Nine months into the pandemic, nobody thought we’d be spending Christmas like this—still socially distancing. As a parent, it’s heartbreaking to see our kids stuck indoors for such a long time. No playdates, no physical interaction with friends, no sports, or any outdoor activities whatsoever.
So, as soon as I found out that Boracay finally opened last October, lifting the restrictions on all age limits, I decided we had to go. ASAP. After all, Boracay doesn’t fall short on activities for people of all ages.
Travel Requirements In The New Normal
I’ve written a separate piece with all the details on how to get to the island, but here are the requirements for the new normal of traveling to Boracay:
Round-trip ticket (flight and travel details)
Valid IDs with Philippine residency
Copy of hotel booking confirmation
A negative RT-PCR result with the date of extraction within 72 hours to date of travel
Tourist Boracay QR code from touristboracay.com
Preparing for the Boracay trip
Gone were the days when all that was required was to book a Boracay flight and hotel accommodation days before the trip for a quick escape to Boracay island. Now, it’s all about doing more than the SOP set by the Inter-Agency Task Force.
Our family went through strict quarantine two weeks prior to our swab test appointment. No one went out, not even for grocery and/or medicine runs. (Of course, this didn’t apply to my husband given his line of work, but he gets tested every shooting day, so that’s OK).
Planning this trip was very tedious as we’re traveling with a toddler who’s flying for the first time, an online-schooling nine-year-old, and my Mom, who is a senior. The Lind—thanks be to them—helped a lot. They accommodated my makulit questions, reminding me of all the requirements, and ensured I knew the protocols by heart.
From Manila To Boracay In The Middle Of A Pandemic
Leaving Manila was both exciting and scary. Just like any parent, I’m very paranoid, and going to the airport with the entire family was one of my biggest concerns. Here are some tips and reminders when passing through the airport:
Always wear your mask and face shield. Bring extra disposable masks in your carry-on bag.
Have all required documents printed out if possible.
Be early and prepare for long lines at the airport. Here’s where all required documents will be checked, especially the RT-PCR test results. There’s also a temperature check at every checkpoint. It took us almost 1.5 hours to finally reach and settle at the boarding gates, despite having lined up in the priority lanes.
Use bags that you can easily sanitize. You’ll need to sanitize everything every time it goes through the conveyor belts or if you need to put it down on chairs and floors.
Bring sanitizers in small containers. Make sure everyone has their own sanitizers in their bags.
Bring tissue or wet wipes for wiping everything that you need to wipe with alcohol: tables and chairs, door handles, bathroom fixtures, airplane seats, tray tables—literally everything.
Eat a heavy meal before leaving home. I packed some snacks and candies in a ziplock bag per person, but I reminded them to not eat if they’re not hungry so they won’t have to remove their masks and face shields every now and then.
My mind was already on vacation mode, but I did not let my guard down. The minute we entered the plane, I sanitized our seats, including the seatbelts, tables, and even the items in the back pockets, to make sure anything within my toddler’s reach was clean.
All the protocols and requirements and the corona-anxiety to ensure a safe flight for my family and me made me forget the short travel time to Boracay. Add the need to keep my toddler calm and steady—the life of every parent. Shortly after I got to relax, the captain’s already announcing that we’re starting to descent and preparing for landing.
Entering Caticlan airport means showing all the necessary documents, most especially the Boracay tourist QR code. Think immigration lines with social distancing. Truth be told, this is where I realized it really was safe on the island. The strict implementation of protocols and the sanitization of all checked-in bags from the plane at the airport assured me of that.
Checking In At The Lind
From the airport, The Lind’s staff welcomed us and assisted us until we got to our hotel room. Their private van took us to Caticlan Jetty Port. The number of persons in the van is limited, so we were all required to be seated one seat apart. The Lind also took care of all our boat transfers, making sure that we were observing physical distancing, which also meant that it was just my family and me in the boat.
All documents are checked and scanned again at both ports. From Cagban Jetty Port, another private van took us straight to the hotel. One detail that my daughter liked so much in the van: small alcohol bottles and wet wipes available for you for sanitizing. They are really prepared for tourists!
Tip: Choose a hotel that takes care of everything for you, especially if you’re traveling with children and while in a pandemic. That’s how I felt with The Lind. I am so grateful for their assistance or I would have gone crazy at this point.
Traveling with the family meant staying at a grand but also family-friend hotel, so that’s The Lind. Plus, the hotel is located at Station 1 where the sand is really fine, and it’s not that busy an area, unlike the other stations.
Entering the hotel, we were immediately greeted with a sanitation station (our bags were also sanitized) and were served refreshing welcome drinks. All the staff are wearing masks, face shields, and gloves. Though we had to present all documents again, as mandated, checking in was a breeze.
After six to seven hours of travel, we were finally checked in.
The Perfect Hotel Room For The Family
We booked the Garden Room with Pool because we deserve to swim all day and night, and honestly, a day at the beach isn’t enough for all the swimming we missed out on due to the pandemic. It was very spacious and perfect for families like ours.
Of course, my kids jumped into the plunge pool ten minutes after checking in.
The Lind made sure we felt welcome, but apart from personalizing our room, my request for a baby cot was provided, with a couple of extras. Our room came with a bottle sterilizer, a Stokke foldable bathtub, paper toys, and notebooks for both our kids!
For an added precaution, they also provided a canvas tote bag with alcohol bottles, masks, hand gloves, and wet wipes. And a bottle of Oxivir for spot-sanitizing areas in the room was a special touch.
Our stay at The Lind felt very safe. There were a lot of hand sanitizing stations and disinfecting mats around the hotel to this cautious mom’s satisfaction. For room cleaning, the staff wear full PPEs and make sure they don’t miss a thing.
Here’s another proof that The Lind is a very family-friendly hotel: they have a kids club where children can play with toys and gaming consoles when swimming isn’t enough for them or if it’s too hot to play at the beach.
Their swimming pools are huge and very inviting, but I personally love their infinity pool located on the second floor that’s overlooking Boracay’s famous white beach. The view is just breathtaking!
Another family favorite is the beachfront hangout where you can just lie down and be lazy the whole day while the kids play by the sand or try out all the good food the hotel has to offer. We stayed here from the minute we woke up until the sun’s about to set.
Speaking of waking up, breakfast at The Lind was another thing we always looked forward to. It’s like “unlimited a la carte”, a term I just invented (they no longer offer buffet breakfasts). Just ask for anything you want that’s on their breakfast menu and they will serve it to you a la carte. I love it.
As if The Lind’s service wasn’t impeccable already, they also provided my husband his own prepaid wifi for the two days he’ll be needing uninterrupted connection as he had to direct a live event and shoot remotely from Boracay.
Even my work and my daughter’s online schooling weren’t interrupted during this two-week vacation—The Lind got us everything we needed.
Where To Eat And What To Do In Boracay
Note: At the time of writing, a lot of hotels and restaurants are still closed due to the pandemic. It is also mandatory to wear masks while strolling along the beach. Face shields are only mandatory whenever you ride the e-trikes.
Our two-week vacation was great because of what The Lind provided for us. Having a toddler with me, however, kept me within the hotels most of the time. But if you have the time, there are many food establishments and fun activities to enjoy in Boracay. I personally recommend the following:
Crust Beach Bar & Restaurant as well as Tartine, The Lind’s all-day dining restaurant for their Sinigang and Kinunot pizza (yes, we’re a family of pizza lovers!)
In case you’re on the island for the holidays, they have Palm & Sea, The Lind Boracay’s New Year’s Eve dinner happening from 6:30 PM onwards on 31 December 2020. There will be live entertainment during the evening and at PHP 3,200 nett per person fo rin house guests and PHP 3,200++ for walk-in guests where they can partake of a managed buffet dinner. There will be a wide variety of Western and Asian dishes, live carving stations and each diner will have 1 complimentary welcome drink and 1 glass of sparkling wine.
For table reservations, in-house and walk-in guests may send an email to [email protected] or book through mobile at +63998 847 9507.
Café Maruja located in Station 3 for the best iced Spanish lattes and poke bowls
Go Paraw sailing, especially at sunset. No explanations, just go and try it.
Try all the activities offered by the locals. We went kayaking and paddleboarding almost every day. We hired the same instructor we had since Day 1, who eventually became a friend to us. Not only do you have fun, but you also help the locals earn. They need all the help they can get to sustain their lives, especially after the Boracay clean-up and the pandemic happening just months after reopening.
I suggest going on an island tour via e-trikes. You can hire e-trikes for P500 an hour to go around the island. The locals will gladly show you around. Visit Puka Beach, Bulabog Beach, and other areas. Buy souvenirs, try the different restaurants outside the stretch of White beach.
I’ve been to Boracay many times, but our trip this year is probably the most beautiful Boracay I’ve ever seen. I can go on and on about our recent Boracay trip, but one article isn’t enough.
What you need to do now is block off your schedule, book your flight hotel and swab test, and visit the island. I can assure you, it is very safe for the whole family. We all deserve a vacation from this crazy year, especially the kids. Visit Boracay and go let kids be kids.
With journalistic experience spanning just about three years, Pipo has been working in the communications industry for nearly a decade with tenure in various sectors such as global communications, retail, advertising, events, and marketing. He has served as Copy Chief and Newsroom Head for One Mega Group, and for the last couple of years, has been Lifestyle Asia's Managing Editor for its print publication.
OneMega.com is your all-in-one access pass to exclusive content from a wide variety of lifestyle experts, thought leaders, influencers and leading content creators here in the Philippines and around the world. OneMega.com is a prestige media brand of One Mega Group, Inc.
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