On the second interagency meeting of the task force for the Boracay rehabilitation
, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu made a confirmation of the reopening of the island on October 26. If everything gets fast-tracked, it can even have a soft opening on an earlier date. However, not all establishments will be allowed to operate during the reopening, only those that are compliant to the environmental and local regulations .
This July, the temporary closure of Boracay will enter its third month. Anyone who visited Boracay will surely notice the difference the moment they come out of the port. Here’s a closer look of what has changed in the island in the first two months of government’s rehabilitation activities so far.
Wider main roads
One of the most evident developments on the island is the widening of main roads from Cagban Jetty Port to the main areas of the island. The clearing and demolition of structures within six meters from the center of the road on both sides is still ongoing, but majority of the work has already been done. A lot of businesses and residential areas along the road have been voluntarily dismantled by the owners themselves. Due to the ongoing demolition and renovation of some affected establishments, debris can be found everywhere .
By July 3, the Department of Public Works and Highways will also start the construction of the road and the drainage network along the main road. The goal is to finish at least five kilometers of the main road from Cagban until portions of Barangay Balabag. Congested traffic can be expected due to the construction.
New road network, too
Finally, the missing link to the circumferential road in Bulabog area has been constructed. The road network will serve as alternate route from the port to the Mt. Luho area. The road is expected to pull out the traffic along the main road as it can be an alternate route for those heading to Yapak. To give way for its construction though, a lot of beachfront businesses along Bulabog Beach and some residents have to level their structures. As of writing, road concreting on the area is still ongoing .
Less beach obstruction
Without the tourists, less crowded beaches is expected. During the closure, people on the island can now watch the sunset in peace.
With the implementation of the 25+5 beach easement rule in the island, a lot of resorts and business on the island has also removed their violating structures. With this, beachfront areas have lesser obstructions now. One notable difference is the absence of all restaurants, native benches and all the vendors at Puka Beach, located at the northernmost portion of the island. Majority of the establishments along the White Beach have been affected too. A number of them have removed their beachfront structures while others had to actually cut down a portion of their buildings .
Improved water quality
The water quality is crucial part why the island is closed. Thus, it is also one of the key indications for the island to be ready for reopening. The effort of the government, also through the help of the local stakeholders and the community is already bearing fruit. In recent media interviews, Cimatu has likewise confirmed that the water quality at the White Beach is already improving and is within safe standards. While a lot of work is yet to be done to clean the waters in Bulabog Beach, improvements on its water quality is also noted .
Less structure in wetlands
The restoration of the wetlands, which serve as natural catchment basin is also a priority. The task force has always highlighted that the biggest contributor to the dirty water of the island is the presence of illegal structures on its wetland. Thus, removal of some structures including boarding houses has been started, too. Structures surrounding Wetland No. 4, which is commonly known as Lake Town, was also removed. Among those removed are the pick-up areas of some private resorts in the island .
Also, less lively
Sans the tourists, life in the island also became less lively. Usually full of life, now the White Beach area is clouded in silence each night. Only a minimal of establishments remain open and also on limited operating hours only. With majority of the establishments closed during the rehabilitation, well it is really expected.
With the Boracay closure expectations demystified, what will be your contribution as tourist once this famed island reopens?