Kayangan Lake, Coron, northern Palawan (File photo)

Coron has opened up its tourist destinations beginning June 6, allowing local tourists to go on regulated tours of the island town’s established nature destinations.

The municipal inter-agency task force (MIATF) has allowed the resumption of tourism activities, but tourists and tour facilitators must follow modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) guidelines.

Effective June 6, island hopping, SCUBA diving, and land-based tours have been opened but only to residents of the Calamian group of islands.

According to tourism operations officer II Kim Ablana, the resumption of tourism activities in the municipality is part of their gradual re-opening of the industry that will get the local economy moving again.

“Sa ngayon ay mga local tourists ang target market namin. Wala pa naman kasing inbound travel galing mainland Palawan, kaya nag-focus muna kami sa mga residente ng Calamian islands,” Ablana said.

“Nagdesisyon ang municipal IATF na ibalik ang turismo para may kita ang mga bangka at para may mga bumibili naman sa palengke para sa pang-pagkain ng mga turista,” he added.

Attraction in Coron Island such as Kayangan Lake, Twin Lagoon, and Barracuda Lake will also be open starting June 12.

“Lahat ng mga tourist sites ay bukas na maliban pa sa Kayangan Lake, Twin Lagoon, at Barracuda Lake, kasi ang mga iyon ay June 12 pa magbubukas. Initially, dapat June 10 ito, pero may mga kinukumpleto pa kaming mga requirements para masunod ang MGCQ guidelines,” said Ablana.

Those signing up for tours need to register and acquire permission from the local Philippine Coast Guard Station (PCGS). Only a maximum of 250 individuals may be accommodated per day for island tours, and only 30 individuals per day may take SCUBA diving tours.

The tours however are restricted to persons between 21 and 60 years old. All tourists are required to bring valid IDs proving that they are Palawan residents.

Tourist boats are to only accept half of their maximum capacity for every tour to ensure social distancing, and tour facilitators are also required to disinfect their equipment to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Tour boats are also required to have alcohol and hand washing materials on board.

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is a senior reporter for Palawan News who covers politics, education, environment, tourism, and human interest stories. She loves watching Netflix, reading literary fiction, and listens to serial fiction podcasts. Her favorite color is blue.