We drove to Boracay with Nissan Philippines to mark their renewed partnership with the Department of Tourism for their Safe Trips campaign. The partnership was conceptualized to promote safe and responsible travel to support the revival of the tourism industry after the quarantine lockdowns.
To kick off the campaign's second year, Nissan brought a 26-vehicle strong convoy from Manila to the island paradise.
Driving to Boracay with Nissan - ignitionPH
Read about it here: https://ignition.ph/features/drivin...
#NissanPH #NISSANxDOTSafeTrips #ignitionPH
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How we did it
At the time of our travel, negative RT-PCR tests were still required for entry to Boracay. (This requirement was since been downgraded to a VaxCertPH Covid-19 Vaccination certificate with full vaccination status OR a locally issued vaccination ard/ID with full vaccination status.) We had our testing done the day before we were set to leave to give us ample time to submit all the requirements to get the OHDC (Health Declaration Card from the Provincial Government of Aklan) processed. Other requirements included a copy of our confirmed hotel booking, return travel details/tickets, and a valid ID.
Because we were traveling via Ro-Ro, the different ports had additional requirements. All in all, we had to sign up for the following:
- OHDC - www.touristboracay.com/
- S-PaSS - s-pass.ph/
- Staysafe - www.staysafe.ph/
- Traze Contact Tracing - www.traze.ph/
Here were the requirements needed per port of entry and exit:
- Batangas Port: S-PaSS QR Code + Staysafe QR Code
- Calapan Port: S-PaSS QR Code
- Bulalacao Port: OHDC QR Code
- Caticlan Port: OHDC QR Code and valid ID
- Caticlan Jetty Port: OHDC QR Code and valid ID
- Caticlan Airport: OHDC Certificate (not just the QR Code as they don't have a reader) + a valid ID
To bring a vehicle on a RoRo vessel, all you need to bring is proof of ownership and the vehicle's OR/CR. The driver will most likely be asked to present his/her driver's license as well. The fare depends on the size of the vehicle, and it usually includes a free economy seat.
Again, as restrictions are constantly changing, do check with www.touristboracay.com and the Aklan LGU socials for updated restrictions.
Driving the Nautical Highway
From Manila, our group converged in Lipa, Batangas, before heading off to the Batangas Port to catch the midnight FastCat Trip to Calapan, Mindoro.
As we were a big group, it was crucial that we all boarded the ship together. The actual trip took less than 2 hours, but embarkation took more than an hour, and disembarkation took a bit of time as well. Remember that the last vehicle to get on the boat is the first one to get off, so be patient. We took the FastCat which has some of the fastest and most modern vessels (catamarans) that do inter-island Ro-Ro but there are also other companies that service the route as well. Just make sure you double-check the schedules, fees, and restrictions as operations have not fully normalized just yet.
From the Calapan Port, we drove a few kilometers to Vencio's Garden Hotel & Restaurant for a pit stop, before getting back on the Western Nautical Highway. It's about 174.3 kilometers from port to port. We stopped somewhere in Bagumbayan, Oriental Mindoro for a quick driver change, but went on our way just before daybreak. A hot breakfast was waiting for us at the By The Sea Resort Bulalacao that is literally across the street from the FastCat port where we were booked for the 10:30 am voyage. The trip that was supposed to take only three hours took us 4 because of rough seas. When we landed in Caticlan, all passengers had to present their OHDC QR codes as well as IDs before we were allowed to disembark. Once on land, again had to present our OHDC QR codes and our IDs before we could ride the speedboat to our resort.
Only white vehicles are allowed on the island
Did you know that only white-colored vehicles are allowed on Boracay? That is why only the two Pearl White Nissan LEAFs made it to the island for demo purposes. The two other LEAFs that joined the convoy (in Vivid Blue with Pearl Black Roof, and Magnetic Red with Pearl Black Roof) together with the nine Terras, five Navaras, five Almeras, the Urvan, and the Patrol, were parked in Caticlan.
Would I do it again?
Of course, taking the 45-minute plane ride from Manila is the fastest way to the island. But - and that's a big but - if you're the adventurous type with time to spare, it's something you should definitely try at least once. If it weren't for the overnight driving we had to do to meet our schedule, taking the Ro-Ro to Boracay isn't that bad. The Nautical Highway is well paved and easy to drive, and I bet it was scenic, too. As long as the minimum health protocols are followed, it should be a safe and enjoyable trip.
Yeah, I'm down to do it again.