Boracay Island open to domestic tourists

boracay opens to domestic tourists on october 1

Last Updated on June 7, 2023 by Ellen

Resigned hope. If I had to describe the collective mood on Boracay – as a Malay resident who is a foreigner – I’d have to say people are resigned to the fact the pandemic has altered their lives for the foreseeable future, but they also have hope more tourists come back eventually to lift the local economies.

Boracay Island opened to domestic tourists on October 1. Officials call it a “soft” re-launch. This is what it was like.

If you are looking for the latest rules and some flight options to get here, they are at the bottom of this post.

Boracay Island opens

There is a huge banner at the port that reads “Welcome to COVID-free Boracay” to welcome visitors.

I arrived on the resident boat. Tourists use different boats at the same port. We all see the same sign. We all get into the same E-trikes.

Motorized trikes gone

Something new on opening day: E-trikes leaving the port heading require your name, age, address, and contact number.

Another new thing: no motorized trikes. Not one single one. The only public transportation option now is E-trikes, as the gas guzzlers have been phased out. I am not sure what will happen if there is a power outage, which has occurred every so often in the 6+ months we have lived in Malay.

More stores and shops open

Many more stores and shops are open than have been over the last several months since the pandemic caused businesses to shut down. However, not all are open. In fact, in D’Mall, it seemed to me to be nearly the same. If 20% of stores were open prior to October 1, on October 1 it seemed to me about 25-30% of stores were open.

The larger difference was more noticeable to me on the main road, and on the road leaving the port. More souvenir stands were open, a few more restaurants, more grocery and convenience stores seemed better stocked.

It’s as if some shopkeepers had measured hope for increased business — eventually. I think everyone realizes the booming days are not returning now, or in the near future.

White Beach

On the famous White Beach — I found bliss, as always. I also found I had it mostly to myself, as usual. No major throngs of tourists… yet.

Boracay Island is open to domestic tourists, but its famous White Beach was still virtually empty on the soft opening day.

There were still some vendors on the beach, which began about a month ago. Local people are so desperate for income, they have shirked the rules of no beach selling. Hats, sunglasses, cheap jewelry, and more.

I didn’t see any children climbing trees for coconuts, and I did see more police patrols.

In fact, guards and police gathered around a dead sea turtle left by high tide, and I was surprised to see so many officers. It appears the vendors had success avoiding them.

Resigned hope

During my day trip to Boracay, I went swimming, went to a cafe (Real Coffee, which has been open for months for locals — NOT Starbucks), visited a friend, and accompanied another friend to a few medical consultations.

I talked to wait staff, medical staff, E-trike drivers, and people on the beach. Every person from Boracay shared with me they didn’t expect a tourist ‘boom’ — but they had hoped for a greater number of visitors.

They all say they will keep hoping for increased tourism. As one local said, ‘What else can we do?’

After all, the pandemic rules decisions these days.

empty white beach with fallen tree debris on opening day of boracay island

Boracay Island open: domestic tourist rules, Air Asia flight schedule

The rules and reminders for domestic tourists to Boracay are below.

The first two graphics below are by the Department of Tourism. The third graphic is by Air Asia on its flight schedule. (Note, Air Asia is only one of three airlines permitted to fly into Aklan Province.) For more information on flights, go to this post.

To see enlarge the graphics, tap/click on them.

Thanks for reading, “Boracay Island open to domestic tourists.”

What to read next about Malay Municipality and Aklan Province:

  1. Amazing views of Boracay Island from Tuhaw Hills
  2. Panay Island wins travel award (includes Malay as a reason)
  3. Perfect dive spot near Boracay
  4. Aklan’s ‘other’ white beach – Jawili

3 thoughts on “Boracay Island open to domestic tourists”

    1. We have always done our visas on our own, so I cannot recommend a helper. We came to the Philippines from Indonesia, and secured visas on arrival in November 2019. Since then, we have gotten extensions at immigration field offices.

  1. Ryan K Biddulph

    Good deal Ellen and good news too. Places like the Philippines and Thailand – and Bali too – will eventually cave to the financial nightmares that are getting worse and worse, due to shutting down their country for business. When the suffering becomes too great the borders will open, people will be making money again and although some sickness will increase, so will overall happiness, health and wellness. The collateral damage has always been far too great for these drastic measures.


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