boracay-foray_middle

Boracay is no paradise


A bora visitor wading into the emerald hued waters.

theLOOP Boracay This is the 15th and 2nd to the last installment of the Luzon – Visayas – Luzon Loop series. Click the image on the right to check out the rest of the posts.

“…NO. Its overhyped, too commer- cialized and a tourist trap. A huge one at that.” Well, I’m not really a beach person and when I do want to go to one, I do prefer the more rustic, less crowded and less developed shores. But will Boracay be an exception? During the 1 hour and a couple of minutes I was there, its a NO. Its overhyped. Its too commercialized. Its just one huge tourist trap. There are far more superior beaches in the country that travelers like me would find relaxing and enjoying.

Boracay is just too crowded. Thousands of people descending on a small island that you cannot have that spectacular view of the sea and sands without someone blocking the view. Other than the people, there are just too many small boats, pumpboats and bancas that are anchored at sea, a fixture in the horizon and even at the shores with their obligatory Asians queuing up to board for their dive.


Beyond Boracay’s sand and sea, its just a typical Filipino town center where real life thrives.

And can anyone forget about the touts, watch and shades sellers hawking with their glass topped boxes neatly lined with their merchandise suddenly and persistently egging you to buy? Or the man who walks up to you offering his boat for a cruise? Not to mention, the plethora of shops, eateries, henna tattoo shops and the usual overpriced souvenir items and trinkets that I just don’t find appealing.

But then, it was just an hour. Perhaps there is another facet that I might find within the island that may counterweight the negative impressions that I have.

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications.

He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces.

I’m open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.

30 Comments

  1. donG hO
    April 15, 2008 @ 13:32

    it surely is crowded. i don’t know if you have been to Calaguas already. never been there either but they say it’s a virgin islands in the Camarines area with pristine white sands. you might want to consider it in one of your trips.

  2. estan
    April 15, 2008 @ 13:37

    Dong, I’ve heard about that island and so they say about Caluya which is just near Boracay. There are still too many places to go, too little time πŸ™‚

  3. Sidney
    April 15, 2008 @ 21:20

    What about Boracay’s beach babes? πŸ˜‰

  4. tutubi
    April 15, 2008 @ 23:46

    too commercialized indeed. btw, my calaguas trip’s re-scheduled to may 1 -4 if you’re free on those dates πŸ˜›

  5. cedsaid
    April 16, 2008 @ 0:53

    We are going to Calaguas Apr 25-27! Woohoo!

  6. estan
    April 16, 2008 @ 6:02

    sidney, people watching is another thing πŸ™‚

    tutubi, cedsaid, wow, mauna na lang kayo guys. your accounts and photos will suffice for now πŸ™‚

  7. Ferdz
    April 17, 2008 @ 7:23

    Boracay’s not really a place for solitary travelers. It’s more of a party place island.

  8. estan
    April 17, 2008 @ 11:18

    you’re right Ferdz. Its a party place. πŸ™‚

  9. dodong flores
    April 22, 2008 @ 19:04

    I agree with Ferdz. We travel photographers share the same sentiments. That’s the reason over and over I was telling everybody who’s into travel that I prefer El Nido than that of Boracay…

  10. niki
    October 6, 2008 @ 12:30

    my friend and i are making this paper about how tourism in the country affected the lives of Indigenous Peoples. your blog was a great help. tnx.
    dom_Univ. of the Phils.-Baguio

  11. Top 10 things to do this summer, part 1 of 2 | langyaw
    March 25, 2009 @ 11:37

    […] Puerto Galera and Pagudpud in parties and raves. Here, you not only try to dodge other goers but touts and pesky vendors as […]

  12. Lantaw
    April 1, 2009 @ 13:07

    my wife’s been bugging me to take her there. gotta be strong, gotta be strong! HATE BORACAY! :D, hopefully I won’t give in and eat my words LOL!

  13. estan
    April 1, 2009 @ 17:51

    hahaha, lantaw, sometimes it’s so hard to resist wifey that you just have to swallow your words or bear a night out in the cold πŸ™‚ good luck though πŸ™‚

  14. caryn
    April 2, 2009 @ 13:55

    met a guy who told me that boracay was heaven on earth … he went more than 30 years ago. he said he didn’t want to go back because he wanted to preserve the image of a pristine boracay in his mind. i truly understand πŸ˜‰

  15. Oliver Oliveros
    April 8, 2009 @ 8:52

    I never enjoyed Boracay. It’s mainly for party people. =(

  16. Custom Designed Travel
    May 30, 2009 @ 4:42

    Well that doesn’t sound too enticing? The word “boracay” almost always pops up when searching for vacation spots in the Philippines. That’s too bad, although it really does look good in the pictures.

  17. Rene
    June 14, 2009 @ 20:37

    Not many people will like my suggestion but the only way Boracay can be kept pristine is to make it very expensive to go there by imposing very high taxes for out of town travelers. This way the community will have funds to keep the island environmentally safe.
    I’ve never been there though, I am an avid golfer how’s the golf course.

  18. Arvin
    September 23, 2009 @ 14:37

    after reading all your comments, I’m being convinced more not to try Boracay at all. I’d rather go to Palawan. Been there several times and I really loved it. Especially Coron. πŸ˜€

  19. Joyceee
    October 10, 2009 @ 15:06

    isn’t boracay’s waters not clean? i wanna go to boracay just for the sake of going (lol).
    arvin, i loved palawan! πŸ™‚ lots of nice beaches with less people.
    to the author: how about cagbalete? have you been there? well, i’ll search for it in ur blog na lang. πŸ˜€

  20. estan
    October 10, 2009 @ 21:27

    joycee, there was an issue of e. coli contamination sa boracay before but i’m not sure kung okay na ngayon. I still haven’t been to cagbalete. soon πŸ™‚

  21. nana
    November 4, 2009 @ 8:35

    I love Boracay and want to go there sometime!

  22. the beachbaby
    November 11, 2009 @ 9:04

    hi, i understand what makes you or anyone think this way about boracay. it is indeed crowded, commercialized and way too developed to remain how it once was, rustic and quiet.

    however it is still paradise. i’ve lived here for almost 5 years and sad as it may to see the commercialization of the island, there is something about boracay that remains intact. it’s the bohemian spirit that’s been here way before the shops and touts came. it lives on long after tourist season is over and us locals and travelers (not tourists) are left to enjoy what the island is all about.

    i wish i can tell you more, about the quiet places we go to and waters we swim in. but the best way is to really spend time on the island, preferably beyond an hour and 20. πŸ™‚

    we’ve started a blog recently wherein we hope to show images and snippets of island life and then some. do take time to visit it every now & then

    http://islaboheme.blogspot.com/2009/10/blog-post.html

  23. estan
    November 11, 2009 @ 17:15

    beachbaby,

    thanx for the comment. well, that was just my first impression and reading you talking about the real boracay made me want to spend and learn more bout your place. soon, i’ll spend some time there πŸ™‚

  24. Preparing for a Christmas bus trip to Cebu | langyaw
    December 24, 2009 @ 12:33

    […] days more and I’ll be off to my journey to Cebu by land and sea. And no, Boracay is not part of my […]

  25. En route: Makati to Cebu via Mindoro, Part 1 | langyaw
    January 19, 2010 @ 9:47

    […] It’s my third time to pass by Oriental Mindoro. The province is the main transit point between Luzon and the Visayas via two wharves: Calapan in the north and Roxas in the southeastern side. Really, for travels like this where reaching home is the goal, side trips are kept to a minimum and in the Mindoro leg of this trip, I had only one thing in mind, to arrive in Roxas in the evening in time for the 4 hour ferry ride to Caticlan which is the jump off point for Boracay. […]

  26. » My cozy room at Boracay Beach Resort | Langyaw: Sojourns and Off-the-Beaten Path Travels
    January 27, 2011 @ 18:23

    […] always looked at Boracay with suspicion, being one huge tourist trap that I don’t always like. However, having written an article in CNN Go last year, I might […]

  27. » I was wrong about Boracay! | Langyaw: Sojourns and Off-the-Beaten Path Travels
    February 18, 2011 @ 0:07

    […] admit it. I was wrong about Boracay and first impressions don’t always last. You see, my first time visit almost three years ago left a bad taste in my mouth. Now that I spent three days and three nights in this beach mecca, I […]

  28. » Doing it slow in the sands of Boracay | Langyaw: Sojourns and Off-the-Beaten Path Travels
    February 20, 2011 @ 17:28

    […] Boracay, having been invited to cover the funboard race event. But I have another image of Boracay, a tourist trap formed during an accidental foray in this island. That it caters mostly to the party and beach […]

  29. » En route, part 2: Caticlan leg derailed my trip | Langyaw: Sojourns and Off-the-Beaten Path Travels
    March 7, 2012 @ 23:58

    […] to Caticlan and after four hours, arrived in the almost deserted Caticlan terminal, main gateway to Boracay. The vans were waiting and, personally, as much as possible, I avoid these vehicles due to the […]

  30. » 12 reasons why I now like Boracay | Langyaw: Sojourns and Off-the-Beaten Path Travels
    May 27, 2012 @ 15:09

    […] the first time I was there, I got really disappointed. But over the last two years, I got to know more of the island and slowly appreciated its beauty […]

Tell me what you think