Boracay Island is one of the top tourist destinations in the Philippines, which led to poor environmental condition throughout the years. Exploitation is clearly present, commercial establishments were all around the area and the issue regarding the mismanagement of sewerage system needs to be fixed.

The closure of the island was announced as part of Duterte’s administration implementation for six months to give the island time to breathe. Business owners were also forced to stop operating due to numerous violations and regulations of environmental laws.

5 months before it was closed, my dad booked a short vacation at Boracay as a reward for my hard work after I finished my thesis. Witnessing the island before the rehabilitation and the new paradise made me realize that there’s still hope for everything. Kaya naman pala, kung gugustuhin.

BEACH

Before:

In October 2018, the island was now returned to its former glory. As much as we wanted to visit the island right away, Astoria Current (our club hotel membership) informed us that they won’t guarantee a secured booking until March. 5 months of waiting was all worth it after witnessing for the second the clear blue water and stepped my foot to the powdery white sand of Boracay!

After:

It was now a much-improved version of the island without the chairs, hair braid stylist, massage stations and tattoo artist along the beach. Strict rules was implemented to maintain the cleanliness of the area. Vendors have a space on their own at the side, police officers are always roaming around the area, and the famous “nightlife” of Boracay is now gone. Read further as I write about this!

NIGHTLIFE

Before:

Boracay is known for having a nightlife that will keep you dancing until the sunrise. Several restaurants are still offering drinks and loud music as we stroll around the area. Not sure if there is a curfew since we were already in our room by 11 PM. Compared to our previous visit, I must say it’s so much better now. Below are several examples of what you could do at night!

After:

ACTIVITIES

There are a lot of activities to try in Boracay. Considering the price, it’s not really advisable to take everything especially if you’re on a budget. If you are willing to spend bucks trying out different activities, below are the list of what you can do during your stay.

  • Parasailing
  • Helicopter Beach Tour
  • Mermaid Lessons
  • Segway Tours
  • Jet Ski
  • Horseback Riding
  • Banana Boat
  • Stand up Paddle
  • Yacht and Parasailing

ISLAND HOPPING

Island hopping is one of the must-try and most affordable of all. We availed our package for only PHP 600.00. The inclusion of the package are Puka Beach, Lunch Buffet and Snorkeling with an additional fee of PHP 40.00 for the gear.

Crystal Cove

Crystal Cove Island is a privately-owned beach near Boracay. It is usually included in the island hopping destination, but not anymore after the renovation. It wasn’t clear to me also why it was closed We were only told: “may iba na po naghahandle”.

No information was shown when I tried to search for it on the internet. However, there are travel agencies still offering it. (If you know the reason why, please enlighten me)

Oh, how I missed the stone huts, towers and the panoramic view of the islands nearby. Below are some of the pictures during our visit here last year. I hope they open this again!

Puka Beach

Before:

I could still remember the face my dad made when one of the locals approached us and said “Ma’am, Sir, libre po yung upuan kung bibili kayo samin.”. Imagine we were so tired, Puka Beach was our last destination and the heat of the sun was so hard at 3PM tapos pagtingin mo sa menu mapapamura ka nalang bigla sa mura ng mga bilihin!

We bought the cheapest food just to be able to get a sit. PHP 250.00 for a 12 pieces cheese sticks. Yes, you read it right!

It was so much cleaner now that we’ve visited it again. Beach chairs and Kubo huts were already removed. Sadly, there are still locals offering sits on a beach towel with the exchange of buying food from them.

Kawa Bath

When we availed our tour, we were told that Kawa Bath is already included for free. On the day of our tour, our tour guide said that there is a separate payment of PHP 1500.00 for it! After some minutes of arguing with them, they insisted on transferring us to a different tour instead. Bes, dapat marunong tayong ipaglaban ang nararapat. Wag tayo maging katulad ng mga ex natin.

Snorkeling

Honestly speaking, our island hopping was so much better before. Don’t take my opinion wrong, as the newly much improved Boracay was made for the environment and not for tourist to enjoy. Crystal Cove was already closed. The only thing that we can do is to snorkel twice and go to Puka Beach. Good for you if you are lucky enough to avail a package that has a Kawa Bath inclusion. They only have limited Kawa which I think is the main reason why they don’t offer it for everyone.

ROAD:

It was somehow a good thing that we had a miscommunication with our hotel. Since we were dropped off at Station 1 instead of Station 3, we were able to have a glimpse of the roads. It was still the same before. I hope they also improved the wires, canals and stores since it is also a part of Boracay. Malinis nga yung loob, ganon padin naman paglabas.