History & Geography
Boracay is a tropical island located approximately 315km (200 miles) south of Manila and 2km off the northwest tip of the island of Panay in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines. It is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. The island comprises the barangays of Manoc-Manoc, Balabag, and Yapak (3 of the 17 barangays which make up the municipality of Malay.
Boracay Island is located off the northwest corner of the island of Panay, and belongs to the Western Visayas island-group, or Region 6, of the Philippines. The island is approximately seven kilometers long, dog-bone shaped with the narrowest spot being less than one kilometer wide, and has a total land area of 10.32 square kilometers. South-facing Cagban Beach is located across a small strait from the jetty port at Caticlan on Panay island, and the Cagban jetty port serves as Boracay’s main entry and exit point during most of the year. When wind and sea conditions dictate, east-facing Tambisaan Beach serves as an alternative entry and exit point.
Boracay’s two primary tourism beaches, White Beach and Bulabog Beach, are located on opposite sides of the island’s narrow central area. White Beach faces westwards and Bulabog Beach faces eastwards. The island also has several other beaches.
White Beach is the main tourism beach. It is a bit over four kilometers long and is lined with resorts, hotels, lodging houses, restaurants, and other tourism-related businesses. In the central portion, for about two kilometers, there is a footpath known as the Beachfront Path separating the beach itself from the establishments located along it.
North and south of the Beachfront Path, beachfront establishments do literally front along the beach itself. In past years, Boracay entry and exit was done through three boat stations located along the Beachfront Path, but that practice was discontinued in 2007 in favor of the single-point entry and exit mentioned above. Several roads and paths connect the Beachfront Path with Boracay’s Main Road, a vehicular road which runs the length of the island. At the extreme northern end of White Beach, a footpath runs around the headland there and connects White Beach with Diniwid Beach.
Across the island from White Beach is Bulabog Beach, a secondary tourism beach and Boracay’s main windsurfing and kiteboarding area.
For Land Use and Management, the island of Boracay is divided into 400 hectares of preserved forestland and 628.96 hectares of agricultural land.
Boracay was then called “Land of the Atis” because the first settlers of the island are the Negritos or Atis. The Negritos farmed and fished in Boracay for centuries. During the 1940′s and 1950′s, the Boracaynons or the people of Boracay, depended largely on fishing and coconut plantation. Copra, the dried meat of coconut, was traded to businessmen from Aklan in exchange for rice and other goods and commodities.
In the 1960′s and 1970′s, Boracay became popular among families from Panay. When a German writer published a book about the Philippines in 1978, describing Boracay history and the beautiful island in details, the island was introduced to the world. This mark the beginning of tourist “boom” with tourist.
Since then, The onset of tourism changed Boracay completely. As word of its exceptional beauty–specifically the immaculate white sands of White Beach spread, tourists began arriving.
Suddenly, from a sleepy, sparsely populated island, Boracay was transformed into a major destination on the international travel circuit. Whether the change was for the better or worse is an open question, but it was certainly a turning point in the history of Boracay Island.