Philippines resort island reopens for test run after cleanup

Manila: Philippines’ Boracay island, one of the world’s most famous beach destinations, re-opened on Monday for a test run almost six months after being closed for a cleanup operation.

A small group of tourists arrived from the province of Aklan, where the island is located, reports CNN.


The group was invited to test the newly improved facilities, which include a comprehensive overhaul of the island’s outdated and insufficient sewerage system.

The resort island, which was shuttered in April for six months for rehabilitation work, is scheduled to re-open later this month — labelled a “soft opening” by authorities.

Its famous white-sand beaches were signed off in August as “very clean” and safe for swimming, according to Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu.

While the cleanup has left the beaches immaculate and the waters crystal clear, significant work needs to be done to get the road system up to speed before larger numbers of tourists are allowed back on the island.

Cimatu told CNN that the sewerage and drainage for 68 accommodation establishments cleared to open was “100 per cent” complete.

The system overhaul cost over 1 billion pesos ($18 million), according to Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat.

However, full rehabilitation of the island could take up to two years.

The archipelago nation of the Philippines boasts well over 7,000 islands. Among them, Boracay had become almost a byword for white-sand beach paradise.

But with the influx of tourists that began in the 1980s, the island has struggled to maintain its idyllic allure.

Last year almost 1.7 million tourists, including a significant number of cruise line passengers, visited the island during a 10-month period, according to the governmental Philippines Information Agency.

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