World-renowned tourist destination Coron now reopens, allowing local travelers to enjoy regulated tours as Palawan province transitioned to modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) amid COVID-19 crisis.
According to Kim Ablana, municipal tourism officer, local tourists could now enjoy scuba diving, island hopping, and other land-based tours. However, only residents from Calamian Group of Islands — composed of the towns of Coron, Culion, Busuanga, and Calauit — could avail such activities.
“For now, our target market is local tourists. Since there is still no inbound travel from mainland Palawan, we focused on residents from the Calamian islands,” Ablana said.
Meanwhile, the Kayangan Lake, Twin Lagoon, and Barracuda Lake would reopen for local visitors starting June 12.
With the resumption of tourism activities, the municipal interagency task force required the tourists and tour facilitators to follow MGCQ guidelines to ensure safety.
Local tourists are also required to get a permit from the local Philippine Coast Guard station before joining any activities in Coron.
Island tours are also limited to only 250 people per day, and only 30 scuba divers would be accommodated daily.
Coron reopens for local tourists
Only those who are aged 21 to 60 years old are allowed to join the tours. They also need to present valid identification documents proving their residence.
Tourist boat operators are also mandated to provide hand sanitizers or alcohol to guests and impose disinfecting measures onboard. There should also be a strict implementation of physical distancing with reduced carrying capacity to at least 50 percent.
As of June 8, Department of Health’s Center for Health Development in Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan) region showed Palawan had three confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Officials of the provincial government and Puerto Princesa City are still discussing the reopening of Puerto Princesa International Airport for commercial flights.
Meanwhile, on June 1, acting Mayor Frolibar Bautista of Malay announced the swimming ban on Boracay would be lifted, but the island would remain closed to tourists.
The local government said swimming is allowed but would be regulated to ensure physical distancing and other health measures are observed.