Boracay’s six-month closure officially starts today, April 26, 2018. I’ve been silently keeping tabs on the situation, and sadly there are polarizing points of view from the government vs. the people. Personally, I’d rather hear it from those who know Boracay best—people who actually live and thrive in the island, whether they’re business owners, humble street artists, or locals who have been there all their lives.
My first time in Boracay was back in 2003, and even then I already heard complaints about how the island was getting dirty and too commercialized compared to how it was in the ’90s.
I returned a few more times through the years, and watched as they would build an endless string of hotels. My friends and I joked that the moment they’d put up a Starbucks and Mcdonald’s in Station 2, that would mark the death of Boracay. Well, it did happen. The last time I went there was back in 2015 for a friend’s wedding in Shangri-La Boracay’s Resort and Spa.
But still, I had high hopes for this island. I thought that the environmental reports about the pollution and mismanagement would eventually make the people in power do something about it. Well, they are finally doing something about it. Is it the right thing? I’m on the fence, and I’ll leave it to the professional environmentalists and residents to decide.
Meanwhile, as we give the “most beautiful island in the world” time to heal, it’s time to explore the other islands in the Philippines. Note: For decades, we would declare that there are 7,107 islands in our country, but the official number continues to change. Geographers now peg the number at 7,641. Of course, 7,107 is still catchier, and whatever number you prefer using, the point is that we have over 7,000 to be proud of.
There’s more to the Philippines than Boracay. Looking at the bright side of this controversial six-month closure, it’s high time we put the spotlight on other majestic islands in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Hopefully, the government would prioritize the environmental over business aspects of these tourist destinations.
For Female Network, I recently wrote an article about several other beaches you can explore as alternatives to Boracay. My list includes sandbars, secret islands, and surfing destinations. Click below to see my full feature:
And while we’re getting emotional about the six-month closure of Boracay, I compiled Boracay love stories for Cosmopolitan Philippines—our little tribute to this beloved island.
And of course, let’s not forget Boracay altogether. There are still numerous issues that need to be addressed while the island heals. When it reopens in six months, we are hoping for a better Boracay.