Funny how our lives and/or lifestyle can change in a snap, right? From living and roaming around different countries and places to just being stuck at home and not being allowed to go out. I clearly did not see it coming, who did anyway? Moreover, I did not even think it would last long for me to be able to go out – 13 months. When the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) and the Department of Tourism opened Boracay for local travels in October 2020, I had to hold my excitement. Because first, I am fully aware that we are still in the middle of the pandemic. Second, I want to make sure that I would at least feel safe if ever I proceed travelling to Boracay. And lastly, the travel requirements.
The process, the looks, and the vibes of travelling to Boracay is absolutely different from when I was there 7 years ago. Here are the travel requirements:
Boracay Travel Requirements
- Return Flights
One-way ticket is not a thing at the moment, at least for Boracay. You have to book return flights that will be submitted to the tourism office along with other requirements for approval or travel QR code issuance. I booked mine via Philippine Airlines at only PHP2,000.00 + PHP500.00 for a check-in luggage. Please note that all flights to Boracay shall be booked via Caticlan Airport.
- Confirmed Hotel Booking
A confirmed DOT-accredited hotel booking in Boracay is also required and have to be submitted to the tourism office.
- Negative RT PCR Test Result
A certificate of negative Covid RT-PCR test result taken at least 72 hours prior to the flight schedule must also be submitted. The RT-PCR test shall be done in a DOH-accredited testing center or facility. I checked the DOH-accredited testing facility in my city (I am based in Lipa) and it costs PHP5,000.00. I decided to take advantage of the Tourism Promotion Board/DOT’s 50% subsidy which only costed me PHP750. My RT-PCR test was taken at the Philippine Children’s Medical Center in Quezon City. For more information, check TPB’s PH Travel RT-PCR Test Subsidy for Qualified Domestic Tourists.
I CAN NOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH: DO NOT FAKE YOUR RT-PCR TEST RESULTS!
If you are not willing to abide by the rules and the protocols, by all means, DO NOT TRAVEL!
- Proof of Identity with Philippine Residency
Boracay is only open for local tourists thus, you will need to present an ID to prove your Philippine residency eg. passport, driver’s license, UMID, visa for expats, etc.
- Health Declaration Card
Health declaration form needs to be filled out through TouristBoracay website. I filled out the form right after the three other requirements (flights, hotel booking, negative RT-PCR result) got available. Make sure to take a screenshot of the health declaration confirmation page. It should look like this:
Submit Documents to Aklan Government
After completing all the requirements, the next step is to submit them to the Government of Aklan (as instructed in the health declaration form) for validation. Make sure to attach all the requirements documents requested: (screenshot of the confirmation page, negative RT-PCR result, confirmed hotel booking, return flights, proof of identity with Philippine Residency). The email shall be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject OHDC-Family Name, First Name.
Once submitted, they will review and validate your documents and you just have to wait for the issuance of the Travel QR code as an approval. Mine took 3hours after submission.
It will be handy if you save a copy of your travel pass on your phone. I had my QR code saved on my device.
Airport Requirements and/or Protocols
I checked-in online but there was no boarding pass issued and this is understandable as the travel QR code and other documents are needed to be checked at the check-in counter. Online check-in will serve as a confirmation that you will be flying as scheduled (unlimited rebooking is offered by most of the airlines now). I went to the airport (Terminal 2) more than 3hours ahead of my flight schedule (2hours suggested during pre-covid times) because I was not sure what I still had to go through at the airport.
I thought it will take time to go through the check-in to the boarding area but to my surprise, it was actually faster and smoother now! Well, one thing might be because there is not much travelers now. At the check-in counter, I was asked to present my ID, hotel booking, and the QR code. After that, the boarding pass was issued.
At the Caticlan Airport, there will be a queue before entering the airport. As you make your way to the counter, temperature will be checked and you will issued a paper stating your temperature. You will then give it to the counter and present your ID & the QR code then you are good to go.
Boracay Amid The Pandemic
Boracay is totally different from how it used to be years ago and I love it! It is cleaner, less crowded, and more peaceful. Well, of course, I wish more people to come so the locals can have livelihood. You will be required to wear masks when you roam around but if you just stay on the beach, it is fine.
All the establishments will get your temperature and ask you to fill out a contact tracing form which is a very good thing. Even when you do activities like diving, sailing, etc., your temperature will be gotten and you will be asked to fill out a form.
The prices in Boracay are relatively lower than how it used to be. I have mixed feelings about this. Of course, I like it because that means lesser money for me to spend but I couldn’t help but think of the adjustments the locals need to do just to maintain their livelihood in the middle of the pandemic. I also love how I got to talk to locals during my visit and actually made friends (Facebook friends with my dive instructors haha).
You will also see people at hotels having some drinks but there’s no party going on unlike how it was before when parties were everywhere. I must say, I really like it this way. I did not do much activities because I have done them before and my priority was to rejuvenate from being stuck at home and to have access to the beach and nice sunset whenever I get stressed or tired from work or anything (at least, for a week) and I got just that.
I feel like I want to be selfish and wish that Boracay remains how it is now but I know it is not good for the locals and the travel industry. So please, if you have the means, go to domestic destinations that are open for travel now. Again, follow the rules! DO NOT FAKE YOUR DOCUMENTS! Have fun!
For a regularly updated processes and travel requirements for Boracay amidst the pandemic, you may check Travel Requirements article by Boracay Compass.