Who doesn’t want to go back or dream to go there? With its beautiful beaches, activities, entertainment, and all, it seems to be a great place to just chill out, live life to the fullest, and just do whatever you want in such a small island.
Well, I was one of those people who dreamed to be in that famous island. I said “was” because finally after 28 years of my life I was able to “finally” visit and put my feet on the island of Boracay.
But then, I was a bit disappointed with it, why? Well, let me share it with you.
Road ProblemsWhen the sun rises up there on my first day (because I arrived there at night, and just sleep on my bed like a baby), saw what’s behind the beach, and I was like “oh! Okay.”
It was not the sight that I expected. It was November of 2014 when I visited that so called “beautiful island”. What I saw right away when I stepped out of my hotel is a muddy street because it was rainy season. Before I was able to go to station 2 of Boracay to see that beach that people around the world says “beautiful white sand beach”, I have to go through an uneven road with water.
And imagine me at night, or the tourists, go through this.
See the long chair there? It's where tourists step on just to cross because that water is really dirty.
Yes, just to hang out at the beach at night, to see beach side entertainment, and even checkout restaurants at the beach side. It's not just that, even the main road got problems, and in such a small island that caused traffic.
Minimum FareThe next day, I go to church and since it was raining I waved at the tricycle driver parking nearby my hotel in Boracay. I ride the tricycle alone since I want to be at the church right away, and to my surprise the tricycle asked me for P75 for one trip that takes about 5 to 10 minutes ride. I mean, here in Cebu Philippines I only pay the Vhire (public van for hire) P30 for a 1 to 2 hours trip, crossing from the SM City Cebu to Mactan Island, in Mactan I just pay P40 for a one trip alone which is already about 10 minutes ride.
I then asked the hotel staff when I got back on how much is their minimum fare, it is P25. I was really surprised. They’re asking way too much for a short trip, foreigners may not mind but as a Filipino who lives in the Philippines do mind this, but how much more the locals of Boracay? But then, if you just give a lower fare for the Filipinos, that would not be fair to the foreigners.
Where did the locals go?As a WithLocals Ambassador, I was there in Boracay to verify a host who wish to offer an experience via our website. She brought us to this certain area where most of the locals live. I was excited to meet the locals there, because spending a day doing activities in Boracay made me think of what happened to the locals there?
I was able to talk to the local women there, they’re mostly mothers, grandmothers, and even kids. They’ve shared to me that some of them used to live in the area where there are a lot of tourists go to, but now they’re living in a small home, sharing with the other members of the family. Why? Because the government (as what they’ve told me) have them leave their own lands and let them stay in this area. It was not unclear if they were paid for their land or not.
But it made me think, could the government provide them a building as their housing? Not this small wooden houses. The government permits these businessmen build their own huge hotels and buildings, but the real residents of Boracay, what happened to them, what will happen to them in the future? There are more buildings that are constructing now. There’s this even part of the land, a mountain flattened, seems there’s a huge plan there. What if these businessmen takes over the land, where will these locals go?
Where do the funds go?When you’re about to enter Boracay or even leave Boracay. Before you even get your feet on the ground of the island, or off the island, you need to pay fees. So imagine, Boracay is very well-known around the world that it receives awards since (I believe around) 2012.
Imagine how many tourists, per month, per summer, per season the island gets. Imagine that each of those tourists at least pays P200 pesos. So, think then of the funds they have from tourists going to the island, that funds alone. How much does it cost to fix a road? Or maybe have a road? How much does it take to provide proper housing for the locals, or a training or program for the locals of Boracay to get some source of income? The locals there are obviously not making as much as or even half of what these businessmen earns.
Well, all I have are questions. Questions that are hopefully be answered through actions that will solve these questions. Why am I blogging it and sharing it with you? It is because I started blogging to promote Philippine tourism, and my mind is set that if I help the tourism there will be more income opportunities for the locals like the residents in Boracay, I’d never thought that tourism can also do damage not only to mother nature, but also to the people living in it.
Boracay has indeed a beautiful beach, but I do hope I won’t be saying to my children someday that “Boracay HAD the most beautiful beach”.
So, what do you think happened to Boracay? Where do the fees go? If you've been there, feel free to share with us what you like or dislike with Boracay, just leave it as a comment below!