By Ellen Tordesillas
It’s only February and we are now feeling the beginning of summer.
It’s now time to look for budget offers from airlines and out-of-town hotels.
Boracay is a logical destination for us because our place in Antique is just three hours away by bus to the popular island.
A recent Facebook post by the peripatetic Teddy Montelibano on Boracay on the plan of San Miguel Corporation to develop Boracay makes it compelling for us enjoy Boracay now.
Teddy’s post was from the FB page of the province of Aklan boasting of the “Country’s biggest hotel and coliseum to rise at Boracay Airport Complex.”
The project which had no less than President Aquino as guest when the renovated Caticlan airport was inaugurated in June last year is to be undertaken by TransAire Development Holdings Corp., a subsidiary of San Miguel Corp.
The official release said: “Once the Boracay Airport complex spanning Caticlan and Nabas in Aklan becomes fully operational over the next few years, some of its structures will set Philippine records for sheer size. And for environmental friendliness.
“The most imposing structure in this $300 million airport complex will be its mammoth 5,000 room budget-hotel. When completed, this hotel will be the largest budget hotel in the Philippines. It will also be the largest hotel in the country, and probably in all of Southeast Asia…
“Room rates at the budget-hotel are expected to range from P1,000 to P2,000 per night. The rates compare favorably to budget room rates on Boracay and are, therefore, clearly affordable for inbound tourists. The budget-hotel is intended to help decongest Boracay, which will be flooded with about a million tourists this year and probably up to three million in the next few years…
“The planned dome-shaped convention center will be able to seat up to 25,000 persons, or 10,000 more persons that the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City in Metro Manila. It will become both the country’s largest convention center and its biggest indoor arena.
“The new terminal building will be the ‘greenest’ terminal building in the Philippines. Its large windows will allow the free flow of fresh air throughout the building thereby reducing the need for massive air conditioning.
“It will derive part of its electricity from solar panels; will install a rainwater collection system and will have its own wastewater treatment plant.”
I seriously doubt the viability of 5,000-room budget hotel in Caticlan where one has to take a ferry boat to go to beach. But that’s Ramon Ang’s concern.
I’m more concerned about the impact of thousands more tourists in an already over-burdened and much-abused island.
Writer Clinton Palanca did his math and gave us a scary scenario of Boracay if that behemoth of a hotel project succeeds: “ If the 5000 rooms are filled with two persons each, that's 10,000 people plus those staying at hotels in Boracay. White Beach is 3.5 kilometers long. If these people did nothing but sit on the beach, they would be two deep in a space half a meter wide per person.”
Teddy Montelibano painted a scarier picture: “They'd all have breakfast in Caticlan then go across Boracay and, like meerkats in the Life of Pi, cover the entire length of White Beach, from north to south.”
The project is expected to be completed in 2015. We have only two years to enjoy what remains of the once- splendid Boracay.
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