The municipality of El Nido will finally welcome local tourists across all ages outside the island province of Palawan starting tomorrow, Nov. 30, under a test-before-travel policy.
Activities like island-hopping and scuba-diving will be allowed on the second phase of its reopening, provided it must be booked through an accredited travel and tours operator. But trips to mainland beaches are not yet an option.
Tourists must first acquire a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) result two days before travel.
“In some ways, vacationing in El Nido will be similar to how it has been in the past. The big news is that you will be allowed to leave your hotel to go island-hopping or scuba diving,” the El Nido Municipal Tourism Office announced.
While tourists will be allowed to do island activities, meals will only be served at hotels and resorts. Food deliveries are also allowed. Metro Manila visitors, however, are still restricted when it comes to going to restaurants in town.
Tourists are also advised to book their tours, as well as their accommodation, at hotels and resorts that have already secured a Certificate of Authority to Operate (CAO) from the Department of Tourism (DOT).
To date, there are already 22 DOT-certified hotels and resorts operating in El Nido, including Miniloc Island Resort, Pangulasian Island Resort and Spa, Casa Kalaw, Seda Lio, among others. Seventeen travel and tour agencies are now also ready to take in guests who want to experience island activities.
Tour operators will be in-charge of sending the travel itineraries to their clients.
Once finalized, all bookings, including the health declaration forms and valid identification cards (IDs), should be uploaded at the elnidotourism.ph/. The tourism office will issue a unique QR code for tourists who have been cleared for travel called QT-ID.
Visitors are also advised to book their flights through AirSwift’s website https://www.air-swift.com for direct flights to El Nido.
AirSwift is the Philippines’ only boutique airline offering daily roundtrip flights from Manila to El Nido. The El Nido Lio Airport will serve as the main gateway for those who will travel to the island.
This as the airports in Puerto Princesa City and San Vicente are not yet allowing tourists to fly in.
But as Palawan continues to open up for domestic tourism, the tourism office said it will continue to revise its policies, including the relaxation of some guidelines.
“There really is no better time to visit the islands, as the weather this time of year tends to be sunny and the islands haven’t been this roomy and uncrowded since the 2000s,” the tourism office said.
The island province of Palawan has reclaimed its top spot as the Best Island in the World early this year.
With its mesmerizing lagoons hidden behind the majestic limestone cliffs, its turquoise crystal-clear waters, and mountains rising directly from the ocean palm-edged beaches, the distinction was cited by the world-renowned travel publication Travel + Leisure, which now makes Palawan as a four-time winner of the said award.
The prestigious Condé Nast Traveler (CNT) also cited the “Hidden Beach” in El Nido, Palawan, as one of the 30 Best Beaches in the World this year.