Newport Boracay: Changing with the times

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The pool at Boracay’s Savoy

TO RESIST change is to resist the world. Boracay’s 2018 six-month closure changed the face again of the once-pristine island, fighting back against over development and trying to regain the relationship with nature that drew people there in the first place.

Newcoast Boracay, a township development by conglomerate Megaworld, seemed to know the changes that were coming and much, much earlier than before the closure, had adopted sustainability measures such as waste segregation and the use of renewable energy. BusinessWorld had visited Newcoast through its then-new property, the Savoy Hotel, two years ago. On a visit this year, we noticed a few changes.

“We looked at it on a positive note,” said Marie Jehan Balbanero, Area Head for Marketing and Communications. “The changes that the government wanted — we also provided our own sustainability projects.”

The lobby is the same, with its purple tree ceiling fixture, and the modern web work that spread around the hotel. The rooms are still upholstered in azure, but in the bathrooms, plastic tubes of body wash and shampoo have given way to reusable ceramic containers. E-carts are now used to shuttle guests.

BusinessWorld once noted how the sound of construction mingled with the splash of the surf by the beach, and now, the noises of construction have calmed down a bit. It’s only because Newcoast has finished with another one of its projects, the Belmont, which would boast of more than 400 rooms (the Savoy has more than 500). A peek at the new hotel shows that it is decorated in neutral colors, and boasts of a chandelier that calls to mind swimming jellyfish. The hotel’s second cluster, slated to open later this month, has an all-day dining restaurant, a spa, a gym, pools, a function room, and a business center. Understandably, it all still smelled like fresh paint.

The whole development sits on 150 hectares of land, with 60% of it to be devoted to greenery. On the same land will rise a convention center. Retail shops and restaurants in a strip called the Promenade are also currently under construction, which will connect the hotels together: properties slated for the coming years include a third hotel, The Chancellor, and the possibility of international hotel chains setting up shop there.

“People are very familiar with just the main beaches. We’re in a new area, it’s a new place. There’s a different side of the island here,” said Ms. Balbanero. — JLG