Time for a straightforward, newsy, slow travel update from the Philippines during the pandemic.
Well, ok. Our ‘slow travel‘ lifestyle is more like: slow-travel-so-slow-it-has-stopped-for-now lifestyle. But that description is too long.
Slow travel update
It is cooler. A new season is here called amihan, which I previously wrote about.
Rice fields are green once again, as a new harvest crops up.
Tedly made a Christmas tree with green lights wrapped around a paper bag, wrapped around a large beer bottle.
I bake bread now and then.
I see rainbows every day. Seriously. (See below.)
We shopped for our Ati friends and supported local businesses in nearby Caticlan, the port town to Boracay Island.
I’m patiently waiting for Santa to show up. After the Christmas typhoon last year, I have faith he will visit local children this year.
And that’s about it. Pretty tame stuff.
Just rainbows and beaches, bus, boat and trike rides around the region. Good enough for me. For now.
West Philippine Sea
Now, some news from this side of the world might interest our readers.
There is radioactivity in the West Philippine Sea that alarms some leaders. I have been unable to find information yet about what this means for sea life, or people. It’s a new development in an ongoing, increasing military saga.
There is speculation the radioactive material is waste from nuclear-powered military ships from China and/or the USA
The West Philippine Sea is adjacent the South China Sea. China claims a territory of resource-rich ocean far from its mainland, near the Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia called the Nine-Dash Line. (I explained the history of this disputed area six months ago, if you want to read more on it.)
Chinese expansionism is a logistical threat to a prime shipping lane on this side of the world. Plus, it’s full of resources. So there is more of a U.S. military presence far out at sea.
The Philippine president has so far kept a balance between the two superpowers because the current American administration seriously eroded relations here. And China has money.
It will be interesting to see who President-Elect Joe Biden names as U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines. (Currently, the seat is empty.)
Boracay QR code
Finally got a QR code, which is a new requirement for everyone visiting Boracay Island – even people who live on the mainland.
Glad that’s worked out. I might like to spend more time on Boracay now that the weather is cooler and, apparently, I’ll need a QR code to do so.
The latest numbers from the Malay Tourism Board show 3,700 people traveled to Boracay as domestic tourists in the first 12 days of December. Not even close to numbers back in the booming pre-‘Rona days. It is however, a start. Everything starts from something.
There is no official word yet on when the Philippines might open up to international tourists.
Recently, the government announced its support of a global COVID-19 passport once “inoculation rolls out across the world.”
Right now, the push is to build up domestic tourism. A less-than-one-minute video by the provincial government outlines what’s needed to get to Boracay. It seems these protocols will remain in place for a larger tourism base.
COVID-19 in the Philippines and near us
The Philippine government hopes to begin vaccinations sometime in the first half of 2021. This timing will depend on when this poor country can get the vaccine from distributors.
Wealthy countries have bought advance doses, so some people are of the opinion widespread vaccinations in the Phillippines is more realistic in late 2021.
As far as COVID cases go, the Philippines has its problems, like every country. Cases are concentrated mostly around Manila. Overall, the country is not seeing a surge like back home. Not even close.
In Aklan Province, there is one new case this week, and a handful of pending test results.
In Malay Municipality, the official county is five cases since March 27, 2020; all have recovered, with no new cases reported.
So it seems we are still safe, which is one of the reasons we want to stay here. For now.
Last fun fact on our stopped/slow travel update
There is a rainbow nearly every day here at the Hangout Beach Resort.
Here is a shot from just a few minutes ago:
I choose to take it as a sign, a “God nod”: this is where I’m supposed to be, on day 3,901 of sobriety.