Fewer hotels, no smoking or partying on the beaches. And construction works will still be going on. Welcome to the new Boracay.
The Philippines’ tourist magnet will reopen on October 26 after phase one of the island’s rehabilitation is completed. But work is on-going improving roads, constructing sewage systems and some beaches still remain in a ‘critical condition’. Some hotels won’t be re-opening until next year as they sort out their basic infrastructure and sewage, as per the demands of The Philippines government.
And it’s not as if they’re making new air fares cheap or the schedules easy from gateway cities Singapore, Hong Kong and Bangkok. Travel time can reach an unbearable 21 hours depending on which routes you take.
The Philippines president, Rodrigo Duterte, surprised the island’s travel industry back in April when he described Boracay as a ‘cesspool’. He ordered an unprecedented shutdown closing the island to tourists for six months to clean up the sea and end the practice of pumping raw sewage into bays where tourists thought it was safe to swim.
ttrweekly.com reports that airlines stopped all flights to two airports, Caticlan and Kalibo, both on the neighouring Panday island that served visitors to Boracay. Kalibo, which is 68 km from the Caticlan ferry port has more international flights, while Caticlan airport, just a short distance to the ferry port, is served mainly by domestic flights from Manila, Cebu or Clark. Travellers take the ferry across the narrow 2 km straits between Panday and Boracay islands.
The first flight, courtesy of Cebu Pacific, will land at Caticlan airport October 26 from Manila, 315 km to the north.
One of Boracay’s beaches, appropriately named Bulabog, will still under a construction cloud as the new sewage works there are behind schedule. But most of the other beaches are back in business although with fewer hotels and hotel rooms.
Before you head off to Boracay note that the “Party at the Beach” tagline, adopted for the island’s advertising campaign, is no longer valid. Beach parties are now banned. No drinking, no littering and take your cigarettes elsewhere please! Officials say they will strictly enforce the new beach code.
But we are told White Beach is ready and waiting for the first tourist footfall to get economic recovery for the 35,000 island residents back on track.
Government officials confirmed that around 90 resorts of the 296 properties registered would be compliant with new regulations on sewage treatment by October 26. It should give the island around 5,000 rooms down from the 15,000 that were in business last April.
Logistics are still critical for getting tourists to Boracay and the flights and connections are still unfriendly.
Caticlan (MPH) is the most convenient airport for the land and ferry transfer to Boracay but it requires a change of plane in Manila, Clark or Cebu. The alternative is Kalibo, 65 km from the ferry port serving Boracay.
Out of Singapore, Cebu Pacific’s best fare is US$289 on Skyscanner compared with US$345 if you book direct on the airline’s website.
Out of Bangkok, AirAsia has the best deal to Boracay at US$279 roundtrip, but the trip is a long-haul trek of 13 hours and 50 minutes departing Bangkok at 2115 and arriving at 1200 on the following day at Caticlan. There’s a change of plane in Manila.
Read the rest of the story HERE.
Opening of a rail service between Thailand and Cambodia in Sa Kaew
The Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is leading a delegation to officiate at the opening of a new rail service between Thailand and Cambodia at Klong Luek railway station in Sa Kaew province. The Thai government funded the maintenance and restoration of the two kilometre rail track between Klong Luek station and Poipet station in Cambodia.
Rail services between Thailand and Cambodia were suspended for decades due to strained relationships between the two countries since the Cold War era. Although the relationship is much better these days there was little interest in the restoration of the rail link as people in both countries tended to prefer travel by road.
Sea turtle returns to its nesting place – it’s now an airport!
“Despite the unfortunate circumstances that befell the turtle mother, she is reportedly in good health and was released back into the ocean by locals,” wrote local news website The Edition.
The incident has sparked fresh debates on the environmental and social costs of the Maldive’s tourism-propelled growth (sounds familiar?).
“The question remains on how much of Maldives’ biodiversity must be sacrificed in order to propel our country forward industrially and economically,” the website said.
The airport, which has a 2.2 kilometre, 40 metre-wide runway, was inaugurated in August last year. The UAE-funded project was built on Maafaru, one of the inhabited islands of Noonu Atoll, which is a traditional nesting place of the marine turtles.
Once a green turtle hatches and heads into the ocean, it rarely returns to land. When they reach sexual maturity, they travel long distances to go back to their natal place to mate and lay eggs.
The green turtle (Chelonia mydas) is on the list of endangered species of animals by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
SOURCE: The Nation
East Sulawesi rocked by 6.8 magnitude tremor – tsunami warning
A strong 6.8 magnitude earthquake rattled eastern Indonesia yesterday triggering a tsunami warning, soon retracted, sending panicked residents fleeing to higher ground.
The quake struck off the east coast of Sulawesi island near where a 7.5 magnitude earthquake and tsunami around the city of Palu killed more than 4,300 people in September last year.
Indonesia’s disaster agency issued a tsunami warning for coastal communities in the island’s Morowali district, east Sulawesi, where residents were advised to move to elevated grounds. The warning was later lifted.
The tremor off the eastern coast of Sulawesi is on the other side of the island from last year’s disaster-hit Palu, where residents still felt the quake despite being hundreds of kilometres away.
The force of last year’s quake saw entire neighbourhoods levelled by liquefaction, a process where the ground starts behaving like a liquid and swallows up the earth like quicksand.
The sprawling Indonesian archipelago is dotted with more than 100 volcanoes, including one in the middle of the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra islands that erupted in late 2018 and unleashed a tsunami that killed more than 400 people.
SOURCE: The Nation | AFP
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