When Rodrigo Duterte became the President of the Philippines, one of his plans was to rehabilitate Boracay. The last time we were in Boracay was 2015, it was like a city crammed on an island. It was congested with up to 5 story concrete buildings, vendors along the beach line, city waste leaking (more like dumping) at the sea, in short, it was no longer an island paradise. So they closed Boracay for 6 months from April 6 – October 26, 2018. There were some businesses closed, no more beach parties, no more vendors along the beach front. Fast forward today – May 25, 2019, after roughly 7 months Boracay was reopened to the public, we’re here again…
So what’s the obvious change after the rehab?
1. Lesser people coming in. Though there are still a lot of folks but not crazy many like a zombie apocalypse about to burst the fence gate. There were not that many people riding the boat.
2. Efficient and fast boarding. We just had to confirm our hotel booking at the Caticlan port entrance then pay one time for the boat fare with environmental fees, terminal fees, etc., then off to board the boat. It was fast too like less than 15 minutes and we were already on the boat. Before it’ll take an hour or more just to go through.
3. Lesser westerners. Westerners used to be more visible even in the back alleys and streets because they hold the bigger chunk of the tourist population right after the local tourists but now, there are more Asian tourists like the Chinese and Koreans. Maybe in a few years, they’ll be back more in numbers again. Either way, it is good for the island economy.
4. No more street vendors. The beachfront used to be filled with lots of vendors of all variety apart from the massage areas along the beach and bands but now, they’re mostly gone because it is no longer allowed.
5. No more beach parties. Yep, parties are no longer allowed along the beach but there are still bars that hold rave parties. As long as they don’t spill beyond and is within their property, it’s all good.
6. Demolished buildings. Yep, we saw some buildings that were considered encroaching the beachfront demolished.
7. Walkway, they did some road expansion but more for walkways.
8. More etrikes. Yep, those small passenger carriers powered by electricity only. Boracay is going green as it should be from the start.
Conclusion: It is way better now than our last two visits way back in 2015 and 2011. Though the beach is still crowded but not like ants swarming over a sweet cookie. Yes, there used to be so many people you can’t really see the beach. There is still so much work to be done but the benefits of the rehabilitation can truly be experienced for the benefit of the island and its people both local and foreigners.
p.s. The reason why we’re here is because of my wife’s best friend. They haven’t met in a decade and this is also my first time meeting Nic. Also our first time to meet his boyfriend Allan.
p.s.s. photos shot on my Huawei Nova 2i. Though I brought with me my Sony full frame mirrorless camera, my cellphone is more convenient for fast documentation and social media purposes while my mirrorless is more for fine art photography shots simply for a portfolio or Instagram purposes.