Bleak days in Boracay as residents, workers bid island goodbye ahead of 6-month closure

As the island paradise of Boracay shuts down for a six-month cleanup, The Straits Times finds out how its residents and businesses are bracing themselves for leaner days ahead.
The government is closing Boracay on April 26 for a six-month cleanup meant to save the once idyllic island from ruin.
The government is closing Boracay on April 26 for a six-month cleanup meant to save the once idyllic island from ruin. ST PHOTO: CRISTINA MENINA FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
The government is closing Boracay on April 26 for a six-month cleanup meant to save the once idyllic island from ruin.
The government is closing Boracay on April 26 for a six-month cleanup meant to save the once idyllic island from ruin. ST PHOTO: CRISTINA MENINA FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Ms Mardy Bendol, 31, inside her store where she resells used clothes and dry goods. The six-month closure of Boracay is seen displacing over 36,000 workers and others who depend on the 2 million tourists who come to the island each year.
Ms Mardy Bendol, 31, inside her store where she resells used clothes and dry goods. The six-month closure of Boracay is seen displacing over 36,000 workers and others who depend on the 2 million tourists who come to the island each year.PHOTO: CRISTINA MENINA FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Those living and working in Boracay insist closing the entire island for six months had been an abrupt decision.
Those living and working in Boracay insist closing the entire island for six months had been an abrupt decision.PHOTO: CRISTINA MENINA FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

BORACAY ISLAND - In all the years she has lived in Boracay, Ms Rebecca Baco has not seen days as bleak as those she is seeing now.

"It's the worst I've seen yet. It's like a super-typhoon hit us," said Ms Baco, 21, who makes a living selling grilled food along what used to be a busy strip on White Beach.

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