Boracay Now

7:12 AM Saturday, July 18, 2009

The first time I went to Boracay was 2001, I think. Then I went again in 2003. Back then, the original talipapa where souvenirs were sold was not yet burned down, and it was the same marketplace where you can buy seafood and have local carinderias cook it according to your preference.

Back then, buffets weren't that popular. But yes, eating in restos along or near the beach will cost you. Even then, lobsters were what the locals used to entice foreign travellers. And there was no real road then, just a main street that was usually flooded in some areas and holed in some areas. And the only franchised establishment then was Friday's, located by its lonesome at the end of White Beach.

Now, it's a more commercial place than ever. I actually don't get why they wouldn't allow Jollibee to set up shop there since there's Yellow Cab, Starbucks, Andok's (5 restos!), Mang Inasal, FIC, etc. already competing with the local restaurants. And there is a major road now instead of just a street. And the buildings are many and sometimes immense, with nary a system or tastefulness to the grand design. And the locals are being pushed to smaller and smaller living quarters to make way for family-run room accommodations.

And the flooding is actually bad. Then again, it's been raining for over a week now here. But still, all those buildings being built have resulted in a drainage problem.

There are even two international schools here now, because foreigners have settled here. Some have married locals so it's also not surprising to see foreign-looking kids speaking a mix of Tagalog and Bisaya. And there's a homeschooling org here also. And then there are at least three major shopping areas for souvenirs (the original talipapa, D'Talipapa and D'Mall). And there are so many buffets now to choose from, as well as so many spas and massage places. There are still massage offerings right on the beach but they're not that many anymore as most have moved to buildings.

In a way, I am really more saddened with all this progress. I just think things could have been kept simpler as more people settled here. I was hoping some degree of consideration for what makes Boracay wonderful was made.

But of course, it's still very wonderful here. Eventhough it's raining like hell for days and I was caught in what felt like a storm at sea with a toddler in my arms yesterday. How could Boracay be anything else?


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