Boracay in the Philippines has always been associated as a “party island”. But since its reopening on October 2018 after a 6-month rehabilitation closure, a lot has changed. The new Boracay has become a more mellow and relaxing destination.
I made my way to Boracay on December 2018 to create campaigns on the newly opened island. The ads were specifically for Tides Hotel, located in the center of D’Mall, and Epic Night Club, which is located in the same area. From this trip, I was able to experience the changes that everyone was excited to see and hear about.
We landed in Caticlan Airport on a sunny morning. We made our way to Caticlan Jetty via a private van, and from that point forward, you start to notice the changes that have been implemented on the island. Just before you can make your way to the outrigger boat (bangka), there is a security point which checks if you have accommodation reservations on the island. Without any prior booking, you cannot enter the island anymore. This is one way for them to control the crowd capacity and also to possibly avoid backpackers lounging and setting up camp on the beach.
We started the trip with a scrumptious boodle fight at Tides Hotel, and I tell you, the food was already enough reason for me to go back to this beautiful island paradise. The grilled seafood had a mixed flavor of smokey, salty and spicy, topped with vegetables and fruit juices which added a refreshing collision to the whole meal.
During the day time, you don’t notice many changes on the island, except that the beach is cleaner, and loads of security officers posted meters away from one another under the coconut trees. Although their presence may be a bit of an eyesore due to their neon-colored vests, you definitely feel a lot safer while strolling along the beach.
During the evenings is when you feel the massive difference. No pop-up grilling restaurants by the beach, no fire dancers, no tree lights, no wild beach parties. Just the hum of the wind rustling the coconut trees and silent echoes of people sitting on the sand while gazing at the clear sky. And the security officers just waiting quietly by the coconut trees.
Boracay has become a place where you no longer hear unsettling karaoke voices at 10 PM. You can stroll on the beach and have no fear of cutting your feet with a broken beer bottle on the sand. You can hear the waves. You can sleep peacefully without the heavy beats from the beach party vibrating on your bed.
The Extensive Boracay Upgrades
- The dismantling of illegal pipes that flushed sewage into the sea.
- More infrastructure to keep the island more sustainable, including the building of more treatment plants.
- Removal of buildings that were less than 30 meters from the shoreline.
- Road widening, which you will notice when you try to commute from Station to Station.
- Fewer algae on the shore. This was cleaned by a flock of volunteers during the closure.
- No more beach masseuses. All massages have to be done inside a property, or at least 30 meters away from the shoreline.
- No more vendors by the shoreline including trinket vendors, hair braiders, and sand sculptors.
- No more musicians and nightclubs on the beach.
- No alcohol drinking allowed in public areas including the beach shore.
- No smoking allowed in public.
- No single-use plastic allowed including plastic cups, plastic plates, and plastic straws.
- No drones allowed to take off or fly close to people/ private property.
- No entry into the island without prior accommodation booking.
Below is a video log of my recent trip to Boracay. Do check it out and leave a comment, or two!
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