She fell before the eyes of the western audience in 70′s movie ‘Too Late The Hero’ starring Michael Caine and Henry Fonda. Later the eulogies of German travel writer Jens Peters roused the wanderlust of his readers. Word spread and this pristine isle was awash with developers.
I met Richard in February 2013. A Snr. New Yorker, Richard had been vacationing in Boracay for the past 7 years. In his early 70’s, he recites his first memories of the island with affection; A sunset stroll to his apartment, dodging tricycles and mutts through the dark. The misadventure appealed to his bohemian spirit.
As years past his nightmares were realized as Macca D’s and Starbucks staked their claim. She had become franchised, branded and whored out to the masses. Boracay was no longer the preserve of the seasoned traveler, but the fairweather tourist. The old man won’t be coming back. Sadly, I don’t blame him.
Flog A Dead Dodo 1 Last Time
The average Filipino is ill-informed and out of touch about developments on Boracay. Just as the Ati were displaced before them, little do they know their island is about to be transformed forever.
Take a look at the following developments and proposals:
1. The Expansion of Caticlan Airport
In a press release our friends at the San Miguel Corporation outlined their intent to complete Caticlan’s runway extension by the close of 2014. The move will allow tourists to forego connecting flights in Manila and establish Caticlan as an international airport. Not surprisingly, arrivals are expected to surge.
2. Boracay Bridge
The proposed bridge will unite the island to mainland Panay via Tabon Port and Manoc-Manoc.
Does Phil’s famous San Juanico Bridge show us the way?
“Crossing the San Juanico Bridge” by The Wandering Angel – Flickr: Crossing. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
Under proposals redundant boatmen are expected to be redeployed as taxi drivers. Utilities, including sewage processing, are set to be facilitated too.
3. The 5,000 Room Budget Hotel & Coliseum
The “Las Vegas of the Philippines“ is becoming a reality. Proposals for a 5,000 room hotel and 25,000 person coliseum were originally announced in February 2013. The San Miguel Corporation, who own 20 hectares of land adjacent to Caticlan Airport, are expected to reprise similar outlandish plans shortly.
The ‘environmentally friendly’ budget-hotel would be the largest in South East Asia. Scribe Clinton Palanca puts the islands over-crowding into stark perspective.
“ If the 5000 rooms are filled with two persons each, that’s 10,000 people plus those staying at hotels in Boracay. White Beach is 3.5 kilometers long. If these people did nothing but sit on the beach, they would be two deep in a space half a meter wide per person.”
A Pinoy Phi Phi Island
Officials and developers will espouse the virtues of job creation and raised living standards for Visayan’s. Purists will decry the loss of their romantic idyll.
Generations to come will portray the island as a cautionary tale. A Pinoy Phi Phi Island cited to temper development and cherish the Philippines brittle beauty.
This once blissful isle is evolving into a party paradise. Like Richard, or many of the island’s residents, it isn’t our idea of paradise. For us, Boracay had it right first time.