Philippines closes Boracay to tourists for six months

Manila: Volunteers combed near-empty beaches and workers boarded up shops on the island of Boracay on Thursday, as the Philippines’ top tourist hotspot closed for a six-month makeover aimed at rescuing it from ruin.
For the first time in years, Boracay’s most famous beach was almost deserted. Gone were the lines of umbrellas and sun loungers, as well as hordes of tourists and vendors, that characterised the explosive, unchecked growth of what was once a quiet paradise island.
Boracay was officially closed to visitors as of midnight Wednesday to undergo rehabilitation ordered three weeks ago by President Rodrigo Duterte, angered by a video he had seen of black sewage pouring out to sea at a Boracay beach.
Assault-rifle wielding police were posted at entry points to the once-pristine island that has become tainted by heavy commercialisation and over-development.
Regional police head Cesar Binag said the shutdown began past midnight, with tourists barred from boarding the ferry that is the main way onto the island.
“Boracay is officially closed to tourists.