Heads-up, people: The world’s best island has reopened!
El Nido in Palawan, popular for its towering rock formations and stunning white beaches that inspired Hollywood movies, and voted as the Best Island In The World 2020 by Travel+Leisure, was made accessible to tourists starting October 3.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat recently made the announcement, noting that El Nido is now in the second phase of the travel bubble. This means that tourists can enjoy leisure activities provided they undergo a RT-PCR test and receive a negative test result 72 hours before traveling to the island. Travelers can either take a flight to Puerto Princesa, then a van or private vehicle to El Nido, or a direct flight via AirSwift from Manila to Lio Airport in El Nido.
Per DOT guidelines, you can visit the island during scheduled three-night (or longer) vacations twice monthly. The maiden trip was inaugurated in July, followed by another one in August, then twice in September and October.
The trips, have always sold out within days. Thus, visitors are advised to check with their chosen resort to inquire about the next available trip prior.
The announcement has been much awaited after Palawan, whose economy mainly relies on tourism, suffered around P3.2 billion in losses, affecting nearly 14,000 tourism workers.
Requirements for tourists
Here’s what visitors need to accomplish to be able to visit:
- RT-PCR test with a negative test result undergone 72 hours prior to the trip
- Completed health declaration form, which can be accessed by logging in to the El Nido municipality’s website.
- Unique QR Code, which they can get after completing the form
However, travelers with comorbidities and immunodeficiencies and/ or are pregnant are not permitted to enter the island.
As of the moment, nine El Nido resorts and hotels have been granted the certificate of authority to operate (CAO) by the DOT, while 27 received provisional CAO.
El Nido Resorts were allowed to operate at 50% capacity.
Some of the notes that have since reopened include:
- Miniloc Island Resort, an Ayala-owned private island which boasts villas on stilts, surrounded by rugged limestones and a white beach brimming with snorkel and dive spots.
- Huni Resort, a laidback and sustainable resort on Lio Tourism Estate. The resort accepts bookings for Palawan residents.
- Amanpulo Resort, part of the global Aman chain of hotels that boast ultra-luxurious island getaways.