As the entire island of Boracay prepares for a scheduled temporary closure of the area beginning April 26, other island-beaches across the country are also getting closed as authorities facilitate cleaning up and rehabilitation of the environment.
However, the temporary closure of Sumilon Island and Sombrero Island will not last as long as the six-month halt in operations of Boracay Island. While such action may hurt the local tourism industry, other experts in public administration are confident that such measures are necessary to save the islands in the long term.
Sumilon Island in Oslob, Cebu
The municipality of Oslob in Cebu has temporarily closed Sumilon Island this week to give way to a ‘cleanup and rehabilitation’ drive. The popular sandbar and diving site was shut down on Tuesday (April 10) and will remain that way until Monday (April 16) as personnel from the local government office and the Philippine Navy along with several volunteers start cleaning up the shores and even the deep bottom of the beach to get rid of garbage—which includes plastic bottles, broken glasses, plastics, cans, and other forms of trash.
Sumilon Island is made famous by its sandbar, which changes shapes and shifts locations around the area as the season changes. The island resort is among the popular sites in Oslob, which is also known as a whale-shark sighting and feeding spot.
Sombrero Island in Masbate
Beach tourists are temporarily prevented from visiting Sombrero Island in Masbate while the municipal government of San Pascual still serves sanctions over breaches of environmental laws. The closure started on April 5 and will last indefinitely until the issue is properly addressed.
The local government cited an illegal construction of a permanent structure in the area by a family residing there for a Sangguniang Bayan decision in February this year to temporarily close the island. The municipal council is also moving to eject the residents in the area due to sanitary problems.
Sombrero Island is famous for its iconic rock formation that resembles the appearance of a cowboy’s hat from afar. It is among the islets found at the western end of the Burias Island.