Philippine's crown jewel resort island Boracay is reborn, but not all are glad

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte called Boracay a 'cesspool', a shocking label for the country's crown jewel resort island. He then closed the island to tourists for six months for a massive cleanup. When it was reopened in late October, there were fewer hotels and restaurants, a cap on the number of visitors and a stop to the dumping of raw sewage into the open sea. The Straits Times visited the holiday isle recently to gauge reactions to the changes.

It was something Boracay had not seen in a very long time. On Dec 31, just before 2019 rolled in, the island's main strip, known as White Beach, was dark and still - no fireworks, no parties, no campari-swigging revellers.

All that could be heard were the hum of the surf and the rustling of palm fronds as a gentle breeze swept through the groves.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 05, 2019, with the headline 'Boracay is reborn, but not all are glad'. Subscribe