An escape to Boracay: Traveling responsibly in the new normal

·3 min read

Late last year, Cebu Pacific and Megaworld invited members of Cebu media for a familiarization tour of Boracay. It was my first trip since the lockdown and my first time on the island, so I was obviously excited but also nervous about what traveling would be like now.

If you’re heading to the island anytime soon (or any of the other beautiful destinations our country has, for that matter), here are some tips I picked up while on our short but sweet visit to Boracay.

Observe health and safety protocols during your flight

It’s completely normal to feel anxious while on a plane during a pandemic, but planes are equipped with HEPA filters to keep the cabin air clean. As long as you keep your mask on (unless you’re enjoying your delicious in-flight meal), you’re doing the best you can to keep yourself and others safe. When your pre-booked meal on Cebu Pacific is served to you, a thoughtful note is also given to remind passengers on how to enjoy their food safely.

Clean as you go

In 2018, Boracay underwent a six-month rehabilitation due to unsavory environmental repercussions caused by overtourism over the years. While walking along the stations’ white sand shores, I spotted trash bins by The Juan Effect, Cebu Pacific’s sustainable tourism program. As tourists slowly make their way back to Boracay, may these bright yellow bins serve as a reminder to help keep the island clean and pristine as it should be.

Research on travel requirements

After almost two years of bans and restrictions, it’s nice that we are able to travel again. One of the disadvantages with traveling now, however, is that there are additional requirements.

For Boracay, a negative RT-PCR test is not needed, but travelers must secure a unique QR code through the local government unit and bring certain documents to enter. It’s important to research intensively and frequently prior to your travel dates as requirements may change from time to time.

Choose the right accommodations

On this trip, we were hosted by Belmont Hotel Boracay, a chic hotel situated inside the sprawling 150-hectare tourism development by Megaworld, Boracay Newcoast. If you’d rather skip the crowd of the island’s main stations, Belmont is a great place to stay for some peace and quiet. There’s a private beach where you can swim, kayak and have a cocktail or two during happy hour. You can also bike to the iconic Boracay Keyhole at the edge of the property, which is especially gorgeous at sunrise.

Support local businesses

For lunch, we visited Plato D’ Boracay in Station 1, which is basically an institution on the island and a pioneer of the “paluto” concept. The charming restaurant does away with unnecessary gimmicks and champions what it does best: cooking the freshest seafood in the ways we Filipinos love. For an island whose economy is heavily dependent on tourism, homegrown businesses—whether it’s a family-owned restaurant or a trusted “paraw” operator—need our support more than ever.

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