From Bohol we had to get back to Cebu on the ferry and fly out to Boracay. We were excited to see the area but also cautious because there had been many rumours about the island closing. We looked into this and couldn’t see concrete proof from sites, many saying that it was exaggerated. As soon as we got there we saw what was being whispered about.
There are many buildings being boarded up, with signs about demolition. Posters on nearly every business about Boracay being closed, the dates they have to get their business to comply with environmental protocols. People want the island to stay open but for businesses to clean up their act. The sewage of some hotels and restaurants is being pumped into the sea and their buildings are far too close to the beach. Landfills of mountains of rubbish are trying to be hidden from the main tourist area but the smell still comes through in certain places. The traffic is insanely busy for such a small island and even though they have tried to introduce electric TukTuks, there are many more bikes that give cheaper rates. We really hope that this island can come together to make vast changes to their environment, it would be devastating to see this beautiful place destroyed when it could be saved with awareness and forward thinking.
We stayed in the centre of the chaos of 2 nights. Our hotel was lovely and had the best place for breakfast included (can’t remember the name) we took a walk along the beach as the sun was setting. The bars, restaurants and tour companies constantly try to get you to stay at theirs, it’s something we’ve really had to adjust to. Either ignoring people completely, which doesn’t sit well with us or forever saying ‘No thank you’ millions of times over.
Emma thought we were staying here for the whole time in Boracay but there was a birthday surprise! After a huge sweaty walk to a different bay, Stu said he wanted to reserve a table at a restaurant he’d seen for Emma’s birthday coming up… We ended up walking through a very steep and random set of steps. It was confusing since everything can now be booked online! But the surprise for the birthday girl was 3 nights at the wonderful Diniview Villas! It’s an eco friendly set of villas that are so beautiful. The woman that owns them is a campaigner for the environment and has been on many panels and political groups to keep the island clean and to preserve the area for wildlife.
It was absolutely heaven, the whole place was perfect. There was a view straight to the bay and the surrounding trees. There was a surprise carrot cake with Happy Birthday written and 6 peanut butter and chocolate cupcakes! AMAZING! Also a bottle of prosecco that we shared watching the most perfect sunset. It was an incredible place to spend 3 nights and a birthday to celebrate. Shell villa had a huge open plan upstairs, with a kitchen and a veranda. the breeze and the fan were just enough to keep the sweat away. Downstairs we liked to call the fridge just because of the air con. The bedroom was spacious and beautiful. The bathroom was bigger than the hotel rooms we’d stayed in alone.
We didn’t do much more than sunbathe, eat, drink and go in the plunge pool. It was a bit of paradise and a different approach to Boracay. Thank you Stu for a slice of paradise! It was amazing!
So since we have left, the president of the Philippines has officially set to close the island at the end of April. We really hope that the island takes the closure seriously and makes amendments to keep the island environmentally friendly to restore it for years to come. If every business had the same view and approach as Diniviews then the island would be around for much longer and just generally be more pleasant all round.