Boracay is back. No, not pre-pandemic level back. That’s still a long, long way off.
It’s back only insofar as it has ever been in the last 13 months, with tourist arrivals for the first half of June exceeding the same two weeks in March. In April and May, NCR residents were banned from travel except to four neighboring provinces.
The latest report from the Malay Tourism Office says 9,066 tourists visited the island from June 1 to 13. If the number of arrivals remains steady until June 30, this month will surpass March’s arrivals of 17,400 people, the highest since the pandemic started in 2020.
May’s arrivals only totaled 1,777 because of the continued heightened quarantine restrictions in NCR, where more than half of Boracay tourists come from.
As restrictions were further eased in NCR for the second half of June, there’s every reason to believe that a new record-high monthly total will be achieved.
Traveling to Boracay in the new normal is not as simple anymore as book-and-fly (book a flight and fly, hotel booking optional). Neither is it difficult, though. There are just a few extra steps and requirements, all meant to ensure everyone’s protection from the still ongoing pandemic.
Here’s a step-by-step guide.
Step 1: Book a roundtrip ticket to Caticlan Airport. Air travel to and from Boracay for tourists is only allowed via Caticlan Airport. The Kalibo airport is for use only by Returning Overseas Filipinos, Locally Stranded Individuals, Authorized Persons Outside Residence, and other emergency travelers. An e-ticket/emailable copy is one of the requirements you need to submit to be allowed to enter Boracay.
Step 2: Make a hotel or resort reservation online. But not just any hotel or resort. It has to be on the Department of Tourism’s list of accredited establishments. There are around 400 on the official list, and these are the ones that passed the health safety standards set by the government.
Check out the list here.
Step 3: Schedule an RT-PCR test. Doesn’t matter whether it’s swab or saliva. Both are acceptable. What’s important is that testing is done within the 72-hour period before time of the flight for Boracay. Needless to say, the result has to be negative.
Check with your booked hotel or resort if they provide assistance with this requirement. Some of them have tie-ups with health clinics in NCR and they’ll be the one to schedule the test for you. All you have to do is show up at the clinic for your test, aside, of course, from paying for it (if it’s not yet included in your package with the hotel/resort).
Step 4: Register for an Online Health Declaration Card (OHDC) with QR code at aklan.gov.ph or touristboracay.com. The QR code is a mandatory pre-boarding requirement. Without it you won’t be allowed to travel.
On the site, choose Boracay in the Where To page, fill out all required fields, and click submit. Take a screenshot of the confirmation page.
You can check with your hotel/resort if they provide assistance in handling this requirement for you. But you’d have to be ready to share with them the personal info required for the OHDC.
Some government-accredited COVID-19 testing centers or laboratories already include a QR code in their result certificates. This would suffice and you can skip this step and just proceed to the next.
Step 5: Register for an S-Pass. That’s short for Safe, Swift & Smart Passage, an e-travel pass issued by the government at https://s-pass.ph. While this is not a requirement for issuance of Tourist QR Code, the Aklan LGU highly recommends it “because airlines/airports or sea ports might require tourists to present it during their travel.”
Step 6: Send the following documents to [email protected] using the email subject OHDC-FamilyName, FirstName:
- screenshot of the OHDC confirmation
- Scan of government-issued ID
- RT-PCR Negative Result Certificate
- a copy of confirmed hotel booking
- roundtrip flight e-ticket
- a copy of pendingS-Pass Travel Coordination Permit (TCP) application from
While the registration for the Online Health Declaration Card is done individually for each tourist, this step of submitting all travel documents can be done by just one person representing a group of tourists including infants and children. Again, check with your booked hotel/resort for assistance.
The Aklan LGU reminds travelers to submit only valid documents especially the COVID-19 test results as falsification is punishable by law.
Step 7: Wait for the email response containing the Health Declaration Card with Tourist QR Code. It usually arrves after 2 hours from submission. In case it doesn’t come, you can send a follow-up email.
The Tourist QR Code will be used in the ports of entry/exit (land, air, sea) as well as in accessing services in Boracay. Each tourist must keep a copy (printed or digital) at all times during their stay.
The Tourist QR Code has an expiry of 12 hours from your accommodation checkout time. If you are extending your stay in Boracay Island, send an email of your new flight booking showing the extension to [email protected] before your original checkout time.
As any recent Boracay tourist will probably tell you, traveling to the island these days is quite affordable. Airfares and hotel rates are unbelievably low. There are also all sorts of fantastic packages like airfare+COVID test+accommodations and very friendly rates for longstays of one week up to one month.
Check hotels and resorts that are offering WFP (work from paradise) weekly and monthly rates.
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Hue Hotel Boracay has a few of those deals under its Alternative Abode promo. Hip, stylish, and cool, it’s an urbanite’s dream of a modern boutique-looking luxury hotel that wouldn’t be out of place in BGC and that gives guests total city vibes upon stepping back in after spending time in Boracay’s now almost mythic white beach. That’s the kind of best-of-both-worlds experience to tourists that perhaps no other place in all of the island can provide.
Hue also probably has the most number of Instagram-worthy spots per square meter of space among all Boracay hotels.