The quintessential tropical island. It was anyway, I don't know what it's like now. Click on the thumbnails to display a larger image.
|My primary reason for visiting the Philippines was to go to Boracay. There are 7,107 islands in the country and this is one of the most beautiful. It is very small and there is no airport. I flew to the larger neighbouring island of Panay from Manila and then got an outrigger boat across to Boracay.
Boracay is your classic tropical island, consisting of white sandy beaches and palm trees surrounded by clear, blue sea. It is not renowned for its scuba diving but I thought the diving was good and there is lots of variety including coral gardens, a fairly fast-flowing drift dive and the chance to see large pelagics at Yapak.
Since my 1997 visit I have heard that Boracay has undergone a lot of change as it has become more developed. This was always inevitable and I've seen the same thing happen repeatedly in Thailand. These paradises on earth don't last very long. For thousands of years they are only known to the locals who live there until the day they are 'discovered' by the outside world.
For a while there is a golden period when a decent infrastructure has been put in place as a result of development but when the hordes of tourists still haven't arrived. But after a while, as happened with Koh Samui and Koh Phi Phi etc. etc., the tourists start to arrive in their droves and what was once a quiet paradise is never the same again.
What is concerning is how quickly this has happened in only the last 30 years or so and how development is going ahead at a frantic pace with every regard for making money but little regard for the ecology. Clearly this rate of development is not sustainable.