Last time I was in Boracay was November of 2005. It was a family trip. Back then, the place was already a bit crowded but not as much as it is now. There were fewer hotels, the boats still dock at the 3 stations, and Jonah’s is still by the beach.
The first time I went to Boracay was in the late 90’s. I was totally smitten. It wasn’t crowded and even the non-beachfront resort we stayed in was surrounded by white sand. After a couple of visits, it has lost its appeal.
I’m not really a night person, so the thriving night life was never a strong selling point for me. I prefer to have aquiet commune with nature which Boracay, sadly, doesn’t offer anymore. It was far from quiet, and the hotels sprouting everywhere is taking so much from its natural beauty.
Back in the day, the boats deposit guests in one of the three stations nearest the hotel you are booked in. Then it’s just a short walk to the hotel, eliminating the need for motorized vehicles. The number of tourists then was only a fraction of where it is now, so the number of boats docking on shore was not really an issue. With the influx of tourists, more boats are coming to shore, crowding the white sand beach that should be for the enjoyment of island visitors. As a solution, there is now a central boat station, a pier, where all guests will first set their foot in. It’s quite a distance from the hotels so the need for motorized transport sky rocketed. Boracay Regency alone must have at least 10 vans to accommodate the hundreds of guests that come daily.
So, did I have a good time? Of course I did! Taking an early morning walk when most of the vacationing guests are still in hybernation, perhaps recuperating from the previous night’s party, almost brought me back to the old Boracay where the long stretch of white sand that is glimerring from the early morning sun is almost deserted. It afforded me a few minutes of peace and quiet, a bit of time to appreciate the beauty of God’s creation, and a moment to take a breath of fresh air and take in my surroundings. Then the island will wake up and pour out the crowd into the beach in search of good coffee. That would be my cue to walk back to the hotel and have breakfast (in a crowded buffet).
Will I come back? Probably not at my own expense. I’d rather spend my travel money in a less developed island destination where I can have my quiet time in the midst of nature’s beauty. Unless I’ll be staying in Shangrila Hotel, in a luxury villa, away from the maddening crowd. Then maybe, just maybe, I’ll go back to Boracay again.
Some photos from the trip…