El Nido’s New Normal Travel Bubble in 2020

Guess what, Beach Bums? The Department of Tourism (DOT) just confirmed that El Nido will be easing travel restrictions and starting October 30, 2020, Manila tourists will be allowed to visit the island! Of course, given our new normal there are a few changes and additions to your travel requirements. From travel bubbles to test-before-travel policies, we rounded up a  guide and some tips for you to take note of so you can be well-equipped before you book your trip! 

  1. Test-Before-Travel Policy

Before putting on your new 3-piece OOTD take note of El Nido’s  Test-Before-Travel Policy!

Prior flying to El Nido, or even dreaming of that beach trip, tourists are required to undergo a RT-PCR test and present negative results that were taken maximum of 72 hours prior to their flight. Take note that this means your swab test must be done in accredited laboratories for them to be considered valid. Click here for a list of accredited laboratories! 

 If you’re wondering if it’s painful, no worries. We’ve experienced taking an RT-PCR test firsthand! They take a swab sample from your nose and throat. There’s a slight discomfort yes, but it only lasts about 5 seconds tops. We vlogged about it too! (Fast forward to 1:57 here so you know exactly what to expect). 

  1. For Accommodations: Certificate of Authority to Operate (CAO) is A Must! 

In the new normal, hotel and resort accommodations are now required to attain a CAO from DOT to ensure a safe tourist experience for their guests.  As of now, only El Nido Resorts has a CAO on the island. While their island resorts are our only option for accommodations (for now), it doesn’t really feel like a loss! Here’s a quickview of the picturesque islands : 

Yes, this is just a quickview, IG worthy right? In real life? Might just be 10x more breath-taking! Some Palawan locals already tried the travel bubbles in its pilot implementation. Some reviews detailed “Overall super safe! Only tested guests on the private charter flight, private hangar, etc. No mixing with other groups, hotels, etc. As the restaurant is open air I felt safe. The biggest bonus: Peace. No other resorts open. We were alone in the lagoon. Like on a postcard. Amazing.” 

We don’t know about you but the sound of the beach waves just keeps getting clearer and even more real as more beach destinations open and we discover more dreamy reviews such as this. 

  1. Travel BubblesAre the New Normal 

Travel bubbles are the new travel agency for now. With travel restrictions easing both locally and internationally, you’ll be hearing the term Travel Bubble more often. Travel bubbles refer to the arrangements between two destinations for travelers to enter each other’s areas without the need for strict quarantines. This type of travel strategy aims to make contact tracing more accurate while lessening contact with others as much as possible. May you be planning a solo travel or a beach trip with some of your co-beach bums, you’ll be on board with passengers who got their RT-PCRs done too. Overall, it makes it even more safe to travel. So not only are we excited to go to El Nido real soon, we get to travel worry-free too! 

  1.  Manila Tourists can only enter through El Nido (Lio) Airport 

Given El Nido’s Travel Bubble strategy, guests from Manila can only enjoy a vacation to El Nido through the eight flights to Lio Airport via Airswift. Land  travel to El Nido from other Palawan airports such as Puerto Princesa and Busuanga, Coron Airport are still not allowed for now. We’re all for shortened travel time if that means more time for some sun! Approximately, no more additional 5-6 hours on your travel itinerary! This means more time to ease in in your island accommodations and more time for some much needed vitamin sea! Their travel bubble includes booking your accommodations at one of the island locations of El Nido Resorts’ resort chain. 

As travel to El Nido, Palawan gradually eases, test-before-travel policies and travel bubbles are relatively fresh in their implementations. Should there be revisions as the El Nido government sees fit, more hotel and resort accommodations that will operate, and other tips and guidelines we know you need to take note of, we’ll be sure to keep you beach bums posted! We’re on the lookout for other beach destinations too and we immediately hop on a plane to see for ourselves, so stay tuned! 

See you here soon, Beach Bum!

You can check out our most recent travel guide and escapade to Boracay in the new normal here. We imagine much of the protocols can be likened to El Nido’s gradual reopening too!

From your resident Beach Bum, 

Gel Albino
@beachhutsunblock