Thousands fill Boracay beaches for New Year’s eve celebration

By Jennifer P. Rendon

A few thousand tourists and residents rang in the New Year by gathering at the beaches of Boracay Island in Malay, Aklan.

The Malay Police Station said most visitors first had buffet dinners in hotels and resorts before filling the beaches for the final countdown to midnight.

Lieutenant Colonel Dainis Amuguis, Malay police chief, said 10 resorts and hotels located in the front and back beaches of Boracay mounted a fireworks display to welcome 2024.

In 2023, community fireworks displays for the New Year’s Eve celebration were staged in eight areas.

Most resorts and hotels lit the fireworks display a few minutes before the clock struck 12 midnight.

But others started at a little over 12 midnight.

“Hindi lahat sila nagsabay-sabay. A fireworks display usually runs for 10 to 15 minutes. Generally, both the locals and the visitors enjoyed the celebration. It was also a very peaceful, yet fun, way to welcome 2024,” Amuguis said.

There were about 300 law enforcers and force multipliers who were deployed for the celebration.

Amuguis said K-9 dogs also conducted paneling of strategic areas early evening of Dec. 31.

The Malay Municipal Police Station deployed 81 officers in various areas of the island.

They were complemented by forces from the Philippine Army, Philippine Coast Guard, Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), 2nd Aklan Provincial Mobile Force, PNP Maritime Group, Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO), Municipal Health Office and Malay Auxiliary Police.

The deployment ran from 8 p.m. until 3 a.m.

Amuguis said the Department of Tourism (DOT) pegged tourist arrivals at around 7,000 prior to the New Year’s event celebration.

“Pero posibleng pumalo pa ito sa 8,000,” he said.

Days prior to that, tourist arrivals were at around 3,000 to 4,000 daily.

Amuguis said some tourists already left the island on Jan. 1 but the bulk of the New Year’s revelry is expected to leave on Jan. 2 and the days after that.