Tourists and residents walk past a security check at the Caticlan jetty port to get to Boracay on April 24, 2018, ahead of its closure. President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the once-idyllic white-sand resort closed to tourists for up to six months from April 26, after describing the country's top tourist attraction as a “cesspool” tainted by raw sewage.
AFP/Noel Celis
What it’s like to enter Boracay during the island’s closure
Rosette Adel (philstar.com) - June 19, 2018 - 11:13am

AKLAN, Philippines — With the implementation of Proclamation No. 475, placing Boracay under the state of calamity, entry to the island has been stricter.

The proclamation signed by Duterte on April 26, the day of the island closure itself, mandates the temporary shutdown of the famed tourist destination for six months until October 25. This is intended to pave way for its ecological rehabilitation and restoration.

In this June 2018 photo, passengers fall in line at the Tabon Port before they are allowed entry to Boracay island. Philstar.com/Efigenio Toledo IV

It also covers the three barangays of Boracay, Manoc-Manoc, Balabag and Yapak.

READ: Duterte declares state of calamity in Boracay

In light of the island’s closure, the Boracay inter-agency task force composed of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of the Interior and Local Government and Department of Tourism released eight guidelines on the restrictions, limitations and permitted activities on the island.

The guidelines stated that Boracay is off-limits to tourists. The entry end exit points shall only be in Caticlan and Cagban Jetty Port.

Security check mandated

Head of the municipal economic department Jimmy Maming said ferry trips have been transferred to Tabon Jetty Port due to the strong waves caused by the southwest monsoon or “habagat.” He said this is an annual transportation protocol.

Upon arriving at the Tabon port, officials of the Municipality of Aklan designated separate lines for the security check on workers, Boracay residents and senior citizens as well as persons with disabilities.

Each port is manned by members of the Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine National Police, Philippine Navy and municipal officers.

Identified tourists are stopped by the authorities who seek identification card for all residents and workers before they are permitted entry to the island. Residents are asked to present IDs with a specific residence address in any of the three villages.

The municipal officials recognize government IDs while non-government IDs are only accepted if it is accompanied by a barangay certification of residences.

The government’s guidelines also disallow entry of visitors of Boracay residents except under emergency situations and with the clearance of the security committee composed of the representatives from the DILG, PNP and the local government.

Foreign residents also have to undergo checks and have to be revalidated by the Bureau of Immigration.

Meanwhile, members of the press covering the island closure will only be allowed if they are accredited by the DOT.

A DOT representative is present at the security checkpoint at the jetty port to certify the entrance of the media.

The members of the press are asked to login details of arrival and departure.

Port operation generally smooth

Despite the stiffer measures and interrogation process imposed on passengers going in and out of Boracay, Maming said operations at the ports have been so far smooth.

The Malay municipal official noted that there is a decrease in the number of passengers entering the island but added that this was already anticipated.

“It has been so far so good. As usual, we abide with the procedures that the national government [has] set. It has been generally speaking so far smooth,” Maming told Philstar.com.

The Malay municipal official said while there are still passengers unaware of the island closure, they educate and explain to them the process and they abide.

A dispatcher, manning the port, who refused to be named, said around 1,000 people take the ferry trips daily since the closure.

Among those passengers are workers who help in the rehabilitation of the island and residents who run businesses outside the island.

Fish vendor Janet Daguno said she takes the ferry trip in the morning and return in the afternoon since she sells seafood at the Tabon Port area.

Operations at the port start as early as 6 a.m. and end at 10 p.m.

BORACAY BORACAY CLOSURE BORACAY REHABILITATION TABON PORT
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