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This Week in Boracay and Iloilo (May 22 to 28, 2022)

Boracay and Iloilo remain under Alert Level 1 until May 31!

By: Mira Maestrecampo | May 22, 2022
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IATF alert level guidelines, all about Boracay Island, airline flights

After months of being classified under Alert Level 2, Iloilo Province was finally de-escalated to Alert Level 1 or tagged as the new normal classification under the Inter-agency Task Force or IATF alert level guidelines. Aklan, Boracay, and Iloilo City will also remain under Alert Level 1 until the end of May.

Boracay Island is also nearing the end of the Duterte-led rehabilitation. However, sectors are still encouraging the incoming administration to maintain the works or even initiate and add more to beautify the world-famous Boracay Island.

Iloilo is in the works of addressing its traffic problems through road and flyover projects, set to finish this second quarter of the year. These projects aim to aid travel convenience among locals and tourists in Iloilo. Another concern regarding the pandemic also arises in the province of Iloilo, as thousands of residents are still not fully vaccinated. The high inflation rate is also significantly recorded in Western Visayas.

On a brighter note, the 2022 Manggahan Festival in Guimaras will begin this May 22.

Quarantine News: COVID-19 Alert Level 1 in Iloilo, Aklan, Boracay

The Alert Level 1 classification status as per the IATF alert level guidelines took effect last May 16. It will be implemented until the end of the month in Iloilo City, Iloilo Province, and Aklan, including Boracay. Neighboring areas such as Bacolod City, Guimaras, and Capiz are also placed under Alert Level 1.

Iloilo Province has been continually placed under Alert Level 2 for the past months and is finally downgraded to Alert Level 1, or the ‘new normal’, as also annotated by the Department of Health.

The changes and updates of the alert level statuses in the Visayan areas are based on the resolution as approved by the national Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), which was then announced by acting presidential spokesperson Martin Andanar.

This May, it would significantly be the first month that Iloilo Province is classified under Alert Level 1 since the past months of being placed under Alert Level 2, contrary to Iloilo City, which was placed on the lowest alert level.

With Iloilo City, Iloilo Province, Aklan, and Boracay under Alert Level 1, interzonal and intrazonal travel shall be permitted. Travel shall be allowed for all ages regardless of comorbidities.

All persons, events, facilities, establishments, and undertakings are now allowed to be held at full capacity as long as minimum health and safety protocols are observed. Public transportations are now allowed to operate at a hundred percent passenger capacity.

Andanar also added that component cities in the municipalities in the Western Visayas area placed under Alert Level 1 shall be retained for the whole month of May.

On the other hand, face-to-face classes shall be subject to approval by the Office of the President. [1]

Travel Updates

Boracay rehab maintenance to be continued and improved, DENR says

The final works and finishing touches for the rehabilitation of Boracay are extended until June 2022, as the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) will lapse this June 2022 as well.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources is optimistic that the local government of Malay, Aklan, will still forego the rehabilitation of the world-famous island even after the end of BIATF’s term, which was extended until June 30, 2022, through Executive Order 147.

Acting DENR Secretary Jim O. Sampulna expressed that though the task force nears its dissolution, it would not mean the end of the rehabilitation and maintenance of Boracay Island. [2]

He added on behalf of the body that they are all excited to finish the final works for the rehabilitation of Boracay. They would not let anything or anyone undo their works or stand in the way of the path towards the completion of the sector’s mission. Sapulna and the DENR wish that whoever will take over in the new administration will maintain the restoration and beautification of the Boracay Island and that the successors to be in charge will be able to do more. [3]

The BIATF was established under the administration of outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte last May 8, 2018, headed by the DENR in cooperation with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) as vice-chair and along with the Department of Tourism (DOT) as co vice-chair. [4]

Airline flights reported growth.

For tourists and Filipinos planning to travel, hopeful news comes along the way as AirAsia Philippines reports a passenger growth of 553% in April 2022, indicating a skyrocketing significance of the bounce-back of tourism and continuous economic development and tourism recovery.

The high number of passengers and airline flights further shows a high mobility rate amid past weeks’ election season.

In light of the pandemic, travel confidence is rising notably, especially with the Omicron variant surge in the country. AirAsia has shown a rising airline flight booking rate amongst passengers.

Caticlan or Boracay is one of the top chosen Philippine destinations by AirAsia passengers, along with Kalibo, Aklan, Cebu, and Tagbilaran or Panglao, Bohol.

AirAsia Philippines CEO Ricky Isla expressed his optimistic thoughts on how the influx of passengers indicates a strong momentum towards recovery [5], which advances the Philippines to be more ready to exit the pandemic in this current economic standing.

As of May 10, AirAsia flies to Boracay or Caticlan 35 times per week, which will be increased by 38 times by the end of the month. As for Iloilo, the airline flies 18 times per week and shall be increased to 30 times per week. Kalibo, Aklan flights shall also be raised before the end of the month to 27 times weekly, from 18 times. [6]

As of May, 130,000 seats are already booked and sold.

Iloilo road projects to be finished addressing traffic concerns

Iloilo City is slowly beginning to address the problem of jam-packed cars and uncontrollable traffic with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). They are currently busy with the Ungka 2 Flyover and Iloilo River North Bank Road or the Iloilo Sunset Boulevard.

Currently, the progress of the PhP1.4 billion project is at 82%, and it will be presumptively finished as soon as possible.

The Iloilo flyover is anticipated to be officially open to motorists in Iloilo before the end of the second quarter of this year.

With this flyover project and road enhancement, tourists and Ilonggos will soon experience a more convenient and comfortable trip from Iloilo City to Iloilo International Airport and other Southern towns in the well-developing province.

Furthermore, the Iloilo flyover aims to address traffic concerns within Pres. Corazon C. Aquino Avenue or the Iloilo Circumferential Road C-1, and Sen. Benigno S. Aquino, Jr. Avenue or Iloilo Diversion Road. The flyover shall help reduce travel time to 20 minutes from the lengthy travel time due to 40 to 45 minutes of traffic congestion.

Another project is the Iloilo Sunset Boulevard aims to represent a greener and sustainable Iloilo, addressing the traffic from the city proper to towns in the province. The road project shall also include adjunct with the east-to-west connection to the town proper to reduce the traffic along Iloilo-Antique Road. [7]

DPWH Secretary Roger G. Mercado says that these projects shall help with the accessibility and connectivity in Iloilo, boosting the city’s tourism, economy, and infrastructure. [8]

Weather Update: A fair weather with a few rainfalls in the upcoming days

Consider the weather, too, for your upcoming travels this week.

Expect a fair-weather prevailing in most areas of the country. Also, rain showers are still probable due to thunderstorms, as announced by a local news source by the weather bureau. [9]

The Visayas are expected to have fair weather, with probabilities of rain showers due to thunderstorms.

Vaccination News: A high number of individuals not inoculated yet

As of writing, over 300,000 individuals from Iloilo are still unvaccinated, as declared by Governor Arthur Defensor Jr.

The Iloilo provincial government is still firm in convincing each resident in Iloilo to get their jabs and be inoculated the soonest as possible. In the upcoming days, Governor Defensor would issue an executive order ordering all local government units in Iloilo to facilitate another series of vaccination drives in respective areas.

There is no definite yet when the rounds of vaccination drives will commence, but the spadework is currently in the works, as per the Iloilo governor. However, Defensor makes it clear that vaccination is not compulsory.

Assumptive reasons why some individuals still refuse to be vaccinated are one, they are afraid of the vaccines, and second is that some individuals refuse because they are sick. [10]

Health News: Increased bed capacities in Iloilo provincial hospitals

Two converted hospitals in Iloilo Province managed by the Department of Health indicate increased bed capacity and offer more available medical services. [11]

The conversion of the Western Visayas Sanitarium in Santa Barbara, Iloilo, into a general hospital was signed by President Duterte under Republic Act 11723. The hospital aims to specialize in treating infectious diseases and is further renamed Western Visayas Sanitarium and General Hospital or WVSGH.

Along with the conversion, the hospital is also authorized to increase its bed capacity to 300 from 150.

The conversion has authorized the facility to operate as a general hospital, treating skin diseases like leprosy.

Shopping Updates: The high inflation rate in Western Visayas is officially recorded by PSA.

Last April, increased prices of basic needs and commodities significantly increased.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (SPA), the inflation rate in the Western Visayas region has escalated to 4.9% as of April 2022. Compared to the rate of March last year, an increase from 0.3% has been recorded.

The PSA reports this increase to be the highest inflation rate since January 2019. [13]

Iloilo Province tallies with the lowest inflation rate of 1.9%, while the city of Iloilo records an inflation rate of 4.6%.

The sudden increase in inflation rates is triggered mainly by the transportation expenses increasing from 7.9% to 10.7% from March to April. More factors contributing to the inflation rate are the price index for housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels, which records at 3.6%. [14]

Upcoming Event: Commencement of the 2022 Manggahan Festival

The Manggahan Festival in Guimaras that launched last May 14 at the capitol grounds is set to culminate this May 22, marking the festival’s 30th year ever since Guimaras became a province.

Thirty tons of sweet mangoes are waiting for tourists at the said 2022 Manggahan Festival. [15]

Officer-in-charge of the Provincial Tourism Office, Liberty Ferrer, said that the Manggahan Festival this year further supports the economic recovery of the province’s micro, small, and medium enterprises.

The 2022 Manggahan Festival is celebrated with the main tagline ‘mango-eat-all-you-can’ for only PhP100. A tourist or participant in the festival shall be granted a chance to consume unlimited mangoes in 30 minutes.

The highlight of the commencement of the festival this May 22 would be the Guimaras Pearl Anniversary Celebration, and more physical events shall be anticipated to be enjoyed on that day.

Guimaras province is currently under Alert Level 1 classification, requiring visitors to comply with a filled-up health declaration card before securing a ticket from Iloilo City’s Parola Wharf and then submitted at the Guimaras Jordan Wharf.

Upon arriving at the festival venue, tourists are again required to comply with a health declaration form through a QR code after having their body temperature checked before entering the festival premises.

Visit Yoorekka Magazine for more travel and COVID-19 updates and guidelines in Boracay and Iloilo!

All details and information in this article are true and accurate as of the publication date. However, while we are making our utmost effort to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, the condition surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be unpredictable, and the situation is developing rapidly. Hence, some information and recommendations may have changed since this article was published. For the latest advice, visit DOH and your LGU's official websites.


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About Mira Maestrecampo
Mira - with a long surname - is a girl who dreams of becoming a news anchor someday, in God's perfect time. She loves to read books and eat different kinds of cheesy or saucy food. A coffee addict and a dog lover, she loves long hugs, hot coffee on an afternoon break with friends, or simply sleeping all day with her stuffed unicorns.
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Disclaimer: All articles in the Consumers Magazine of Yoorekka are for general information and entertainment purposes only. Although careful research has been made in writing them, Yoorekka does not make any warranty about the completeness and accuracy of all information presented in our articles. Our content is not intended to be used in place of legal, medical, or any professional advice.
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