The Two Faces of Boracay

Why do thousands of tourists go to Boracay?  Is it the beach?  The parties?  The water adventures?  You’d probably say all of the above but what makes it different from the rest of the islands in the Philippines?

My first trip to Boracay was about three years ago and we chose to go there during the off-peak season since we wanted to avoid too many tourists on the island (and it was cheaper too).  I was surprised because the beachfront was already too commercialized, covered by resorts and establishments.  I went back with my friends two weeks ago and just after three years, there had already been a lot of changes.

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A bad timing on a bad weather.

Boracay was one of the most beautiful islands in the Philippines until it was touched by the forces of development.

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Boracay in the 1980s.  Photo credit:  mrcheapjustice.wordpress.com

What I liked about Boracay

  • Water and Land Activities

There are a lot of activities that you can do in Boracay.  To name a few, there’s Parasailing, ATV, Helmet Dive, Flying Fish and Banana Boat.  If you walk on the beachfront, there are “agents” who’d approach you and try to sell you their activities.  Don’t immediately take the offer.  You have to haggle and compare prices with the other agents. For foreigners, they would usually charge a more expensive rate.

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The flying fish

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Banana boat

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Island hopping

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The speedboat driver was a big a** bully.

  • Pubcrawl

This was probably the highlight of our trip since it was our first time to join the PubCrawl. Strangers did turn into friends.  I’m an introvert but it brought out the extrovert in me.  LOL  Ticket fee: Php 690 for girls, Php 790 for boys.

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Book at http://www.pubcrawl.ph.  It would be best to book in advance since the tickets would usually get sold out.

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With newfound friends 🙂

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Wet and…Wild?  We had to walk in the heavy rain when we hopped on to the next bar.

  • Food Choices

You’ll never get hungry in Boracay.  Restaurants are everywhere!  With so many choices, the only problem is, where to eat?

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This is a must-try.  You should never leave Boracay without trying their Piri-piri chicken.  Photo credit:  Ritha Villahermosa

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Real Coffee’s Calamansi Muffins.  Best paired with coffee.

  • Massage

During our last night in Boracay, we pampered ourselves with a 1 hour full body massage.  The good thing was, there were masseuses who offered room service for as low as Php 250.  You can just tell them where you’re staying and your room number but please be cautious.  I’ve heard horror stories about customers who lost their stuff.  This is not a good idea if you’re staying alone.

Now the other side of Boracay…

  • Sewage Problem

Imagine yourself walking on the white sand beach and suddenly you see this.  It was really stinky!  This was only one of the many sewers on the beachfront with its wastewater flowing to the sea. It was disgusting!  I talked to some of the locals about it and I was told that it was already treated but still, it didn’t give the tourists a good experience.

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  • Flooding

When it rains, it floods and it’s terrible.  We had to walk on some of flooded areas and we had no choice.

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Photo credit:  mrcheapjustice.wordpress.com

  • Traffic

Who’d expect that there’s traffic on this small island?   We thought we’d miss our flight back home while we were waiting for a tricycle.  All the tricycles were full and the traffic was building up.  Good thing a local architect was driving around with his motorcycle  and offered to bring us to the port.

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Photo credit:  world-tourer.com

  • Beggars

There were a lot of  beggars on the streets and some would usually stay on the beachfront and approach tourists for money.

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Photo credit:  boracaystories.com

I’m not writing this to discourage people from going to Boracay but to call out the local and national government.  I wonder what they’re doing to address these problems.  Boracay is one of the country’s top tourist destinations but I feel sad because the island is slowly dying.

I hope this won’t also happen to the other islands like Palawan and Siargao.  #SaveBoracay

“A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself.”  
― Franklin D. Roosevelt

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