Boracay History: Recalling its past, revealing its secrets, telling the world, rewriting history, telling the world
Malay, Aklan, Philippines
The Republic of the Philippines, to give it its official title, is made up
of 7,107 islands, although the majority of its almost 98 million population lives on just 11 of those islands. The country is divided into the three main geographical divisions of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
The Luzon group of islands includes Luzon itself, the largest island and
home to the capital city, Manila. The next largest island is Mindanao,
which lends its name to the group of islands also including the Sulu
Archipelago. The Visayas division is a group of several small islands
including Panay, Bohol and Negros.
In Panay is the famous Boracay Island. Boracay Island is located off the
northwest corner of Panayin Region VI 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. The name Boracay has various rumored origins. One of which was that it is drived from the local word of borac or sagay which means cotton in reference to the white cotton like colour and texture of Boracays sand.
The Native Islanders and Ati lived together in harmony in the island. The
Ati are the indigenous people of Boracay, being the first settlers and were
farmers and fishermen.
Fishing , Copra and Tobacco (first class products believed to have been
introduced and propagated by the "Greener of Boracay". Dona Sofing and
traded on the nearby mainland of Aklan ) were the main trades of the
island. It was only in the late 70's when the main income of the island
changed to tourism when tourists started to arrive.
It is often told that Boracay Beach has a shaded and uncertain past. This
is because the island in the early 1900's was just one private home of the
Ati, the islanders and a couple belonging to one of the prominent families
in Aklan. They were considered to be the original settlers of the island.
It all began when Lamberto H. Tirol and Sofia Ner Gonzales settled in the
island. They lived among the islanders. There weren't too many people that time so that life was simple. As fishing was the main livelihood, the
couple began to cultivate the land, planted millions of trees and plants.
Even upon the demise of Don Lamberto H. Tirol, cultivation continued,
progressed, and trade continually existed under the watch of the young
widow Dona Sofia Ner Gonzales vda. de Tirol. It was to this contribution
that she gained recognition as the "Woman behind the greening of Boracay Island".
A large portion of Boracay is state - owned, except for the lots of
Lamberto H. Tirol and Sofia Ner Gonzales, along with the others like
Ciriaco Tirol and other Aklan-rooted kin who were able to obtained land
titles over portions of the island in the early pre-war years. Among the
private owners are the heirs of Don Lamberto H. Tirol and Sofia Ner
Gonzales, the heirs of Don Ciriaco Tirol, the Elizalde, Carpio, Andan,
Solidum, Dignos, Sarabia, Menez, Kimpo, Dimacali, Tan, Marte, and Rojo.
Recent Supreme Court pronouncement upheld the State's ownership saved in the cases of the Tirol Family of Aklan and their predecessors in interests whose rights are preferred . Various government agencies vowed to protect and preserve boracay. We believe that is likewise the sentiments of the inhabitants of the island.
Sofia would have wanted the island to stay as it was, with millions of trees resting peacefully and happily on white sugar-coated sands of the island, with few joyous people relaxing by watching the calm and serene blue ocean touching the blue heavens... But times changed and the rest had to change with time. Some of its secrets are now in the open. Its privacy may have been lost with the deluge of visitors it attracts every year, but it doesn't seem to matter. People from all over the world continue to flock to its brilliant powdery white sands and shores and aquamarine waters.
Boracay's first visitors were mainly Europeans - German tourists, and the
Swiss even jokingly called Boracay a 'Canton of Switzerland' or so we
heard. Eventually, more foreigners visit the island which contributed to
the multicultural facets of Boracay's culinary choices and the island's
further development in terms of accommodation, activities, and eating.
Nowadays, Boracay is not a private and unspoilt paradise like it used to be under the watch of Dona Sofing, but a major tourist and holiday destination for the Philippines.
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