A Brief History Of Boracay Island
When foreigners travel the Philippines, a place that never eludes them is Boracay. It has to be in the itinerary! Known as one of the best beaches in Asia as well as in the world, to miss out on the Boracay experience, is sacrilege in the eyes of explorers.
To go beyond acquaintance and develop a deeper friendship, one must get to know a person, not just by the superficialities such as preferences and hobbies but by the experiences one has gone through the past, to be what one is. You never really know someone unless you’ve learned his /her background; and so it is with this piece of art from God called Boracay – we will not know this sanctuary entirely until we explore the history.
Figure 1. Boracay island (image retrieved from http://boracay-resorts.net)
Yapak, Balabag & Manoc Manoc
Boracay island is 7 kilometers long and is situated approximately 315 km or 196 miles south of Manila. It is 2 km off the northwest tip of Panay island in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines. It comprises three barangays, namely Yapak in the north, Balabag in the middle and Manoc Manoc to the south. Boracay’s ecology is rich, as it houses lush tropical jungles and several beaches. The island is governed by the Philippine Tourism Authority and the provincial government of Aklan.
The word Boracay is said to have originated from many different terms. One story says that it is derived from the local word “borac” which means white cotton, it isn’t hard to fathom as to why, since Boracay’s sand is very comparable to the texture and color of cotton, soft and white. Another credits the name to native words “bora,” meaning bubbles, and “bocay,” meaning white. Yet another account dating back to the Spanish era says the name is derived from “sagay,” the word for shell, and “boray,” the word for seed and handled by Aklan province in Panay, became independent. Sofia Gonzales Tirol and her husband Lamberto Hontiveros Tirol, a town judge on nearby Panay island, took ownership of substantial properties on the island around 1900 and planted coconuts, fruit trees, and greenery on the island. Others followed the Tirols, and cultivation and development of the island gradually spread from this initial beginning.
Too Late The Hero
During the 1970s, the Film “Too Late the Hero ” had its setting in Boracay and Caticlan, afterwards, the island gradually became renowned. Although others maintain that the one that really let the secret out was German traveler Jens Peters’ book, which included crazed reviews of Boracay. Whichever story is true, it was around this time that Boracay island slowly ceased to be a private travelers hangout and eventually became a favorite tourist destination in the Philippines. During the ‘90s, Boracay’s beaches were being acclaimed as best in the world. In 2012 it was awarded as the best island in the world from the international travel magazine Travel + Leisure.
A place like Boracay is not bound to be humble and unknown. The island’s beauty and potential has become recognized worldwide. Many businessmen, local and foreign have established their refuge in Boracay and helped it become a thriving island that it is today. Hotels, restaurants and events increase annually. Although it is never going to be a very private and modest island that it once was; it is an island that gives advantage to the tourism in the Philippines. It opens opportunities to the Filipinos; and people from all over the globe keep coming back for more to experience Boracay’s timeless allure.