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No fun vacation in popular beach resort

/ 01:52 AM February 06, 2012

My trip to Boracay was a gift from my visiting nieces who coaxed me to join them island-hopping—not my idea of fun—on a motorized boat for hire on the beach. The waves were unpredictable, sometimes calm, but sometimes high and angry. Our only life-saving gears were the safety vests which served as jackets against splashing waves.

The two boatmen and their pilot were topless natives who I presumed must be expert swimmers, but whether they were trained in saving drowning people is another story. The men did not carry any cell phones for emergency or SOS calls. To our surprise, our boat could not dock at Crystal Cove because there was no available slot. Meaning: there was no coordination between the Crystal Cove authorities and tourist boat operators; and should any boat capsize, only God’s hand could pluck us from going down the sea. Thank God, we made it to Crystal Cove, but no thanks to the boat operators and island authorities. Sight-seeing on a motorized boat is no fun in Boracay.

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Suggestion: If we want more visitors to Boracay and other islands, tourism authorities should assign patrol boats to guide and assist tourist boats whether in distress or not. There ought to be a regular maritime weather advisory for the information of the boat-riding public.

How are the waves? “Kung minsan ho OK, kung minsan po mataas,” goes the answer of a local resident. My first-hand experience told me that no communication whatsoever exists between the authorities on the islands to be visited and the boat operators. Boating and docking depend mainly on the natives’ skill and experience.

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A capsizing boat in the middle of the deep blue sea is not fun. It seems to me that technology has not visited Boracay’s interisland sight-seeing industry. Besides, these tourist boats that are docked on the mainland need a make-over and look like they need close regular maintenance.

Finally, the Kalibo airport is a pity with only one narrow landing strip.

No wonder planes that can easily take off from Manila can hardly touch down in Kalibo due to the traffic congestion. The result: two hours of delay in one’s hectic vacation. No fun at all.

—POMPEYO S. PEDROCHE, [email protected]

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TAGS: Boracay, Public Safety, Tourism
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