it when you plan a trip to Boracay.