Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu on Monday declared that Boracay, which has been closed for six months for rehabilitation, is no longer a cesspool and is fit for swimming.
During the dry run of the island's opening, Cimatu said the "cesspool" previously referred to by President Rodrigo Duterte due to wastewater is now clean, according to a report by Joseph Morong on GMA News TV's Balitanghali.
In the latest water quality test done, Boracay's waters registered 18.1 mpn (most probable number) per 100 ml of coliform.
It used to be 1 million mpn per 100 ml.
At the end of a countdown, local tourists ran toward the water as the crowd erupted in cheer.
Prior to this, there was a "salubungan" on the beach wherein Boracaynons and Aklanons met to signify that island residents welcome the arrival of tourists.
Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores said the island's soft opening is on Friday, October 26.
Foreign tourists will be welcome by then.
The Department of Tourism, however, warned those planning to go to Boracay to make sure their hotel is accredited.
Only 68 hotels have so far been given the go signal to accept reservations.
Those found to have no accommodations in Boracay at an accredited hotel will be barred at the airport.
Pier, road work
Visitors arriving on the island will use a pontoon as temporary landing pier.
At the White Beach, structures are not allowed to be constructed on the easement zone.
Meanwhile, road work continues in other parts of the island.
Nenette Graf, president of Boracay Foundation, is optimistic that after all the construction is finished, the island will be even more beautiful.
"Well, ang tingin namin 'pag natapos 'yon [road work], napakaganda ng land mass," she said in an interview on Balitanghali.
"Sana pagkatapos ng mga road works sa Boracay, mas maging maganda ito para sa mga turista," Graf added.
"Sa ngayon handa na kaming lahat... Maganda 'yung mga nagawa. I'm sure magkakaroon ng maraming pagbabago," she said.
At the Caticlan Jetty Port, workers with jobs on the island have started arriving to return to their workplaces. —KG, GMA News