Boracay opens October 1; island trike phaseout

This just in: Boracay will open to additional tourists on October 1.

The Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) announced its decision at a Tuesday night meeting. It was expected because the economic region on the popular vacation island, and the mainland port area, have taken extreme financial hits without tourists.

Domestic tourists will be allowed onto Boracay from all over the country – including Manila – with a negative COVID-19 test. Manila has had the most COVID-19 cases in the country. However, cases continue to pop up in Aklan Province.

Casual foreign tourists are still not allowed, as had been hoped.

Prior to Oct. 1, only regional tourists from Panay Island or the greater Visaya area can visit Boracay.

Everyone is hoping this is the start of growing and lasting income for the tourist-driven economy of Aklan Province, and Malay Municipality.

Before the pandemic, domestic tourists made up 930,000 each year to Boracay’s total 2.3 million visitors.

I do not think there will be 930,000 Filipino tourists flocking to Boracay in the coming months. But hopefully, there will be many thousands to lift the businesses and livelihoods on Boracay and the mainland because people are desperate, and it’s heartbreaking to see.

Read more about the opening of Boracay at the Business Mirror.

Motorized trike phaseout

Meanwhile, the tricycles, or “trikes” (Filipino motorcycles with carts used as taxis), reportedly will continue to be “phased out” starting on the same date, October 1. The cleaner, more efficient electric trikes, or E-trikes, will eventually become the only taxis on the island.

The older gas trikes were to be phased out back in December 2019. However, the Christmas typhoon knocked out power for a long time and prevented charging, and then, the coronavirus pandemic further delayed phase-out plans.

Drivers have pleaded with officials not to cut them out, even though their livelihoods have essentially evaporated without tourists.

I understand the reasons to switch to the more efficient, cleaner energy vehicles. But I still ride motorized trikes now and then. I feel bad for the guys trying to make a living.

And, when a driver doesn’t try to rip me off and is honest, like the kind man pictured at the top of this post, I make a point to tip – often very well.

(By the way, Kalibo trike fares increased. Here is a link to the new fare structure; even though the headline is misleading – the story is about Kalibo fares, not Boracay fares.)

Side note: Haves versus have nots

I found this opinion by a Filipino columnist interesting – if only because it shows the widening gap between the haves and have nots thanks to this crazy coronavirus crisis.

It’s the same in America, from what I can see from the other side of the planet — that there is a growing sense that it’s not republicans or democrats or independents at war, that it’s not older generations versus younger kids. It’s really simply this: the greedy rich against the needy poor.

I canceled my subscription to the New York Times years ago. But I still check it now and then. Here’s an ad recently shown to me:

That Thailand’s tourist office is buying ads to show NYT readers is telling. The new travel rules are being made right before our eyes: governments are targeting people with more money. ‘Average’ Americans generally do not read the New York Times. But elites generally do.

Thanks for reading, “Boracay opens October 1, trike phaseout restarts same day.”

Amazing pictures of Boracay during the pandemic:

More about the nearby mainland:

Boracay opens October 1; island trike phaseout

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