Boracay in Danger of Collapse After the Discovery of 815 Sinkholes, Says the DENR

The agency recommends abiding by the prescribed carrying capacity of the island.

Sinkholes have reportedly been found in a few barangays in Boracay—815 of them, actually. This has prompted the Mines and Geosciences Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (MGB-DENR) to warn of the island's possible overcapacity in the near future.

“Sinkholes are land depressions due to the removal of support underneath due to earthquake, or due to the lowering of the ground waters. These sinkholes are not found in other types of rocks but exclusively in limestone areas,” explained MGB Geosciences Division Chief Mae Magarzo.

As an island made of limestone, Boracay's chemical composition, calcium carbonate, slowly melts when it is exposed to acid over time. This creates sinkholes. In 2018, the Karst Subsidence Hazard Mapping report found at least 789 sinkholes in the island, 801 in 2019, 814 in 2020. Now it's uncovered 815 across three barangays from 2021 to 2022.


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The most dangerous thing about sinkholes is that they are undetectable, unpredictable, and can appear just about anywhere. “That is why we want carrying capacity be observed because as you could see in our geo-hazard map in Karst Subsidence, almost all are highly susceptible,” Magarzo added. The agency has also recommended property owners whose structures stand on limestone assess their structures' weight.

Another study conducted by the DENR–Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau reported that the carrying capacity of the island is at 19,215 people or 6,405 arrivals a day for three-day stays. Now, the body is suggesting that the ideal arrival capacity should only be at 6,085.


Meanwhile, the population-carrying capacity for the island is said to have exceeded by 15,836 a day. Stronger implementation of the prescribed carrying capacity is a must, according to Magarzo.

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