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Aquino told: It’s Boracay, not Bora

/ 01:07 AM June 26, 2011

MALAY, AKLAN—It’s Boracay, not “Bora,” Mr. President.

On his first ever visit to the world–famous island of Boracay, President Benigno Aquino III on Saturday committed what is considered a faux pas by Boracay residents.

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In his 12–minute speech during the inauguration of the improved Caticlan airport in this town, the jump–off point to Boracay, the President referred to the island resort using the abbreviated “Bora” three times.

This drew reactions from a group of Boracay residents who had launched a campaign called “Boracay Please, Not Bora” which urges visitors to refer to the island using its complete name so as not to confuse it with Bora-Bora, an island of French Polynesia in the Pacific Ocean, also a popular tourist destination.

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“We welcome the President to Boracay and we hope he will find time to enjoy the beauty of the island. But we appeal to him to call it Boracay and not Bora,” Nenette Aguirre-Graf, a resort owner, said.

The group has launched a Facebook account for their campaign which had more than 6,000 members as of June.

“It took Boracaynons and the first batch of expats more than 20 years to make Boracay the Philippines’ premier tourist destination. Why rename it?” the group said on its Facebook account.

Common usage

The abbreviated name has commonly been used even by local tourists, especially in text and online messages.

The municipality of Malay which has jurisdiction over Boracay island has prohibited the use of the abbreviation “Bora” for the popular island resort in promotional materials and business activities.

In a resolution passed during its regular session on February 22, the council mandated the municipal licensing office to deny applications for permits from the municipal mayor and for business operations which use the name “Bora” instead of “Boracay.”

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In its resolution, the municipal council noted that there has been a proliferation of advertising and promotional materials using the abbreviated name of the island.

Detrimental to business

They think the wide use of “Bora” could be detrimental to the business and economy of Malay which largely relies on Boracay’s P13–billion tourism industry.

The council will pass an ordinance to enforce the resolution which it said aims to preserve and uphold the name Boracay.

The President said in jest that while others would be wading in the waters of “Bora,” he would be wading in the flooded streets of Manila.

The President canceled a press conference after the ceremony but flew in a presidential helicopter to the posh Shangri-La Boracay Resort and Spa located at the northern end of the 1,032–hectare island where he had lunch before returning to Manila.

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TAGS: Benigno Aquino III, Boracay, Philippines – Regions, Tourism, Visayas
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