Coron Reopens on Dec 1, Puerto Princesa on the 8th

Another popular tourism hotspot in the country will soon open to a wider set of travelers. Coron Island will start welcoming domestic visitors on December 1, Manila Bulletin reported. 

Palawan residents, as well as tourists coming from all regions, can come to the famous destination, provided that they are 15 to 65 years old. This includes Philippine-resident foreigners.

It was in June that the island first resumed tourism activities, but only accepting residents of Calamian group of islands, as mentioned in this report from Palawan News Online.

Health Preparations

To protect the health safety in the community, all visitors must submit a negative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test result 48 to 72 hours before their flight. They must also book their accommodations and tour packages ahead. 

For the health declaration form, the Coron Municipal Tourism Office encourages filling out at their official website: www.corontourism.ph. Upon accepting the terms and conditions, tourists will be able to get a QR code from the platform, which will serve as their pass when entering the island.

Meanwhile, at the actual arrival, there will be a health evaluation procedure at the triage area of Francisco Reyes B. Airport, popularly known as Busuanga Airport.

Those who show symptoms of the novel coronavirus should undergo a follow-up antigen testing worth P3,500. Meanwhile, visitors who test positive will have to be in quarantine, either in a hotel isolation room or a local government identified center in Palawan. Those deemed healthy will be granted entry to Coron.

Safer Travel

All throughout their stay, tourists must observe the strict curfew and limited movement policy the local government implemented.

It’s likewise imperative to disclose their itinerary to the hotel’s front desk clerk to help contact tracing efforts in the future.

Meanwhile, transportation vehicles on the island operate under 50 percent capacity, including boats. In restaurants, reservations are encouraged. These establishments close at 10PM following the curfew policy.

When exploring the island, visitors must wear face shields and masks and observe physical distancing.

In the event that a guest falls ill and experiences COVID-19 symptoms during their travel, they will undergo health evaluation again at the Municipal Health Office. They would take the mandatory Sofia antigen test worth P3,500. If they test positive, they will quarantine in one of the designated hotels. They will stay in Culion General Sanitarium if their symptoms are severe.

Palawan Reopening

The easing of travel restrictions in Coron follows after one Palawan hotspot reopened in October, El Nido. The island-resort started welcoming tourists coming from outside the province on October 30, as mentioned in this CNN Philippines report. It was in July when the destination rebooted tourism activities, but accepting Palawan residents only.

Similar to Coron, a negative RT-PCR test is necessary to secure entry to El Nido.

The next Palawan hotspot eyed to reopen soon is Puerto Princesa. In a Manila Bulletin report, it targets resuming tourism activities on December 8, limited to Palawan residents. 

The local government bared plans of opening the beaches first, as they are less risky than other establishments. It’s easier to implement health measures, such as physical distancing, in these areas.

Prioritizing safety, the Incident Management Team (IMT) will go to tourism establishments inspecting health protocols in place. There will also be COVID-19 marshals who will ensure that such measures are implemented in these areas.

To encourage traveling among Palawan residents, the local government is offering discounts on entrance fees in different Puerto Princesa destinations. 

Before the official reopening on December 8, the island will have a dry-run on December 1.

In an earlier report from Manila Bulletin, Puerto Princesa has secured P205 million for the resumption of tourism activities. Funded by the United States Agency for International Development, the initiative will cover three phases: opening tourism establishments to locals, granting entry to travelers from regions with low number of coronavirus cases, and finally, accepting all kinds of visitors, including foreigners.

Global Popularity

Amid the pandemic, Palawan has been receiving international recognition from prestigious award-giving bodies. Back in July, it earned the title “World’s Best Island” yet again from popular travel magazine Travel + Leisure. 

According to Palawan News Online, two upscale resorts in the province won the World Travel Awards this year.

Sources: Manila Bulletin, Palawan News Online, CNN Philippines

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