Boracay Island: ‘We dodged the worst of the storm’

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.
November 8, 2013 Updated: June 24, 2015

Boracay Island, where Typhoon Haiyan made landfall at one point, was significantly damaged by the typhoon but was still relatively unscathed compared to other nearby areas.

Djila Winebrenner, who lives in Boracay, said that officials confirmed zero deaths on the island.

“We are grateful and lucky to have only minimal damage,” he added. 

While Norm Schriever, a writer who is currently on the island, said that “we dodged the worst of the storm.”

Power was out across the island but was partially restored late Monday night, Schriever said. He said that there’s plenty of food and water on the island but that ATM machines are in short supply, so people coming to the island should bring local currency.

Much of the beach areas are cleaned up already. Photos (see below) show some damage around town, but nothing compared to other areas that were hit by the typhoon.

The jetty re-opened on Sunday morning said Mhyke Mhykee, who was on the island, via Twitter. Hundreds of people had been waiting to leave the island.

Armand TJ, a local, wrote in a blog post:

“Unlike the neighboring islands in the Visayas, we were pretty lucky. We expected the worse, and we were prepared. I feel it’s a miracle to have this little damage to our island and our community. History has just happened, we were hit by the biggest storm of the century. I finally managed to find internet connection just now, only to discover an outpouring of messages of love and support from people around the world. It puts a smile on my face.

 “Later today, the sun came out, and two rainbows appeared right before sunset. Life goes on in Paradise.”

Indeed, many people have begun posting photos of themselves on the beaches, and everyone appears to be fine.

Schriever set up a list of people who were on the island when Haiyan hit and whose family haven’t heard from them.

And, should people still come to visit Boracay?

Schriever says yes, in a new blog post.

“You NOT coming on your vacation isn’t going to help anyone here in the Philippines,” he said. “In fact, a tourism pullback can only damage local economies, especially as we’re going into the “high” season when so many families are counting on the tourism industry. Hayden Fernando, President of the Boracay Tourism Association, says that up to 70% of the island’s residents make their living directly from tourism dollars.

“I say, come celebrate life.  Pay respects by coming and meeting the beautiful people of the Philippines and share a warm smile or a laugh with them.  They’re welcoming you into their homes – onto their island, and in their country, so come enjoy your vacation.  Get a tan, lounge on the perfect white sands of Boracay (which are still perfect) and have a couple too many cocktails while you dance the night away to the island’s live reggae music.

“And when you leave, make a donation to a relief organization, like, or others who are doing great work to help the victims of the typhoon.  Give as much as you can – that is up to you. “

Story developing; check back for updates


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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.