NOW IT'S YOUR TURN TO REST: Boracay Island's Rehabilitation
VOL. 1 NO. 2 MAY 2019
BY: MARIA CARMELIA GALAPON | PHOTOGRAPHER: DON CLAVO DE COMER
If there's one thing the Philippines is famous for, it's beaches! Voted as one of the best islands in the world by Conde Nast, Boracay is the place to be and its shores are open again to the public.
Boracay was ordered to close for rehabilitation in April 2018 due to the rapid urbanization and commercial development of the island that led to its natural wither - streets were overcrowded, pieces of trash were scattered, and algae were afloat along the coastline. But with the 6-month closure, the island is back with its paradise-like features. Boracay is now gleaming again with its crystal clear, turquoise waters, and is sprinkling its powdery, white sand on its visitors. Soon after its reopening in October 2018, tourists who longed to set foot on its beauty quickly flocked the shores.
With the task force in place, the national and local government implemented and reinforced new regulations to ensure the sustainability of its newly established reclamation. Tourism activities will be subject to strict supervision to safeguard environment-friendly procedures, which enact the regulation of sand castle building and firework displays, and the ban of smoking, dining, fire dancing, parties, pets, souvenir shops, hawkers, and overall, littering on the beachfront. As the mission to save the marine biodiversity continues, only selected water sports activities are authorized to resume business.
As of March 20, 2019, there were only 326 accredited establishments for accommodation accounting to 11,943 rooms complying with the newly appointed environmental laws. Future travelers must pre-book and show their reservation slips for evidence to a designated verification counter before they can enter the island.
So, has the Boracay we have come to know as the party island cease to exist? Well, yes and no. Restaurants and bars still operate within the main business area where travelers can still expect the head-banging night they long for. Water enthusiasts can still splash around with the assorted water sports activities available. but the beachfront is now reserved as a sanctuary for those who want to optimize the serendipitous tropical ambiance of Boracay. Beachgoers can enjoy its natural orchestra as the waves harmonize with the clapping of the palm trees. Lest we forget that the island is a hot spot for photo opportunities!
For those who want to get away from the city's noise and chaos, go and rejuvenate your body and soul in Boracay.
Wallow in the summer sun, cool off in the salty sea breeze, and savor the calm that the new Boracay has in store for you. [K]