Boracay opens for dry run

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  • The dry run of Boracay opening starts on October 15. It will last for 10 days until October 26, when the island reopens after a six-month rehabilitation. This came after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the closure of the Boracay "cesspool" on April 26.

Boracay (CNN Philippines, October 15) — Boracay's big day won't be until October 26, but on Monday, the government started its dry run for the reopening of the world-famous island.

After almost six months, Boracay is once again open to the public, but limited to a specific audience.

The guests who are part of the dry run activities are residents of Aklan and other parts of Western Visayas who will be given the chance to have a sneak preview of how Boracay looks like now. From Caticlan Port, they will disembark from their ferries through a temporary jetty port that has been set up in Barangay Balabag, commonly known as Boracay's Station 3.

The dry run will last for 10 days until October 26, when the island reopens after a six-month rehabilitation. This came after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the closure of the Boracay "cesspool" on April 26.

Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat said the test run is important to ensure everything is in place for the island's reopening.

"We want to invite the airlines, the tour operators so that they can see what Boracay is before they actually promote it and before the soft opening. Also we wanted to stress that there are only 68 establishments with 3519 rooms available as of today. We want to warn the public that they can only book on those hotels that are listed on the DOT website, FB, Twitter, because we learned that a lot establishments not on the list have been accepting reservations," she told CNN Philippines.

Related: LIST: Boracay hotels, resorts allowed to accept reservations  

She admits that while the famous white beach is now clean, the roads are still being repaired. She stressed that October 26 is only a soft opening, saying six months is too short to completely rehabilitate the island. Authorities said the full rehabilitation may take two years.

"We went around the island today and it's very clean and there's an excitement that it will finally open. I was talking to residents and they were saying this is what Boracay looked like 30 years back. People are excited to see the clean, pristine Boracay but of course I'm reminding the public to manage their expectations," Puyat said.

CNN Philippines Senior Anchor/Correspondent Pinky Webb and CNN International's Anna Coren sit down with members of the Boracay inter-agency task force for a status report. Catch "Rebuilding Boracay" on Facebook Live on October 15 at 10 a.m., initial telecast at 8 p.m.