Travel

Photos: Here's What Boracay's White Beach Looks Like Now

Lots of closed businesses, but still plenty of beautiful things to see and experience.
IMAGE PJ Caña
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In case you were wondering, Boracay still looks beautiful. The sand is still white, the coconut trees still sway in the breeze, and the waves still gently lap the beach. 

But one of the country’s top tourist destinations has been ravaged by the pandemic, perhaps moreso than any other in the country. The Department of Tourism recorded over two million visitors to Boracay in 2019. After an extended shutdown due to quarantine restrictions and a gradual reopening with strict health protocols, the number was down 83.5 percent to only 334,455 tourists by the end of 2020.

But there are signs of a resurgence. A Philstar report said 16,487 tourists visited Boracay in February 2021. That’s an 84 percent drop from the 103,834 that was recorded during the same month in 2020, but it’s still the highest number recorded since the island reopened to tourists in June 2020.

“There are indications that Boracay is picking up gradually,” Tourism Congress of the Philippines president Jose Clemente III told Philstar.com. “Resorts are posting consistent numbers. Of course, it is still a far cry from what the arrivals were before but at least we’re seeing some activity.”

Esquire Philippines visited Boracay in July and took these snapshots. The effect on businesses is undeniable, with many beachfront resorts and restaurants that once lined the world-famous strip of white sand beach now shuttered. 

If you’re comfortable traveling during these weird times, consider visiting Boracay, whose hotels, resorts, restaurants, shops and other ancillary businesses are still fighting hard for survival.

A popular casual food chain, now closed

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Another popular coffee chain is also now closed

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Another shuttered business

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Hair braiding in front of a closed resort

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This restaurant is open but has a sand guard

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Thin lunchtime crowd at D'Mall

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Closed shops at D'Mall are a common sight

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Some shops are still open, however

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D'Mall, which used to be a place crawling with tourists, is now quiet 

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The tiny Ferris Wheel now looks abandoned

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Because of the liquor ban, many businesses have started offering "mocktails"

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More closed shops in D'Mall

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But some shops are still struggling to remain open

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A masked tourist walks past a row of closed shops in D'Mall

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An e-trike rolls past the Boracay sign along the main road

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Another closed coffee shop along White Beach

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The beach itself is still as pristine and blinding white as ever

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Locals hang out in front of a closed resort in Station 2

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A closed place of business near Station 1

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A huge resort and restaurant along Station 1

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A closer look at Superman guarding the closed property

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One of the most popular bars in Station 1, Club Paraw, remains open

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A row of abandoned and crumbling buildings in Station 1

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Boats parked in front of another dilapidated building in Station 1

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More crumbling buildings in Station 1

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Ready for demolition

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More boats parked in front of a closed resort in Station 1

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A huge three-story building on Station 1

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The White Beach branch of a popular Manila-based fast-food chain, closed

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Another popular fast casual restaurant, also closed
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Boracay's world-famous sunset are still spectacular

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Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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