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April 28, 2021

#WENewandNovel: Sweet Escape

A romantic private trip to Boracay that will definitely level up your travel perspective.
Words YZZA HABLADO

Boracay beach front

A lot of us have already been dreaming of a romantic trip, especially after having spent a year within the four corners of our homes. Candlelit dinners in skyscrapers overlooking a foreign city became homemade dinners with dim lighting. Glamping and marshmallows melting over the bonfire turned into leisurely coffee breaks in your home garden. All-day lounging on the beach became camping out on the terrace to get that breeze to touch the skin. As we cope with the times, it is reassuring to know that travel regulations are being eased, which makes out-of-town travels possible again—of course, with necessary safety precautions.

A big plus when traveling at this time is that you can fully enjoy the experience without the queues, waiting time, and crowded places. This becomes a more attractive idea when thinking of travelling to Boracay again. Imagine the bright sun, the white sand and crystal-clear waters, and less people, which makes a trip to the island a true romantic vacation in paradise.

So, while we are waiting for our current situation to get better, here are a few things to take note of when planning for that romantic getaway with your partner to the unparalleled waters of Boracay.

AirSwift Boracay maiden flight cabin crew, Jezha Clamohoy and Lovelle-Santiago

What to prepare

Before readying swimsuits, leisurewear, and other beach essentials, you would have to prepare your roundtrip flights and transfers, hotel booking confirmation from a DOT-accredited hotel, a valid government-issued identification document (such as driver’s license and passport), and a negative RT-PCR test result conducted within 72 hours before you are allowed to travel to Boracay.

Local airlines have already resumed flights to local destinations. Joining that roster is the Ayala Group-owned Airswift by opening flights from Manila to Boracay and back. The boutique airline has already been flying tourists to Boracay from El Nido as it has mostly catered routes to-and-from Palawan. Airswift has now started serving Manila passengers as well.

AirSwift check in and receiving counter
Fely Anne Salvador, AirSwift VP for Commercial and Aerodome Services

“It sends a very strong signal that in order for the tourism industry to be back to its pre-COVID levels or status, we need to establish more connections to the top tourist destinations of the Philippines,” Fely Anne P. Salvador, vice president for Commercial, Airport Services, and Aerodromes of Airswift, shares exclusively to Manila Bulletin Lifestyle (https://mb.com.ph/2021/04/14/rediscovering-boracays-tranquil-summers/). “The only way to do that is to connect the metro to El Nido, Boracay, and other top destinations that are willing to accept travelers who are itching to go out because of the lockdowns.”

Water Canon Salute upon arrival at Godofredo P Ramos Airport

As part of its safety protocols against COVID-19, Airswift has its flight crew RT-PCR tested before every flight, performs standard cleaning and disinfection after each flight, and has installed specially-designed acrylic barriers between seats to minimize droplet transmission. The flights are also operating on limited capacity, and the crew enforces very minimal movement within the aircraft.

As for the RT-PCR test required to travel to Boracay, another option has become available. As of March 2021, Boracay’s task force has approved saliva testing for tourists, which means that there’s an easier way of getting tested, especially for those who feel uncomfortable with the nasopharyngeal extraction.

As part of the pre-departure procedures, you will be asked to accomplish the Health Declaration Form at www.tourismboracay.com, and submit the aforementioned documents to [email protected] Within 24 hours, Boracay Tourism will email you a unique QR code that you need to present upon check-in at NAIA, and then again at Caticlan. You will have to carry this unique QR code with you at all times. Saving it on your phone is the best way to keep it handy, so make sure to bring a powerbank with you always.

And of course, bring rubbing alcohol. Make ready your face masks and face shields which you are required to wear when riding the public transportation on the island.

Feliz Hotel facade

Where to stay

Accommodations can make or break any kind of trip. In Boracay where each station has its own specific appeal to tourists, there’s a lot to consider when choosing which hotel or station to stay in. Station Zero is the obvious choice for those who love luxury, while Station One hosts top hotels with lesser crowds than Station Two. For affordability, Station Three offers a lot of options.

If you don’t mind spending more for exclusivity, the private villas in Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort & Spa is a top choice for honeymooning. The two-floor units give you perfect views of the ocean and the sunset, while you lounge in your very own infinity pool and outdoor deck. Sharing the cove is Mövenpick Resort & Spa where you can enjoy a full set of private resort amenities. Its multi level pool–which is the largest pool you can find in the island—sits right beside the beach and Sol Marina Beach Club where you can grab a few drinks for a day of lounging.

Shangri-La Boracay Suite pool view

For those who like finding themselves right at the pulse of a destination, the newly opened Feliz Hotel is worth looking at. Easily spotted through its gigantic doors that open up to the lobby, the hotel gives you easy access to the beach, stores, and restaurants via a quick walk as it is situated right in the middle of D’Mall. The boutique hotel boasts of beautiful Latin America-inspired interiors and wide spaces for an affordable price you can expect from a Station Two accommodation. Its Suite is the perfect type for couples: it has a spacious sala, and a toilet and bathroom with bathtub and double vanity sink. Another plus from this hotel? Their complimentary water comes in corked glass bottles—sustainable and beautiful.

Whichever Station you choose, always remember that you must stay in a DOT-accredited hotel when in Boracay. Not only because it’s mandated by the local government, but because you are assured that the place follows the sanitation and safety protocols against COVID-19. Most hotels in the island are not operating at full capacity, so expect the room next to yours to be empty, and less people dining with you during breakfast. Better yet, opt for room service instead to totally keep yourself away from the crowd. Breakfast in bed, anyone?

Feliz Hotel chefs

What to do

What remains the best way to spend your time in Boracay is lounging at the beach and swimming in crystal-clear waters. Besides the beautiful coast that we all know, Boracay features another coast at the Sibuyan Sea inside the master-planned community Boracay Newcoast. This new coast offers stronger tides and a beautiful rock formation, and has nearby stores and restaurants that you can walk to and from the beach.

You can also spend a morning island-hopping in nearby white-sand beaches. For couples who love adventure, you can ask your local tour guides to bring you to cliff-diving and snorkelling spots. For more high-adrenaline activities, you may drive out to an ATV track for an off-road experience while seeing the panoramic views of Boracay, or fly right up at 60 meters above sea level in a reverse bungee ride.

After all the blood-pumping action, you can head back for a leisurely stroll at D’Mall for souvenir shopping or a food crawl. Remember to support local businesses as much as you can when traveling to our destinations to jumpstart micro-economies and help the locals whose income come from tourism.

Epic burger

What to eat

Filipino dishes are still must-tries when you find yourself in front of our blue seas and under our coconut trees, but Boracay has grown into a melting pot of cuisines that lets you in on flavors from all around the world.

How about an hour of making your trip a little bit sweeter? Mövenpick Resort & Spa gives a taste of famous Swiss chocolates as it dedicates one whole hour to a tasting experience of truffles, éclairs, and chocolate fountains. Latin American dishes are served in La Plaza at Feliz Hotel where you can take a bite of their perfectly-cooked croquetas and famous churros con chocolate and crema while sitting al fresco at D’Mall.

The old guards of the island like Jonah’s fruit shake and Epic Burger are still worthy to be enjoyed in every visit to Boracay. Epic Burger now comes in a bigger size—two to three times the original—which is shareable between food lovers…or not. We won’t judge!

Setting out on a romantic getaway, whether on a honeymoon or weekend off the city, can still be significant even if extra precautions are in place. Make sure to practice safety protocols wherever you are, and take advantage of the good that a romantic trip in isolation offers—that is, extra time and privacy with your partner, and more exclusive experiences in your destination.

As of April 12, 2021, AirSwift continues to suspend all flights from Manila to Boracay, El Nido, and Coron (and vice versa) until April 30, 2021, in compliance with the national government directives on the implementation of Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine in Metro Manila. For more information, visit www.air-swift.com or contact AirSwift through the following mobile numbers: +63917 859 2816, +63917 859 2760, +63917 806 5745, +63917 816 8763 or email at [email protected] #WEAdvertorial

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