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Boracay’s Open: first week

Boracay’s Open: first week

Cover photo: Finn Ronne

Boracay’s Open: first week.

Boracay’s Open; first week has passed and much is still to be done.   None should forget that the 26th October was only the Phase 1 Opening.   Phase 2 of the rehabilitation will complete in April 2019 and the final Phase 3 is set to finish in December 2019.

  • Tourists to sign an Oath for a Better Boracay
  • Opening Day Arrivals below Carry Capacity
  • 200 Hotels and establishments fined for environmental violations
  • Boracay landowners facing loss of land.
  • Boracay’s 2nd biggest party of the year; Halloween in photos.  Did Resorts breach the ban on Parties?

Boracay’s Open: first Week – 27th October Tourists asked to sign an Oath for a Better Boracay

An idea, first floated by one of the owners of Chillax Flashpackers Boracay, Dan Cardon, has been taken up by the Department of Tourism [1.].   Tourists are now asked to signed an Oath for a Better Boracay, on arrival.   Whilst the Oath isn’t a legally binding document, DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat expressed hope that it would serve as a reminder to Boracay’s visitors to be responsible tourists.

Oath for a Better Boracay 2018
Oath for a Better Boracay

Chillax Flashpackers is located in Diniwid and was designed, from the ground up as an ECO project.  The resort was Boracay’s first and only accommodation created using a Container Concept; a building made using shipping containers.

Dan Cardon, who first floated the idea of a Boracay Pledge back in May 2018, has also been a key member of Boracay’s Sustainability and Eco Focus Group.  The Focus group also assisted with some of the details of Boracay’s Single Use Plastics Ordinance.  DENR and Malay LGU advise this will be implemented from the 2nd November.

Some netizens have commented that the idea is a joke, or pointless.  But this islander can confirm that on the evening of November 1, walking Station 1 to D’Mall on the beach resulted in the find of one straw and one remnant of plastic netting, the type found around some children’s toys on purchase.  The earlier walk from D’Mall to Station 1 resulted in one cup and some bubble-wrap which appeared to have been in the sand or water for sometime.

So, this islander is inclined to agree with DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, the Oath IS serving to remind tourists to be mindful and responsible tourists.

Boracay’s Open: first week – 28th October Boracay’s Tourist Arrival Numbers below Carry Capacity

Data from Caticlan Jetty Port confirm that 3,068 people passed through their doors on Boracay’s Opening Day [2.].  Whilst this is well below Boracay’s Carry Capacity, which is set at 6,405 tourist arrivals a day, hotel owners were relieved that the numbers were so high.

Many had feared that it would take 6 months to a year to restore visitor numbers.   However, others remain cautious.  Whilst the DOT Secretary has advised visitors to “Manage your expectations”, resorts are realistically expecting that the first tourist arrivals may result in negative press and reviews, as the island is one that is still very much under reconstruction.

Boracay's Open First Week
Jack Jarilla’s photo of Opening Day

Of the Arrivals on Friday:-

  • 2,562 tourists had bookings in hotels and resorts
  • 155 visitors were friends or family staying with Boracay residents
  • 351 visitors were day visitors

Boracay’s Open: first week – 29th October 200 hotels and establishments are fined for violations

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) advised that they have fined 209 establishments in Boracay. The fines are related to the violation of various environmental laws [3.].

The Pollution Adjudication Board (PAB) office of DENR confirmed that 110 hotels or resorts had violated the Clean Air Act; Rule 19 of Republic Act 8749, Section 1. Either by not having a valid permit to operate, or not obtaining Authority to Construct for new or modified sources.

72 Resorts and business establishments did not hold a Discharge Permit for Water Pollutants; the Clean Water Act Section 27(c) of Republic Act 9275.

A further 27 establishments were charged for other violations, which PAB did not expand on.

Fines ranged between ₱10,000 and a million pesos with some facing a stiffer fine than others for the same violation, due to the duration of the violation. The total amount for fines levied adds up to ₱43 million.

The resorts and establishments which have received a fine have been advised that they will not be permitted to operate until the fines are paid.

Boracay’s Open: first week – Residents and Businesses notified of DENR meetings regarding land claims.

Balabag and Manoc Manoc land owners have been advised to attend meetings with regards to their land.   Current lists of land/plot owners have been released on each Barangay’s Facebook Page, with a request for claimants to attend and bring with them a tax declaration, sketch plan and any other documents which prove ownership.

It is vital that people attend these meetings.  Many landowners are already seeing on the lists published, that their land measurements have been reduced.

Boracay Rapid Land Tenure Appraisal letter Oct 15, 2018

“Our Landlady will be attending, one of her plots of land has been reduced to the point there is only 40sqm left”

“We just found out we’re losing 750sqm; we’re nowhere near a road.  Our elderly Parents in Law see their plot reduced from 620sqm to 140sqm.”

“We’ve lost 136sqm reducing our plot to 510sqm!”

“The businesses at Ambulong (Faith Village) have had to sign a DENR waiver agreeing to lose 15 meters, on either side of the center of the road, otherwise they won’t get permits to operate.”

Balabag Meeting will take place on November 6th, at Balabag Plaza at 9am

Manoc Manoc Meeting will take place on November 15th, at Barangay Manoc Manoc Covered Court 9:00 AM

Boracay’s Open: first week – 31st October A Boracay Halloween

With an abundance of foreign nationals on the island, many of whom made their homes here in the 1980’s and 1990’s.  It is no surprise that Halloween is The party of the year for many, second to New Years Eve.

Just to be clear, whilst events like LaBoracay have been banned, parties are still allowed to take place.  As long as they do not take place on the Beach; in the no-build zone easement.

Samhain (pronounced sow-in) is behind the origins of Halloween, an ancient Celtic ‘harvest’ festival. Recognizing the start of the winter months.  2,000 years ago the Celts, who lived in Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their New Year on November 1.  It is generally accepted by historians and archaeologists that Samhain was Christianized by the early Church in Europe to form the three-day observance of ‘Allhallowtide’.  A period dedicated to remembering the dead, including Saints (Hallows), Martyrs, and departed family.

Kicking off the parties was the Boracay Kids Club.  A regular Halloween fixture, which includes a parade of the children in their costumes, stopping off at various sponsor establishments to collect their Treats.

  • Boracay Kids Club Halloween 2018
  • Boracay Kids Club Halloween 2018
  • Boracay Kids Club Halloween 2018
  • Boracay Kids Club Halloween 2018

The second big event was on the morning of All Hallow’s Eve. The Philippine Red Cross Boracay-Malay Chapter organised a Zumbie; Zumba and Beach Clean up on Bulabog Beach, starting at 6am.  Bulabog Beach was ground zero for President Duterte’s “Cesspool” Comment.

Posted by Rona Liza Inocencio on Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The main event took place in the evening.

Dos Mestizos held their annual anniversary Halloween Party for its regular patrons.  It’s a private party and has always been the event to kick off the Halloween Experience.  This year the restaurant celebrated 14 years in business.

In Halloweens of past, locals and participating tourists would start off in various locations throughout the island, before making their way to White Beach beach path, for a parade of their finery.  However, this year the parades, which always attracted a lot of tourists and locals for photo opportunities, never really materialized.

  • Boracay's Dos Mestizos Celebrates 14 years
  • Boracay's Dos Mestizos Celebrates 14 years
  • Boracay's Dos Mestizos Celebrates 14 years
  • Boracay's Open Dos Mestizos Celebrates 14 years
  • Boracay's Dos Mestizos Celebrates 14 years
  • Boracay's Open
  • Boracay's Open
  • Boracay's Dos Mestizos Celebrates 14 years

There have been many reports in the Mainstream Media that Boracay held parties for Halloween.

As if parties themselves were banned!

This is not the case.  The ban in place is for LaBoracay style parties; events that take place on the beach itself, with stages, cordoned-off areas and masses of party goers.   Those are the parties that have been banned.  Resorts are also required to manage noise levels; BIATF Rule #4 – “All noise-generating business and activities should be properly enclosed and noise insulated”.  Two resorts were asked to turn down or shut off their music because their area was not enclosed.

Despite media reports, the island was subdued by comparison to previous years.  Some resorts held parties within their grounds, and the majority finished at 10pm or 12pm.

Philstar Global was one to castigate resorts for holding parties.  In their article they quoted the DOT Secretary as saying the rules were “no partying within the no-build zone easement”.  Here’s the news Philstar Global – there were no parties in the ‘no-build zone easement’! [4.]

One of the media outlets making big noise about partying Wednesday night, also put out an poster a few weeks back, listing the new rules for Boracay, some of which were incorrect.  So take from that, what you will!  Boracay remains big news and a great way to engage your readers and bring in more followers.  But it’s quite easy to manipulate non-stories in to something else entirely just to get traffic and engagement on your facebook page or website.  Of all the issues the press could be covering, many islanders would suggest the real news of importance are barely covered or investigated.

Despite the faux moral outrage from mainstream media, and the netizen’s they incited to react, this years Halloween experience does at least serve to highlight the need for clearer guidelines on event curfews, sound limitations etc.  Not just so Resorts are clear, but tourists as well.

Boracay’s Open – Ending on some great news: water sport ban is lifted from November 3

As of Saturday 3rd November Paraw sailing, kayaking, and kite surfing will be allowed on Boracay’s water. All are low impact, wind or people powered activities [5.].

These activities, along with others were previously suspended, whilst a marine biodiversity survey was undertaken.


Article Sources

  1. Welcome to a Better Boracay – Philstar
  2. Tourist arrivals for Boracay reopening below daily limit; DOT explains why – Manila Bulletin
  3. More than 200 Boracay establishments fined for violating environmental laws – CNN Philippines
  4. Tourists defy Boracay ban on parties, loud music – Philstar Global
  5. Select water sports to be allowed in Boracay starting Nov. 3 DENR chief -ABS-CBN News
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