Boracay’s Temporary Closure Issue: All the Things You Need to Know

Read why Boracay is currently closed, and what this means for its future.

By: Karen Bermejo | April 28, 2018
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Boracay closure issue

This sight won’t be seen by tourists for six months.

As a world-famous tourist destination, the news about the Boracay closure issue made the headlines on both local and international media portals. Those who frequent Boracay now are now in a fuss: what’s going on in Boracay, and what are people doing about it?

Beginning April 26, one of the top tourism destinations in the country will be closed to tourists for six months in order to give way for its rehabilitation.

The decision to temporarily close down Boracay Island was called by President Rodrigo Duterte last April 4. It was based on the recommendation by the interagency for Boracay, including the Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Tourism and Department of Environment and Natural Resources, to use the period to restore Boracay to its former beauty. The three agencies were tasked to address the environmental problems plaguing the island after Duterte tagged Boracay as a “cesspool” in a statement made last February.

The closure is expected to affect around 36,000 workers, according to the Local Government Unit of Malay. Closing off the island to visitors is also expected to hurt the country’s tourism industry, considering the volume of tourists that Boracay is logging in. In fact, in 2017, the island catered to more than 2.1 million tourists, a proof that it is indeed a main driver of the country’s tourism.


The closure aims to address the environmental problems plaguing the island brought about by the continued developments and its ever-increasing number of tourists. Particularly, the six-month rehabilitation will focus on clearing the island’s drainage system, removing illegal structures on its forestland and wetlands, demolishing structures encroaching beach easements, and resuming road-widening projects. To fast-track the demolition and construction works in implementing these projects, tourists will be provisionally banned from entering and staying on the island.

During the shutdown, no local and foreign tourists will be allowed in the 1,032 hectare island. Only residents and workers from Boracay’s three villages—Manocmanoc, Balabag, and Yapak—will be allowed to enter. To prove their residency, they must show their IDs upon entering the port. Visitors of island residents will be allowed to enter, but only under emergency situations.

Swimming will also be prohibited anywhere around the island, except in Angol Beach in Station 3. Residents will only be allowed to swim from 6:00 AM to 5:00 PM. One entry-one exit rule will also be implemented while the island remains closed off.


Following the announcement, airlines were compelled to cancel some of their domestic and international flights to Kalibo and Caticlan and adjust their routes. Airlines have also waived their rebooking and cancellation fees for visitors already booked to this destination. Guests who have booked hotels prior to the announcement are also given full refunds.

To ensure the safety and order during the closure, at least 610 police officers have been deployed to Boracay since the second week of April. Aside from police force, other security forces will also be assigned there.

Actions done

Before the start of the closure, rehabilitation works were already rolling since February. Drainage lines have been dug open to check on illegal connections. Some businesses whose buildings and structures were within the beach easement, as well as those encroaching the road easement, have already taken it upon themselves to demolish their site. Establishments found violating any environmental and local laws have also been ordered to cease operations.

If all these actions that both the government and the private sector comes to fruition, then the problems cited might be solved faster, and the island reopened sooner. More than the issue of tourism, the issue of maintenance for the environment’s sake should of prime importance. Thus, everyone is hoped to cooperate, so that Boracay is restored to its well-known glory, and local businesses resume their livelihood as soon as possible.
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About Karen Bermejo
Karen writes to earn a living, tell stories and promote her advocacies. She’s a traveler and a volunteer. Her adventurous soul makes her more comfortable to sleep on the couch of a stranger than pay bucks for accommodation. Her ultimate dream is to travel the world, master a foreign language and learn how to swim. To keep her sanity while chasing her dreams, she chases waterfalls on weekends.
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Disclaimer: All articles in the Consumers Magazine of Yoorekka are for general information and entertainment purposes only. Although careful research has been made in writing them, Yoorekka does not make any warranty about the completeness and accuracy of all information presented in our articles. Our content is not intended to be used in place of legal, medical, or any professional advice.
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