If you’re planning to take a car or any four-wheel drive to Boracay, make sure it’s white because the island has a white-cars only policy.
Motoring aficionado Reph Bangsil pointed this out recently to ANCX when we met at an inter-island media familiarization tour organized by the Philippine Airlines and the Tourism Promotions Board. Our first stop happened to be Boracay, one of the world’s most famous beach destinations.
Actually, Reph already posted about the white car rule on TikTok late last year when he had the chance to drive from Manila to Boracay and discovered the curious policy himself. In the video, he showed different four-wheeled vehicles parked on the island, all in white. Except for a firetruck, of course, which is naturally painted red.
The ruling is actually on paper. If you click on this malay.gov.ph link, you will find Municipal Ordinance No. 142-2001 which is aimed at regulating entry and operation of motorized vehicles in the island. Under Section 2, Rules and Regulations, it’s stated that “All four or more wheeled vehicles shall be painted with white color.” It was signed on October 2, 2001.
The ordinance does not mention the reason for the rule though. So we asked Cesar Oczon Jr., municipality of Malay, Aklan’s Senior Transportation Regulation Officer, if he knew the rationale behind the preference for white cars. He told us he was not with the local government at the time the ordinance was deliberated on and signed—but it could be to reflect Boracay’s image of a pristine paradise.
Or, if you ask us, it could be because the LGU wanted the vehicles on the island to have a clean, uniform look, using a color close to that of the beach’s world famous sand.
Since people in Boracay mostly move around on foot or via tricycles (which can freely roam around sporting any color), and very few people bring their cars to the island anyway, many are not aware of this 21-year-old rule—including restaurateur Nowie Potentiano (Sunny Side Cafe, Spicebird) who’s been living in the island for 17 years.
“Tbh I only heard about that today 😅😅😅,” he answered on Messenger when we asked if he knew about this ordinance. “But I guess most cars here nga are white? Strange. I never noticed 😅”
Vince Pornelos, editor-in-chief of motoring website Autoindustriya.com, had a firsthand experience testing the white car rule, as per a video he published on YouTube in November. He had to leave the gray Nissan Terra he was driving in Caticlan because he was told only white vehicles are allowed in Boracay.
ANCX spoke to a few e-trike drivers on the island and they are aware of the ordinance. This photo published on the DPWH website in 2019 is also proof of the island’s white car only rule.
Meanwhile, some commenters on Reph Bangsil’s TikTok are laughing off his post saying they get away with driving their non-white cars on the island, or have seen colored cars around. According to Oczon, a new ordinance has been signed that said a special permit can be secured for non-white government vehicles which would be in the island for a short duration. But all four- or six-wheeled vehicles, as well as vehicles used by hotels, resorts for service and delivery should still be colored white and should have a company name imprinted on it. Once caught, violators should be ready to pay the fine of P2,500.