I honestly don’t know where to start. My excitement, my happiness, and my eagerness to write this blog is beyond compare! It usually takes me days, even weeks after traveling to post a blog since I’m very picky with the photos and videos to include in the blog. It’s so different this time, I want to share our experience traveling in the new normal. So here it goes…
Since we have cancelled flights to Seoul and Tokyo last 2020, we used our travel fund from Cebu Pacific Air, so our airfare is basically kind of free. Round trip airfare ticket is only around PHP2,500 per person, that’s cheap considering I booked our flight last December 31st for Jan 8th. They offer a lot of cheap fares now since not a lot of people are traveling during pandemic.
Why Boracay? Our last experience there was memorable, we were there last October 26, 2018 when it reopened after the 6 months rehabilitation. It’s been more than 2 years, and we really miss the place. When I saw that Boracay is open for tourist during the pandemic with no age restriction, I decided that we need to go back. Was I scared? Not really. I saw how strict they are with the protocols and requirements before they allow you to enter the island. So, what do you need to do before traveling to Boracay?
Requirements to be presented at NAIA and Caticlan Airport (hard and soft copies are accepted)
1. Negative RT-PCR – swab test result should be extracted 72 hours prior to travel time, and the laboratory should be DOH accredited or else rejected. Please refer for the list of DOH accredited labs here. Cheapest I found was at The Manila HealthTek Inc. PHP2,950 per person. They can do home service for free if three or more will be tested. You can also go to their clinic located at 109 Brgy. Sta. Elena, Mayor Gil Fernando Avenue, Marikina. Make sure to message them through Facebook to set an appointment first. Please take note that you don’t need to quarantine or do another RT-PCR upon return to Manila.
2. Valid Government ID – make sure it’s not expired. They allow school ID for kids.
3. Confirmed Hotel Booking in Boracay – book DOT accredited establishments only, check the list here.
4. Roundtrip Airfare ticket – you should only book to Caticlan airport as your destination if you’re traveling to Boracay as a tourist. Kalibo is for residents/LSI only.
5. Health Declaration Form – The health declaration form can be found at touristboracay.com
6. Boracay QR Code (Tourist Validation Code) – To get a Boracay QR code, you must email the requirements to firstname.lastname@example.org, these are the items 1 to 5.
Email Subject: OHDC – Surname, First Name (Ex. OHDC – Dela Cruz, Juan)
We received the reply with our approved QR code within 10 minutes. Make sure you send individual email if traveling as a group to receive your individual QR codes. If you didn’t receive a reply, just send them a follow up email.
7. Download the Traze app on your phone – this will be used for contact tracing. However, upon airport check-in, they didn’t really asked for this.
Additional information: Grab is not allowed in the airport arrivals, you can only take airport yellow taxi. Since we don’t want to ride a public transportation for safety purposes, we parked our car at Park N’ Fly. More information in the vlog.
Caticlan and Boracay Arrival Guide:
Airplane disembarkation is by batch, 3-4 rows per batch. I like how they are organized since they follow social distancing.
At Caticlan airport, you’ll be asked to do temperature check and provide your government ID, boarding pass and QR code.
For those who don’t have hotel transfer service, you can still avail the tricycle service going to Caticlan port. Fare is PHP50 per person and maximum of 2 passengers only, however they allow 3 if the other person is a kid. They’ll be scanning your QR code before you can have your e-trike number, and you’ll be accompanied by their marshal going to the tricycle terminal.
Once you arrived at Caticlan port terminal, they will ask for your documents again. Then, you’ll pay the PHP100 terminal fee, PH75 environmental fee and PHP40 for boat ticket before boarding the boat.
Upon arrival at the Cagban port, you’ll see e-trikes waiting. We paid PHP50 per person going to La Carmela De Boracay.
Resorts/hotels offer 50-70% off discount during pandemic. Our room was only PHP5,450 for 3 nights, good for 4 pax with free daily breakfast. We had a huge balcony which is a bonus!
I think this is our 4th stay at La Carmela De Boracay. Reason for being is that they are affordable and family friendly. The staff are also nice and accommodating.
What to expect in Boracay Island?
Boracay island is less crowded and there’s plenty of open spaces. The beach view, the white sand, the coconut trees and the sunset is still so beautiful!
Best thing is, I was able to post my beach OOTDs with no one in the background, isn’t it great? LOL.
Locals are still offering beach activities: island hopping, paddle boarding, parasailing, paraw sunset ride, helmet diving, banana boat and more. Since it was gloomy when we were there, we opt for paddle boarding.
They also offer surfing now although there’s only mini waves. Paddle board rental/surfing is PHP500 per hour. Kyle enjoyed it so much!
Face mask and face shield are required when taking public transportation. However, when roaming around the island, only face mask is required. Temperature check is required whenever you enter an establishment, same as in Manila.￼
You can take off your mask when swimming and lounging by the beach.
You have to go to the lifeguard area to sign your names and have your temperature checked before going into the water. You can swim from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Be aware of the beach warning flags.
Also, some beach regulations to take note for a Better Boracay.
Some bars are open with happy hour promos, Epic is open. There’s no liquor ban in the island, however for the party goers, don’t expect to be as lively as before pandemic. If you want a chill night, you’ll enjoy it. Boracay curfew hours is 11:00 PM to 4:00 AM. Social distancing is still observed.
We loved our dinner at Hennan Palm Beach Resort. I think the price is reasonable with a nice ambiance and view. The set meal is PHP290 per person which comes with soup, main dish, and dessert.
As usual, my family enjoyed our Boracay trip. It’s a bit different than before, but the experience is worth the swab test and long lines! It’s still one of our to go beach destination in the Philippines.
Boracay Departure Guide:
Same as the arrival, you can ride an e-trike going to Cagban Jetty port from your hotel, fee is PHP50 per head. At the port, you’ll only pay for the PHP100 terminal fee and PHP40 for boat ticket going to Caticlan port. From Caticlan port to the airport, it’s only PHP25 per head for the e-trike.
Our Boracay vlog:
For more information about traveling to Boracay, you may visit the DOT website https://philippines.travel/safetrip/boracay.
Here’s our expenses for your reference. I didn’t include the food and activities, since not everyone would eat and do the same activities as ours.
I know a lot of us are still scared to travel, I totally understand. And that’s the reason why I shared our experience. As long as we follow the protocols, wear face mask, face shield, bring alcohol/sanitizer, wash your hands all the time, drink your vitamins, and practice social distancing, we can still enjoy traveling safely.
I hope this blog helps especially for those planning to travel to Boracay in the new normal. I promise, it’s worth the wait! For more of my adventures, please follow me on Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to our YouTube channel. Stay safe everyone!