Note, December 25: I have been contacted by quite a few people asking me whether they should cancel their vacation to Boracay. If you have a vacation planned, don’t worry. The situation is back to normal. There’s no need to cancel at this point.

Update, December 22: The situation in Boracay is back to normal, most of the flood was already gone on the 19th, and running water has been fully restored on the 22th.

Posted on December 18, 2017

“The Malay Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported that 90 percent of Boracay Island has been hit by floodwaters.” – Manila Bulletin

The 444.08 millimeters of rainfall that fell from December 14 to 18 (as measured in Kabulihan, a coastal village 5 kilometers from Boracay) was extreme and set a new record.

Flooding issues in Boracay are not new or exclusive to when big storms hit the island though. In particular, the frequent flooding of several smaller areas on the island during normal rainy days is a recent development.

The heavy flooding of the island during tropical storm Urduja is likely to have been exacerbated by that development.

Part of the cause of the flooding, according to locals, is the lack of an adequate drainage system, and over development. In particular the development on natural wetlands that previously functioned as a natural sponge, soaking up excess water.

Tourist arrivals have also steadily grown, increasing the load on the already overloaded drainage system.

The entrance from D’Mall to White Beach

Aside from the damages caused by tropical storm Urduja, the habitual flooding of several smaller areas on the island poses a health risk to residents and tourists visiting Boracay. The flood water is not clean, locals have reported that it often stinks.

In other recent news several establishments were issued violation notices for disposing their waste water directly into the drainage system, though most have already committed to comply with regulations.

A picture taken during a normal rainy day, not during tropical storm Urduja.

Carabao Island, just a few kilometers north of Boracay on December 17:

More pictures of the flood in Boracay caused by tropical storm Urduja:

Pictures courtesy of the Boracay community on Facebook.