The first time I went to Boracay was in 1977. At that time, there were only about four resthouses on the island (so far as I know) – the Marcoses, the governor of Romblon’s, Aguirre’s and Willy’s. My uncle knew the Aguirres having served in Malay town as their priest back in the 1940s. When we were there at that time, Malay was a very poor town, the church that my uncle built was still being used and the offerings given by the townspeople to the church consisted of produce. The person who brought us to Boracay on a banca recalled a time when, he said, an Ilio from Manila taught them how to play basketball – that was my father who was visiting the priest, his brother. The caretaker of Aguirre’s house on the island also told me that a certain Miss Yerro from Malinao used to teach in Argao, a barrio of Malay. That certain Miss Yerro was my mother.
I have visited Boracay several times over the years and saw its decline into unrestrained development. This time however, I went after a six months hiatus from tourists – they particularly cleaned up the beachfront, close to how it was in the early 80s. The interior areas however, the areas that tourists don’t normally see, are dismal with constructions going on everywhere – makeshift structures or official structures, they are all over the place. No wonder there was flooding just after we left.
It is still paradise though, the beach areas, as you can see in the following pictures. I only went to White Beach, parked myself in Station 3, hired a masseuse for a luxurious two-hour massage and that’s it. Didn’t need anything more.