Goodbye Boracay: The good, the bad and the ugly

BoracayBoracay needs a breather. It terribly needs rehabilitation.

Like a person who has experienced being used or abused, the island and its community need to be re-born; take a fresh outlook, inside and out; and have a second chance to open up and be out as a new, better man.

As the recommended closure of the world’s best island looms, looks at what’s good, what’s bad and what’s ugly in Boracay.

The good

Political will. Never in the history of this country has there been such a strong and solid political will to fix Boracay island’s problems than now.

While there is an opposition to the total shutdown of Boracay to tourists from the business sector whose profit will greatly be affected, there is also a massive support among the people to proceed with the closure and fix its internal issues to be sustainable not only for the island but for the Philippine tourism industry.


Cleanliness. Boracay has not been closed yet but both the government and private sectors are working together for the cleanup of the island. noticed the neat surroundings at the Caticlan jetty port with garbage bins in strategic places.

At the establishments, garbage segregation is now practiced and tourists and guests seem to follow proper garbage disposal.

Road widening. Both sides of the main road in Boracay are now marked with red paint on the number of meters required for the road widening. If this is pushed through, a great number of establishments must be demolished to give way to wider, better roads.


25+5 easement. noticed that the 25+5 easement is taken seriously by establishments. This mandatory salvage or easement zone area, the distance between buildings and the shore – 25 meters plus 5 meters – is measured from the high tide mark. We dined at Jonah’s, a well-known establishment for its fresh juices, and we noticed that it posted a closure schedule notice to give way to the easement.

Gone were the days when Bora establishments conduct activities that almost encroach the shores. Today, you’ll see a massive shoreline devoid of dirt and wastes.


There have been big changes in Boracay these days. In Puka Beach, for example, gone were the illegal nipa hut structures there.

BoracayBest sunset in the world. Aside from the equally world-famous Manila Bay sunset, the Boracay sunset with its varying hues never fails to amaze guests. It is always an unforgettable experience watching the Boracay horizon from dawn to dusk.

High anticipation. The recommended closure of Boracay has been reported worldwide and is now highly anticipated.   According to some locals, some foreigners have expressed their excitement telling them that they will be back in maybe the next two years to see what has changed on this paradise island.

 The bad

The future of some common island folks remains uncertain with most of them losing their jobs. There are around 36,000 workers in the island of Boracay.

BoracayStand up paddle instructors Rommel dela Cruz, 23 and Jaymar Gaytano, 21, are expecting to lose income ranging from P200 (USD4) to more than P2000 (USD40) per day, depending on the volume of tourists.

“Parang boundary ng jeep sa Maynila ang paddle, ang boundary namin ay 400 pesos. Buti na lang sa akin ang paddle ko,” Jaymar said. [Paddle is like the jeepney in Manila. Paddle has a boundary fee of P400 a day. I am lucky that I own the paddle.]

“Wala na pong gagawin, balik na lang ako ng Batangas,” Jaymar said. “Balik sa Kalibo,” Rommel said before attending to an approaching tourist. [There is nothing to do, I will go back to Batangas, Jaymar said. Back to Kalibo, Rommel said.]

Kesha Temporaza who hails from Tangalan, Aklan has been working in bar-restaurants in Boracay for three years.

Currently employed in a resto and grill that specializes in modern Filipino cuisine in Station 2 in Boracay, Kesha earns a minimum daily wage of P323 (US6.46).


“Pinanghihinaan kami ng loob kasi magsasara nga, affected po kasi,” Kesha said. [We feel discouraged about the closure and we are affected.]

Asked what to do if the closure takes place, Kesha said, “pahinga na lang muna siguro. Doon na lang ako sa amin sa bahay. Wala pa akong naisip kong ano ang gagawin ko doon. Mahirap din kasi doon sa amin.” [Maybe I will just rest in our house. I don’t still know what to do there. Life is also hard in our place.]

However, Kesha also contemplates on finding a part-time job and shall be back to the restaurant as soon as it will be opened again. “Kahit anong trabaho basta kaya ko.” [Any work will do as long as I can do it.]

BoracaySome of her acquaintances want to find opportunities in other places including Manila. “Mahirap din kasi na matagal kang mawawawalan ng trabaho. Ma-e-engganyo ka rin sa puweding i-offer ng iba.” [It’s hard to be jobless for a long time. And you will be attracted to what other establishments may offer you.]

While others are looking at leaving the island, Kesha will always go back to Boracay for work. “Ako mas gusto kong bumalik sa Boracay kasi mas malapit sa lugar namin.” [For me, it’s better to go back to Boracay because it’s closer to home.]

Tour guide Marvin Salazar, 24, is from Tablas Island in Romblon.

He is expecting to lose P500 to P1,000 pesos per day for his tour guide services which he has been doing for about a decade.

“Balik na lang sa pangingisda,” he said of his plans. “Kaya lang sa kikitain mong P100 sa pangingisda, pambili na lang ng bigas at ulam, wala ng pambili ng gatas,” Marvin said. He has a 4-month old child. [I will go back to fishing. However, the P100 peso income from fishing is just enough for rice and viand, not enough for milk.]

“Okay lang sa mga foreigners na magsara ang Boracay, pero sa mga taga-rito, marami ang magugutom,” he sad. [It’s okay for foreigners to close Boracay but for people who live here will be hungry.] He may leave Boracay on May 1.

Richard Jurario, 26, drives his friend’s habal-habal, a motorbike with driver for rent, is one of the most common modes of transportation in Boracay.

BoracayWith a total income of P1,000 pesos, he pays the boundary fee of P200 and spends gasoline worth P200. Thus, he expects to lose P600 a day for habal-habal driving if Boracay will be closed.

Richard will go back to Roxas who used to deliver Nestle products there. “Madaling kumita ng pera doon pero hindi ako nakakaipon,” he said. [It’s easy to earn money (in Roxas) but I am unable to save there.]

While he intends to come back to Boracay, habal-habal’s future in Boracay is also uncertain. Richard heard that authorities recommend the battery-operated e-tricyles or e-trikes and may phase out gasoline-run vehicles, and even hotels may implement this.


Nino was a bread and butter slicer/decorator in Kalibo before becoming a Tattoo artist in Boracay.


As tattoo artist, he will lose P1,000 with the closure of the island to tourists.

“Pero okay lang kasi dito, nagbo-board kami at mahal din ang bilihin dito, doon sa Kalibo, ang bahay ko malapit lang,” he said. [It’s okay, I rent in a boarding house and goods in Boracay are expensive. In Kalibo, my house is near work.]

On the closure, Nino said, “wala din naming choice ang mga foreigners eh.”

On President Rodrigo Duterte’s position to close the island, Nino said, “pag sinabi niya, dapat pursigihin niya.” [He said it, so he must pursue it.]

BoracayWalang problema sa mga turista na mag-rehab ang Boracay dahil may pera sila, puwede silang pumunta kahit saan. Kaya hindi okay sa amin ang pagsasara kasi dito kami umaasa,” Abdillah Ibrahim said. [Because tourists have money, they have no problem with the Boracay closure. They can go to any place they want. But not to us whose livelihood are dependent on it.]

Abdillah is from Lanao del Sur in Mindanao. “Ayokong umuwi sa amin, magulo at may Martial Law doon at walang kasiguraduhan ang trabaho,” he said. [I don’t want to go home, it’s chaotic there, there is Martial Law and jobs are not certain.]

“Tutal may rehabilitation dito kapag nagsara, puwede akong mag-construction worker. Hangga’t kaya ko, makikipagsapalaran ako,” Addillah said. [Since there will be rehabilitation if it closes, I can apply as construction worker. As long as I can, I will take my chance.]

The ugly

“Inaalerto na nila ang pag-aayos dito sa Boracay pero huli na,” Jaymay said. [Fixing Boracay is on alert level but it is too late.]

Jaymar believes that the six-month period to solve the problems of Boracay is not enough.


“Hindi nila kaya, tulad ng D-Mall na eto, konting ulan lang, baha siya, kapag dalawang araw ang ulan, lalo na. Kita ninyo yung mga hukay, pinag-iisipan pa nila kung saan padadaanin yung tubig. Sa Laketown dati ang daanan ng tubig, hindi dito sa dagat,” the paddler said. [They cannot do it. At D-Mall, just a drizzle will cause flood, and if it rains in two days, it gets worse. You have seen the holes, they are thinking where to direct water. It used to go to Laketown, not directly to the beach.]

There are several diggings and overnight construction are currently on-going at the inner streets of D’Mall and D’Palengke. Blue sacks temporarily cover the unsightly infrastructure development.

“Yung Laketown dati, malinis, walang basura. Yung mga nagtitinda, yun ang mga nagtatapon ng basura kaya lalong nagbara yung daanan ng tubig,” Jaymar added. [Laketown used to be clean, with no garbage. Those who were selling there throw garbage in it that is why the drainages were clogged.]


Genesis Prado, 28, a driver hails from Buruanga, Aklan works in one of the island’s exclusive hillside enclaves.

He said that the resort management will use Boracay’s closure to upgrade its services that includes repair of its car fleet’s air conditioning systems.

As a driver, Genesis said that road widening is currently being done. He indicated street parts with markings that needed up to 3 meters for widening.

“Yung iba, nag-se-self-demolish na,” he said. [Others are doing self-demolition.]


“Nakakahiya nga sa mga guests, para silang nagpa-patintero para makaiwas sa dami ng mga hukay sa kalsada,” Genesis added. [It is embarrassing to guests that they have to play ‘patintero’ (Filipino traditional game that blocks players from passing) to avoid dug holes in roads.]

Holes and diggings are now dotting the main street of Boracay with sacks of soil and rock that circle on them for tourists to avoid.

These canals were dug to check which pipes were illegally connected to them. Some establishments are not properly connected to the sewer system. Instead, they connected their pipes to the main canals that lead to the beach.

Source: With report of Caesar Vallejos that first appeared in