Boracay was originally home to the Ati tribe. Boracay is part of Aklan Province, which became an independent province on April 25, 1956.
Sofia Gonzales Tirol and her husband Lamberto Hontiveros Tirol, a town judge on nearby Panay island, took ownership of substantial properties on the island around 1900 and planted coconuts, fruit trees, and greenery on the island. Others followed the Tirols, and cultivation and development of the island gradually spread from this initial beginning.
Tourism came to the island beginning in about the 1970s. The movie Too Late the Hero was filmed in 1970 on locations in Boracay and Caticlan. In the 1980s, the island became popular as a budget destination for backpackers, By the 1990s, Boracay's beaches were being acclaimed as the best in the world. In 2012, the Philippine Department of Tourismreported that Boracay had been named the world's second best beach after Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
In 2012, Boracay had been named the Best Island in the World by international travel magazine, Travel+Liesure.
The name Boracay is attributed to different origins. One story says that it is derived from the local word "borac" which means white cotton with characteristics close to the color and texture of Boracay's white sugary and powdery sand. Another credits the name to local words "bora," meaning bubbles, and "bocay," meaning white. Yet another version dating back to the Spanish era says the name is derived from "sagay," the word for shell, and "boray," the word for seed.
Phuka Beach on the northern shore of Boracay.
Boracay Island is located off the northwest corner of Panay Island, and belongs to the Western Visayasisland-group, or 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.
South-facing Cagban Beach is located across a small strait from the jetty port at Caticlan on Panay island, and the Cagban jetty port serves as Boracay's main entry and exit point during most of the year. When wind and sea conditions dictate, east-facing Tambisaan Beach serves as an alternative entry and exit point. Boracay's two primary tourism beaches, White Beach and Bulabog Beach, are located on opposite sides of the island's narrow central area. White Beach faces westward and Bulabog Beach faces eastward. The island also has several other beaches.
White Beach, the main tourism beach, is about four kilometers long and is lined with resorts, hotels, lodging houses, restaurants, and other tourism-related businesses. In the central portion, for about two kilometers, there is a footpath known as the Beachfront Path separating the beach itself from the establishments located along it. North and south of the Beachfront Path, beachfront establishments do literally front along the beach itself. Several roads and paths connect the Beachfront Path with Boracay's Main Road, a vehicular road which runs the length of the island. At the extreme northern end of White Beach, a footpath runs around the headland there and connects White Beach with Diniwid Beach.
Bulabog Beach, across the island from White Beach, is the second most popular tourism beach on the island and Boracay's mainwindsurfing and kiteboarding area. Boracay is divided for land use and conservation purposes into 400 hectares of preserved forestland and 628.96 hectares of agricultural land.