IT’S the end of Boracay as we know it.
Paying a very heavy price for over-commercialization, this island will be closed to tourists for six months starting next week.
Just off the northwestern tip of Panay Island, Boracay has evolved tremendously since its “discovery” by European backpackers in the 1980s.
From a paradise known for its powdery white sand that remains cool even at noontime, to the country’s number one tourist destination, to “the world’s best beach” tag bestowed by global travel magazines, to the party island of choice for millennials, and finally to the cesspool that it has become today.
What a difference three decades make. Its closure would certainly lead to a cleaner, greener, and more sustainable Boracay 2.0 – with or without casinos.
In the meantime, several of our 7,107 (or 7,641 per a former DENR chief) islands are vying for attention as the next Boracay in terms of popularity. Some are already disqualified due to recent findings showing environmental degradation.
My vote goes to the islands of Northern Iloilo. Lying near the eastern seaboard of Panay, the most famous among these islands are Sicogon and Islas de Gigantes.
One of them is undergoing a transformation into a premier resort by the country’s top property developers, who I’m sure have learned from Boracay’s lessons.
Can’t wait to get there this weekend and experience for myself why they’re predicted to be the “next big thing” in Philippine tourism.