Inside Boracay: Week 2
Inside Boracay Week 2 with 26 more weeks to go.
There was a time when it would take ages to walk anywhere on Boracay. Whether due to trikes, bikes and golf carts parked across pavements (sidewalks). Or just due to the sheer number of tourists, sauntering slowly, in no rush to go anywhere.
Now it takes the same amount of time to get anywhere, despite empty beaches, roads and pathways. Instead of tourists, it’s fellow residents and islanders we are seeing, and stopping to chat to. Friends we may not have seen for some time, due to busy working or family lives. Early morning or late afternoon seems to be prime time. With the Remainers taking time to enjoy a near empty beach, stopping off for a quiet Sunset minus banging dance music, or competing musicians.
More than one person has suggested pushing for one night a week, on the island, where there is no beach front music. Just the sounds of nature, and friends talking and laughing. “Silent Sundays” has a great ring to it!
Inside Boracay: Week 2 The Work Goes on
Demolition, and set-back work, continues on the buildings flanking the Main Road of Boracay. The road area is already looking brighter and we all hope for the day when the order goes out for the Electricity Wires to be placed underground to really improve the inland views. The jury is still out, among locals, on the cable car or MRT suggestions, which many feel just don’t fit with Boracay’s island soul or size.
The laying of sewage pipes has started in Station 3 and what was once a cobbled pathway, at the end of Road 1-A to Bulabog Beach, has been widened to allow for a new road to extend all the way to the beach. The aim is to reduce congestion by routing Bulabog & Mt Luho traffic down this new road extension. The owner of the land, who had already given over some for the pathway years ago, again gave up more of his land to allow for a road to be built.
Inside Boracay: Week 2 saying goodbye to much-loved businesses
May 3 Set-back demolition has started on the properties along Bulabog Beach. These hadn’t previously been subject to the 25+5 ruling but now are. Whilst the owners have been compliant and accommodating it is sad to lose so many, which retained a real island-feel to their design. Many will set back on their remaining land, rebuild and open once again, to retain a much loved area of Boracay, particularly among Kiteboarding travellers and locals.
The look of Bulabog Beach is already changing as many hotels, bars and restaurants are pulled down or start to set-back.
On White Beach Station 1 Niu Ohana and Club Paraw (see above), have both begun on their road and 25+5 set-backs. Both had been refurbished in recent years. We look forward to seeing what they come back with, as both are popular places with travellers and locals. Jony’s and Maya’s have both started demolishing their beachfront, in order to set back.
Displaced Boracay Workers continue to work hard on the Island clean-up in exchange for a daily payment; whether it is Beach Clean-ups, Road Sweeping, helping to demolish or clear trash.
Inside Boracay: Week 2 Boracay Divers work to clean up Boracay’s Ocean
It’s not just White Beach and the mainland of Boracay, that’s getting a clean up; Boracay Divers have been really busy in Week 2. Taking Part in an underwater Beach Clean-up, as well as several days dealing with the prickly problem that is a Crown of Thorns infestation.
May 5 – Inside Boracay: Week 2 The Boracay Business Administration of Scuba Shops (BBASS) undertook an underwater beach clean with up to 40 volunteer Boracay Divers. Every Dive Shop on Boracay is required to send 1-2 volunteer Divers, to take part in any project or initiative undertaken by BBASS.
The Underwater Clean Up was done in conjunction with PBS (Philippine Broadcasting Service 87.5FM1) and One Ocean (an International NGO). PBS sent their DJ’s Therese and Alex to cover the activity. BBASS advise that a lot of trash was recovered from the ocean floor, including paint brushes, paint cans, fan belts and oil cans. Whilst some of the trash recovered may have travelled with the ocean currents, it is more likely that it’s been dumped from boats, that have been refurbished or repaired at the various Mooring Points throughout the islands waters.
May 7 – 12 on May 2017 Boracay Divers and volunteers were transplanting new corals and checking up on previous transplants, on the artifical domes. This yearBoracay Divers took off in to White Beach waters, on an expedition to remove the Notorious Crown of Thorns Starfish, which feed off our island corals.
This is an annual occurrence, and BBASS activity, but they explained that this year has seen a greater infestation. The Crown of Thorns is one of the largest starfish in the World and can have up to 21 arms. The Starfish are covered in venomous thorns and prey on reef coral polyps. It releases digestive enzymes which liquefies the coral and allows the starfish to absorb nutrients. This scars the coral, kills it in many cases, and leaves it vulnerable to other parasitic organisms. According to Wikipedia, one starfish alone can consume up to 65 sq ft of living coral reef per year
BBASS volunteer divers collected over 2,000kgs worth of destructive starfish in 5-6 days. And this is despite weekly collections, since February. BBASS advise that the infestation hasn’t been this bad since 1997 and other areas in the Philippines are experiencing similar problems with them due to a very hot summer. There are millions of these starfish still out there and BBASS is in talks with BFI (Boracay Foundation Inc) & DENR for support for an ongoing program for the rest of May, before the remaining Divers leave the island for alternative work placements. Ga Membrado Arboleda of Dive Guru’s provided some of our photos and this video:-https://www.facebook.com/gadivegurus/videos/10156440926228833/?t=106
Did you Know? All Dive Courses and Certificates undertaken in Boracay Waters, already incorporate eco-awareness to ensure all future divers are fully aware of their impact on the oceans and the importance of cleaning up the oceans.
May 8: Juvenile Black Tip Shark (Reef Shark) filmed in the shallows to the left of Willy’s Rock. Chase Soon, Operations Manager of Club Ten Resort managed to capture footage of this juvenile Reef Shark swimming in the shallows. The film was made early morning on this date:-
Inside Boracay: Week 2 Pipe Detecting
During this 2nd week, and thanks to the Task Force, with their Water Pipe Location Equipment (above), at least 2 pipes have been located discharging water under the sands of White Beach.
Whilst they may have been laid in good faith, for rainwater drainage, the chances are that some residents or businesses may have tapped in to it, to discharge waste water. These pipes have had their sources traced and will be removed.
Inside Boracay: Week 2 Your Hospitality Hub Focus Groups
Your Hospitality Hub hosted two Island Focus Groups this week; a Marketing for Re-opening Group, and an Eco-Friendly and Sustainability Group. Both were well attended with passionate members.
The Marketing for Re-opening Focus Group was kindly hosted at Nagisa Restaurant and was aimed at Hotels working with Online Travel Agenices (OTA’s) , and Online Solution Companies who offer a Channel Manager (to manage OTA’s in one place, with shared allotments and rate parity). All Attendees left with something to implement, whether it was increasing the number of their OTA’s, offering Early Bird Booking Deals or tips for improving Social Media Marketing.
The Eco-Friendly and Sustainability Focus Group was led by Dan Cardon of Chillax Flashpackers, who has already put a number of initiatives in place at his own Diniwid Hostel. Dan pointed to some of the initiatives put in place in Gozo Island, Malta including an Eco Pledge, which every Traveller must read and sign before entry. The issue of a lack of Trash Cans on the beach was raised again, along with the idea of banning the use of straws on the island, and an enforceable single-use plastic bags ban. Real Coffee & Tea provided their cafe as a venue for this meeting
Inside Boracay: Week 2 More Eco-friendly Projects
Balabag Elementary School, under School Principal, Sir Sajid Pelayo, is committed to doing their bit for Boracay too. When Classes start again the pupils will be encouraged to:-
Create Eco Bricks: Students will be encouraged to pack used water bottles with other plastic trash rather than just throw the bottles, and trash away. The packed bottles will then be turned over to the MRF (Material Recovery Facility), to be used as bricks. In exchange the School will receive School Chairs.
New Signage: In conjunction with Boracay’s PNP, 2nd Platoon Personnel, there will be “No Garbage at Balabag Elementary School” signs and slogans, to remind the pupils about their responsibility for maintaining the cleanliness of their school.
Compost Pit: Supporting the advocacy behind the “no burning” Ordinance, a number of compost pits have been created at Balabag Elementary School, for the segregated, bio-degradable trash.
Inside Boracay: Week 2 A new DOT Secretary
On May 9 Bernadette Romulu-Puyat was appointed the role of Secretary of the Department of Tourism. An experienced and long-standing Farm and Culinary Tourism Advocate, the people of Boracay are excited by the appointment and the opportunity to learn and be guided, especially in terms of developing more effective eco-tourism initiatives.
Inside Boracay: Week 2 Beautiful Boracay
Closing with some stunning images of White Beach, which continues to provide a calming influence and a reminder of just how beautiful Boracay will be, once again.
Boracay … the Next Boracay!