By Victor Jeffery
The past two years of Covid illnesses, lockdowns, as well as other restrictive policies, sorely took their toll on an unsuspecting and already struggling for recovery Boracay.
The six month closure to rehabilitate many of the Island’s long-standing problems caused many a hardship. But the community withstood the test because we knew that after six months, everything would open again.
That was unfortunately not the case with Covid. Initially we were told, “Go into lockdown for two weeks to flatten the curve”, and then all would be well…
Fast forward two years and we can reflect back upon the damage done to all sectors of our Island community.
What occurred was a tremendous amount of hardship; bankruptcies and business closures became a common occurrence. As did the rising numbers of cases of anxiety and depression, in some cases leading to suicidal attempts. Children suffered from poor education policies, and not being allowed normal social development needs, and the number of job losses hit all time new highs - not to mention some pretty ludicrous regulations imposed upon us all.
But the whole world was suffering, so our little Island did what it does best - we rallied together and looked after one another.
Food pantries sprung up everywhere, and regular donations from caring people and some friendly organizations kept families from going hungry. This continued month after month after…
Two Christmases were lost, and many birthdays passed without celebration. But still we continued on - always hoping that the flattened curve might one day straighten itself out.
And now we finally look around much of the world and see them learning to live alongside with Covid and dropping restrictions. Our own government introduced different Alert Levels which dictated what and what we couldn’t do. And although a huge improvement from blanket lockdowns, the yoyoing of them to and fro was frustrating, to say the least.
But an improvement indeed they are. Much of the country is now at Alert Level 1, which allows a great deal of freedom of travel. Something that tourism dependent Boracay relies greatly upon.
This week, April 1 to be precise, sees the country open up to foreign travel. Yes, that’s right, I thought at one time that we would be looking at Christmas 3 before any progress would be made.
So once again we’ll be greeting tourists from across the globe. Children of all nationalities will be allowed once more to frolic on our wonderful beaches, and lovers will flood to the Island to bask in our glorious sunsets.
Our workforce, some 30+ thousand, will once again be smiling at customers and doing what they craved to do for so long - take care once again of their own lives and families. Losing one's dignity was such an awful thing for so many to endure.
Gone will be the “closed” and “for rent” signs and Boracay is once more Open will fast become the order of the day.
Recent strides forward have been made in allowing some land titles to be applied for (a long standing problem for so many); the roads and pathways have been greatly improved; along with drainage and sewer problems being properly addressed.
Let’s hope that the soon to be elections can finally put to bed some of the Island’s past political problems, and Boracay, along with our wonderful community can finally say, Mabuhay!