Boracay can serve as 'engine' for Aklan tourism: urban planner

Ivy Jean Vibar, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 29 2019 11:31 AM | Updated as of Apr 29 2019 12:58 PM

Local and foreign tourists crowd Boracay months after its reopening. Ivy Jean Vibar, ABS-CBN News

BORACAY -- Tourism development on this island, which emerged from a 6-month long cleanup, can be sustainable if it spreads to the entire province of Aklan, an urban planner said.

Boracay can serve as an "engine" to fuel development in other potential tourism spots like the mountains of Caticlan, said Ron Miranda, president of architecture firm 260INC. and an architect specializing in urban design.

"Hindi lang naman dito beach lang (It's not just beaches here)," he told ABS-CBN News on the sidelines of a forum on sustainability and green architecture.

"You need to have some kind of master plan...Our best resource is the people and our land," he said.

Metro Manila is being decongested "inadvertently," with developments sprouting outside city centers, he said.

"It's like you having a small house. You can't get rid of it, so you get another house," he said.

"We have so many islands. We just have to educate people about our environment and how we should love our God-given resources," he said.

During his talk with architects on Saturday, he cited Ha Long Bay in Vietnam as a good example of a place with sustainable architecture, with green elements merged with the place's existing structures. It also has a good tourism plan, with elements that are "good for all nationalities."

However, green development takes time, and needs proper planning, he said.

"This whole Ha Long development took 10 years... mabilis na nga ito...You need a land use plan, to connect tourism with architecture," he said.

After Boracay was reopened in October from a 6-month long closure, the Department of Tourism limited visitors to 19,000 a day on top of 15,000 workers to keep to its 55,000 carrying capacity.

This year a "Love Boracay" festival was staged on the island to celebrate sustainable tourism, a far cry from the "LaBoracay" fetes of past years which featured Ibiza-style parties on the beach.