Boracay Rejuvenated

White Beach
Two days prior to the scheduled reopening of Boracay, we had the chance to take a day trip to what was hailed as the best island in the world for 2016 by Condé Nast's Readers Choice Awards. And we found this beautiful stretch of powdery white sand with nary a sunbather.

The island had been closed to tourists since April 2018 after the President of the Philippines remarked that it had become a “cesspool”. Unchecked growth and the 1.7 million visitors annually had left environmental damage to the tiny island. Nearly 6 months after the closure, Boracay was getting ready to receive visitors again.

We took an electric tricycle from the jetty through dusty backroads to get to a drop off point close to White Beach. These e-trikes are a welcome addition to island transportation.       

White Beach
It was nice to see White Beach free of stalls and vendors. We weren't allowed to eat nor drink on the beach. So we sat under the shade of these palm trees and stared out to sea, took occasional dips in the clear waters and spent some time basking in the rare tranquility of what was once the busiest stretch of white sand in the Philippines.

Main Street
There’s much more work to do on infrastructure and may take a couple of years to complete according to the Department of Tourism. It is necessary to repair the infrastructure now and lay the groundwork for the sewage and drainage systems.

Main Street
The environmental rehabilitation of Boracay is of paramount importance to prevent further degradation of the island. Several measures have been adopted to this effect including a ban on beach parties, smoking and drinking on White Beach, the removal of stalls from the beachfront, temporary restrictions on watersports and a daily cap on the number of visitors to the island. But the most significant of these measures is the requirement for establishments to comply with waste water management or face closure.  

White Beach
Will the tourists come back in droves without the party scene that made Boracay the darling destination in recent years? Are the environmental measures sustainable? Let's hope so.

If you would like to visit Boracay and stay overnight, make hotel reservations in advance of your arrival. You will be asked to show your reservation at the port in Caticlan before boarding the pumpboat to the island. Day visitors have to leave their ID at the Tourism Desk in Caticlan and pick it up upon return. 

*****

Images by TravelswithCharie

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