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– The island of Boracay will be officially closed. Now, it was a shocking decision that was made roughly six months ago. They will close down one of the most well-visited and profitable islands in the entire Philippines. It was a business decision that would cost some nearly eight billion dollars. – But why?

– Now why would they do that? (upbeat music) The main reason it got shut down was basically this: Boracay, for the longest time, has been a place of tourism.

It has quickly boomed into what it is today, and a lot of the businesses were not complying with the regulations, such as disposal of sewage. One of the biggest issues was actually a little disgusting, was that they were just basically dumping their sewage directly onto the beaches that many of the tourists were also swimming in. – Eww.

– Yeah, “eww” was right. The president was actually quoted calling the island a cesspool. – Boracay is a cesspool. – His words, not mine. Now, I’ve been to Boracay, it’s beautiful.

Was it filthy? Yes, a little bit. It wasn’t the cleanest island. And so, to their credit, they actually ended up making a very tough decision to close the island down completely, 100% switching off the valve. No tourists are permitted inside of Boracay for the six-month period, to try to get it on the right track.

So Cathy and I, hello, we’re going to Boracay today to see if it was all worth it. Let’s see if the change has been real and significant. Never in my life have I missed a flight until right now.

(upbeat music) Well, well, well, fast forward a week and we are finally here in Boracay to give you an update on what’s new here. I’m super excited.

We actually just flew in here with Cebu Pacific. Typically, Cebu Pacific is my go-to way to travel the Philippines. It’s usually the most affordable. They even fly internationally, which is really cool (mumbles). But one piece of advice when using them, is make sure your carry-on is not overweight because they do like to weigh it.

First update is we’ve just landed in a brand-new airport. This is the new Boracay arrivals airport. The departures are still done in the old Caticlan airport. There’s only a couple of airlines that land in here, with Cebu Pacific being one of them. That’s one of the advantages to landing here because the other Boracay airport will probably take you about an hour and a half to get to the crossing area where you’ll have to take a boat.

So we still take a boat here, but we’re basically already there.

Big change number two. There is now a requirement that you have a booking at a hotel before you arrive on the island. So this is the form right here. We’re actually at the Coast, the hotel we’ll be staying at.

They have their own little private boarding area with their own private boat, but they are making me fill out the same form that you’d be filling out regardless of what hotel you stay at.

Now, what’s the implications of that? Really, it just means that if you’re a backpacker and you just plan to, like, stroll on to Boracay, kinda wander around, find a guest house, figure out what hostel you wanna stay at last minute, like I would typically do, you can’t do that. They will not let you on the island unless you have a confirmed booking from a hotel, a guest house, something of that sort, which is really interesting. Once you’ve filled out your form and you’re ready to go, I just realized they give you the mark of the beast.

This is verifying on it. It’s just basically saying that you’ve confirmed that you actually are staying in a hotel. So, if your hotel doesn’t include transportation to and from the island, then what you’ll be taking is the ferry. It runs fairly frequently, but I have heard that they’ve reduced the frequency with the re-opening of Boracay, so. – (mumbles) towel.

– Thank you very much. Coast guard requirement. We have five minutes to get there. We are back and quickly reminded why this place is so famous. It was always incredibly beautiful.

Blue water, the white sand is some of the best. I know I say that a lot, but it truly is, it’s some of the best. And the last transportation means one more car. So, we are now on the main road, and we’re seeing a ton of construction that’s going on. Basically, they’re building it so it’s two lanes wide, whereas before, it was one tiny, tiny lane, where everyone has to, like, sneak by each other.

It was absolutely chaotic if you ever had to go through Boracay. There’s a lot of construction going on here right now. And we are back at my favorite hotel in Boracay. Guys, this is the Coast. So happy to be back here.

It’s clean, it’s bright, it’s modern. We’re pretty much gonna go to bed now and tomorrow, we’ll show you around, to show you the new Boracay. Good morning, guys, and welcome to Day number one here in Boracay. I’m got my tourist shirt on, and I’m ready to share some information about the new Boracay, ’cause a lot has changed. The new rules state that there can’t be anything on the beach.

So there can’t be chairs. There can’t be any fences dividing properties. There can’t be lights on the trees. And so, that means that basically, if you’re gonna hang out by the beach, you just have that beautiful white sand and that blue, blue water.

There used to be tons and tons of lounge chairs all along this beach.

Now, there’s nothing. I think it’s actually a really nice thing, like I thought that the chairs were a total eyesore before. And there used to be so many vendors here trying to sell you day trips, trying to sell you, like, snacks and massages, and it was just really annoying. You come to a beach like this to relax, and it wasn’t really the experience last time. So, I think they’ve completely cleaned that up.

Speaking of cleaning up, this is what you see everywhere.

It had become a barefoot destination. You can walk anywhere barefoot now. – It’s very nice. Actually, you can see police.

Policeman’s everywhere. And I guess it’s to enforce that people don’t sell (mumbles) on the street. – And they’re truly cleaning up after everything. Even the leaves that fall from the palms, I see people just scooping it all up.

It’s just like immaculate right now.

It’s the perfect clean beach, and I’m surprised to see that. So my fellow sandcastle lovers out there, I have some bad news for you, because digging a sandcastle here in Boracay can now lead to a $50 fine, and not to mention there’s actually been some videos of police coming and knocking them down. Hopefully, that doesn’t happen here today. So, the water here is just about the cleanest I’ve seen. It’s so crystal clear, and there’s not a single bit of litter.

One of the really awesome new rules that they’ve implemented here is that there’s no smoking in Boracay at all.

I mean, there’s no more of those little cigarette butts getting everywhere. There’s also another rule, which is no drinking anymore in public. That’ll result in a cleaner environment, but, I don’t know if it’s all positive, because it’s definitely kind of nice to be able to walk around with a beer. That’s definitely a social atmosphere thing that I enjoy, but I guess it’s for the environment here, and that’s definitely the direction they’ve chosen with the new Boracay.

(upbeat music) Well, there is one last thing I have to warn you about the water if you’re in Boracay, that they have these really horrible leeches, and once they grab on to you, they just, it’s really hard to get off. – Yeah? – You either gotta use fire or salt. You know, I could talk about the facts of Boracay all day, but I’ve been to the (mumbles). I think the best way to show is just to show it for what it is.

A place to relax, amazing food. (squealing) (upbeat music) Since the changes, this is a truly world-class beach. Now, there’s one thing that didn’t change about Boracay and that is good food. (upbeat music) – I just got my shake and it remind me something that I have to tell you about Boracay. So they have (mumbles) here.

So they have single– – Single-use plastics. – Huh? – Single-use plastics. – Okay, single-use plastic. – Using water bottles.

– Okay. No straws and no bags, and a lot of (mumbles) are not using any more water bottles, which I think is fair because they contaminate the environment.

You get service water like this. – Now, there’s one thing the Philippines does better than any other country, and that is without a doubt their sunsets. Every single night, night after night, you can expect to see beautiful infernos, incredible clouds, and tonight is no exception.

We just finished up dinner at the Coast Restaurant and no more than 10 feet away, we are right on the beach, enjoying a world-class sunset. Tonight is a piece de resistance. (mellow music) It’s right here, it’s probably the biggest change that you will see here in Boracay. We went out last night. We walked down the main promenade behind the palm trees.

Basically, everything becomes pretty sleepy. Not only with Boracay one of the party capitals of the country, but they actually had a really big event called LaBoracay, which was typically leading up to, like, New Years and Christmas time.

Now that event has been completely closed this year. And I have a feeling they’re probably not planning to continue it ever again. It seems like the nightlife side of Boracay is something they’re trying to totally dissociate themselves with.

And I’m not sure it’s ever coming back. Hey, you over there, stop partying. What is Boracay gonna look like moving forward? Well, the future is definitely very uncertain. One thing that has been announced is they’re actually planning to implement e-vehicles, including cars and tricycles, to get people around the new main road they’re building.

So, this is definitely an interesting sustainability push that they’re making. They’re obviously investing real money into making this all happen. Maybe they’re trying to rebrand Boracay into this very sustainable island. It’s definitely an interesting push in the right direction. Now, here’s where things get interesting.

It’s actually been quoted by a few of the officials, that Boracay is actually just the first island that they plan to do this on.

There’s going to be many more island clean-ups coming. And so, I’m sure that has business owners all around the Philippines probably trembling in their shoes, because let’s face it, this is a scary thing to deal with. As a business owner, having your island completely shut down indefinitely is the last thing you want. Now, with that being said, they haven’t exactly said where it will be next, but based on my experience in the Philippines, there’s one place that immediately comes to mind and that is El Nido.

El Nido is just like Boracay in the sense that it was a tourism hub that grew up a little too quickly, it grew faster than the infrastructure could keep up with, and it definitely doesn’t seem as though most people are following code. I think a lot of pollutants are ending up right in the ocean.

And so, naturally, I can see that being the next place to be completely closed down. And to be honest, I would say, from an outsider’s perspective, it kind of needs it. El Nido went from being one of my favorites places in the world, to now being kind of a secondary recommendation.

The last time I went to El Nido, the lagoons were just overtaken by these neon orange kayaks, and it was a bit of a sore sight. But at the same time, I definitely think they’re gonna need some legislation, some rules to limit how many people are entering into these lagoons and viewpoints. Something needs to be done to protect the ecosystems. To this day right now, there’s over half of the hotels completely closed. They don’t have yet their permits.

The same goes for restaurants. Most of hem are still closed along the beachfront and inland. So, a lot of these business owners are really suffering right now. They’re not making any money.

They have huge overhead of rents.

Some of them are still paying employees. Now, the employees also suffered a lot. A lot of them that were working in businesses just like this one, had to go find work for that six-month period, not knowing exactly when Boracay would re-open. So, a lot of people went back to their home provinces.

They found temporary work, of course, making a lot less money than they would have made here.

For the local people that do call Boracay home, that have grown up here, well, they actually had a program in place where they could basically do beach clean-up. They went from making, on average, like 1,000 to 1,500 pesos a day to now making around 350 pesos a day. That’s just over $6 to do beach clean-up and other odd jobs to get the island ready. So, overall, a lot of people really suffered during these six months. Is it worth it in the long term?

That is to be decided, but I’m definitely excited about some of the new directions they’re taking. Alright, we are just checking out of one of my favorite hotels in the entire world. Bye-bye. Till next time. We’re leaving the Coast here.

Such an awesome stay. And this is kind of an interesting update, so, this morning, there was like all these helicopters circling really closely by. And I was like, that’s kind of odd, considering they’ve banned all like the water sport activities, like, what are the helicopters doing so close to the beachfront here? And so it turns out, that the same person that closed down this beach, this island, probably about eight months ago, is also the one who’s now visiting. President Duterte is currently here in Boracay.

And so it means we actually have to walk a little bit farther to get to our transport ’cause they have the entire main road closed, even more closed than it currently is.

So, that leads us to our final question. Who is Boracay for? Or at least the new Boracay. Well, in my opinion, it’s definitely no longer for those who wanna party.

And it’s probably not for people who are on a budget. Now, what that leaves you with is people that wanna relax by one of the world’s most beautiful beaches and one of the beaches that’s now being preserved better than, I would say, any island I’ve seen yet. It’s definitely an incredible place to come and relax.

It’s also not really for people that wanna have true Philippine adventures as you’ve probably seen a lot of on this channel. You do have a few boat trips available, or slowly becoming available, but Boracay is, for the most part, not the most adventurous island.

It’s a place I like to come and relax, have Internet, have good food, all the modern conveniences in a beautiful, beautiful island. If you wanted to come check it out, then I think now is a good time to do it while the tourism is still a little low. I’m definitely giving it a thumbs up. I like having less people here. Guys, if you’re new to the channel, hit that subscribe button, become part of the team Get Lost; take it a step further, hit the bell button so that you’re notified when the next video goes up.

And if you’re planning to come to the Philippines, I’ve got your entire Philippines trip totally planned out for you, from the best restaurants, best hotels, best viewpoints and secret places that most people don’t know about. It’s all inside this one travel guide. Check it out, it’s all linked down below and it’s completely free to try. I will see you next Saturday. Until then, let’s get lost again in the next one.


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