What Boracay looks like 10 days before reopening

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Following a six-month closure for rehabilitation, Boracay will again welcome tourists on Oct. 26, 2018. In photo: Boracay’s Station 1, overcast with low, grey clouds. Photo by JL JAVIER

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — Ten days shy of its reopening, Boracay’s beaches seem beautiful as ever, but the work is far from over on most parts of the island. The establishments near the shores begin to reopen in anticipation of the arrival of tourists and yet construction continues within the barangays as the different government programs are pursued.

During CNN Philippines’ special presentation, “Rebuilding Boracay,” Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar said that they are looking to finish as many roads as they can in time for the Oct. 26 reopening. Department of Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat also highlighted that only establishments that are compliant to environmental laws will be operational.

“The DENR, the DILG have been very strict with regards to compliance to environmental laws. So far today, we have 68 establishments [that are open], a total of 3,519 rooms out of 50,000 rooms,” said Romulo-Puyat. “That’s good for our tourists, so that when tourists come, they are staying in establishments that follow environmental laws.”

CNN Philippines Life had the chance to go around Boracay before its Oct. 15 dry run to see how much the island has changed since its closure — and if it truly is ready to reopen its doors to the public.

Photo-14 (9).jpg Residents living on the beaches have been given notices of demolition if their houses fall within the no-build zone 30 meters from the shoreline, but some have yet to take action. Photo by JL JAVIER

Photo-13 (18).jpg Sally and Roger Salbadico, whose family resides near Tambisan Port and within the no-build zone, have received demolition orders, but still await further government assistance on their relocation. Photo by JL JAVIER

Photo-22 (9).jpg Visitors entering through the Cagban Jetty port are greeted by a new, colorful “BORACAY” sign. Photo by JL JAVIER

Photo-23 (11).jpg A worker levels a newly paved walkway at the Cagban Jetty port. Photo by JL JAVIER

Photo-29 (5).jpg Construction continues throughout the inner parts of the island under the government’s road-widening program. Photo by JL JAVIER

Photo-30 (7).jpg Workers shovel into freshly-churned asphalt being poured onto the street. Photo by JL JAVIER

Photo-32 (4).jpg An excavation in front of a closed establishment. Simultaneous to the road-widening program, Boracay pushes efforts in rehabilitating its underground sewage system. Photo by JL JAVIER

Photo-35 (4).jpg Roadside buildings whose properties are within the parameters of the road-widening undergo demolition. Photo by JL JAVIER

Photo-37.jpg Locals swim and play at a beach near the controversial Boracay West Cove resort. Photo by JL JAVIER

Photo-38 (2).jpg Small sellers have reopened their shops in anticipation of the island’s dry run and soft opening. Photo by JL JAVIER

Photo-45 (2).jpg A beach resort on Bulabog Beach receives an environmental compliance certificate after the demolition of part of its beachfront side. Photo by JL JAVIER

Photo-47 (1).jpg Workers lay bricks on a new walkway being constructed along Bulabog Beach. Photo by JL JAVIER

Photo-56.jpg Establishments are allowed to continue operations so long as they follow environmental standards. Photo by JL JAVIER

Photo-59 (1).jpg Along Boracay’s Station 3, some buildings are still undergoing construction or renovation. Photo by JL JAVIER

Photo-60 (2).jpg A barbecue seller sets up shop along the beach and looks out for customers. Photo by JL JAVIER

Photo-61 (1).jpg Aufracio Delos Santos, a fisherman, says on Boracay’s closure and rehabilitation, “Okay naman sana sa pag-ayos, eh kaso lang, dapat naman kasi, ‘di binigla. [...] Tignan mo ngayon, hindi naman maganda ang pagkaka-[ayos].” Photo by JL JAVIER

Photo-63 (1).jpg At sunset, residents and newly-arrived visitors take a dip in the waters. Photo by JL JAVIER

Photo-66 (2).jpg Some narrow alleyways connecting the beachfront and the main road serve as both pedestrian walkways and passages for vehicles. Photo by JL JAVIER

Photo-71 (2).jpg Boracay expects an influx of some 6,000 visitors on its official reopening on Oct. 26, 2018. Photo by JL JAVIER

Photo-72.jpg Operating establishments begin to turn their lights on as night approaches. Photo by JL JAVIER

Photo-73.jpg A crescent moon hovers over Boracay on the eve of the dry run, peeking through a canopy of coconut leaves. Photo by JL JAVIER