Did all that fake sand talk make you miss Boracay?

Did all that fake sand talk make you miss Boracay?
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Now that the island is open to domestic tourists, more than just grains of sand, you can have hearts and stars and snowflakes between your toes

Photos by Jackie Tinsay

PALM PROMENADE Palm trees keep white sand company as Boracay awaits beach goers

If you’re all fed up with the sand “storm” over Manila Bay, why not plan to dip your toes in real sand?

Why not go to Boracay?

Paradise Island, which has consistently been recognized by international travel institutions as the best island in the world or the best island in Asia over the years, has been open to travelers from Western Visayas since June. But, as of today, it is open to tourists from all over the Philippines. Best of all, you can bring the whole family, even those over 60 and under 21.

WALK ON THE BEACH With the strictest health and safety measures in place, Boracay can stay Covid-free

It is true. You and me and our lolos and lolas and the children we love are now welcome in Boracay. To date, on October 1, there are 202 hotels and resorts that the Department of Tourism (DOT) has issued with operating authority certificates (CAO). This number represents more than 4,400 rooms that we can reserve now.

The reopening was a decision carefully considered by the heads of the Inter-Agency Task Force of Boracay (BIATF), headed by the Secretary of the Environment. Roy Cimatu as president and secretary of the interior and local communities Eduardo Año and tourism secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat as Co-Vice Presidents, in close coordination with the Governor of Aklan Florencio Miraflores.

THE PRESIDENT Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat, photo by Noel Pabalate

But is Boracay ready?

More importantly, is it safe?

“Although it has been open to visitors from the Western Visayas since June, it should be noted that Boracay has remained Covid-free,” Berna tells me. “We looked at what works and what can be improved, and also applied our lessons learned from the best practices of other destinations in terms of reopening. Innovations in medicine and digital technology have also given us more guarantees in the form of more accurate and faster tests and contactless transactions. “

KEEP IT GREEN Coconut plantation in Hennan Boracay

Travelers, for example, are now required to provide negative RT-PCR results 48 to 72 hours before travel.

In addition, all airlines serving Boracay, such as Air Asia, Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines, have been urged to use Caticlan’s Godofredo P. Ramos Airport as the only airport of entry to the island.

THE SOUND OF SILENCE Waves and breeze and all the riches of solitude on the sand

We cannot be slaves, we cannot give in to this pandemic. We need to find ways to live there and thrive while protecting ourselves and others.

Berna Romulo Puyat

“Thanks to these interventions, the age restrictions have been lifted,” adds Berna. “Our job is to make sure hotels and resorts follow our strict health and hygiene protocols.”

Of course, these protocols, temperature checks for example, and social distancing, information sharing to enable contact tracing, as well as frequent disinfection of hands and things are strictly enforced from the airport to the reception of the hotel. ‘hotel.

LIKE POWDER Sand made by nature and not by heavy machinery. Author’s photo

Where I stay, at the relatively new Hotel Feliz, located in a European-looking building reminiscent of colonial houses, nothing is touched when checking in or, if anything needs to be touched at all, like your rooms. Identity or your credit cards by the receptionist or your suitcase by the bellhop, it is wiped or sprayed with alcohol after it has been taken and before its return. Room accessories, such as the phone and remotes, are sealed in plastic wrap to make sure they have all been sanitized.

UNDER THE BORACAY SUN A moment of calm and stillness on White Beach

So yes, Boracay is ready, that is, if we are ready to follow the protocols diligently. Plus, all the pleasures of Boracay’s acclaimed waters, crystal clear, warm and refreshing to the soul, are now available for beach adventurers. Choose from a wide range of activities ranging from jet skiing, parasailing, banana boat rides, and helmet diving to island hopping. Scuba diving is also available, but you will need to book in advance to give operators time to prepare boats and equipment.

The closest of all, always ready, is sand, real sand, real fine, real white depending on the time of day and the color of the sky or the season. So I don’t mind sitting there with my toes buried in the powdery grains.

SHAPED BY THE WIND The forces of nature are Boracay’s untold treasures

There is more to this sand than you can see with your bare eyes. Under a microscope, the sand is full of shapes that should put your emojis to shame – hearts, stars and snowflakes, for example, in which the forces of waves and wind and the pressure of water sprayed down. things such as boulders, rocks, calcium carbonate, and coral skeletons.

There is nothing quite like a real vacation, with sea, sky and space to unleash your mind – free from Covid, free from sand wars and other ‘war, stupid war Of Metro Manila, finally free, only three days and two nights out of life or having been locked up at home for too long – but with hearts and stars and snowflakes between your toes to keep you in. ground.

TWILIGHT Sunset on the beach

Who knows how long the other 7,640 islands representing the different shapes, sizes and sensations of our many destinations will be able to follow suit? And maybe traveling – and getting away from it all – will soon become normal again.

Meanwhile, the sand beckons, really white, very fine, crushed by the forces of nature and rolled out like a VIP carpet especially for you.

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