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Boracay Island: Then and Now.

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The Chronicles of Boracay Island: Island History

Buracay is Boracay

Boracay Island: an island so beautiful, sometimes sinful, always controversial. This makes it intriguing and causes people to return again and again, if they cannot linger for a lifetime. Its rich History dates back in the early 17th-8th Century.

Boracay is more than just another Island and Resort by the Sea. She was a shy island, with a secretive and secluded past hidden behind the history of time, the soil molded by the hands of a woman and her loyal peers that made the island into a paradise. The island is indeed a creation of the Almighty with a past.

As history books tell stories of times past, few is ever written or told about the island's history prior to its popularity in the seventies. Many would write about it but with always the same tone - its past being shaded or unknown.

Others would tell tales about how the island was discovered - film crews, German writers, backpackers.

Some people considered themselves lucky for having had the time spent with the settlers and old people in Boracay. Accounts of fisherfolks and Ati indeed were mentioned. There is one account that they revealed - about who they often referred to as the "First Family" of Boracay - they were considered as among the first settlers of the island who lived among the Ati.

No wonder there are Villas and Cottages named in her honor. No wonder there are structures which stood and are named in his honor.

History: The couple: ?Lamberto Hontiveros Tirol and Sofia Ner Gonzales

They settled in the island in the 1900s when Lamberto became a Judge in Buruanga, an old name for Malay. Sofia had a small lot in the area where they constructed a small shelter. Later on, a number of islanders sold their lots to the couple, until a relatively large area was occupied by the family.

Lamberto, or Lamber as he was fondly called by the islanders, was a good provider, he worked hard to earned his own keep and to give his family a good life. Sofia, or Sofing, as she was fondly called by her fellow Boracaynons, was a green thumb, a good administratrix and a good employer. While Lamberto work, she and her workers would go around and about the island planting trees and vegetables. She was able to plant thousands of coconut trees. Her main product was that of tobacco and copra. It was written that she was able to produce first class tobacco which were traded from all over Luzon.

It was an early demise for Lamberto. He left behind a young widow to tend their orphaned children. Despite her broken heart, she maintained that composure of a strong willed woman, continued to take care of the island, made it into something the world would call "Island Paradise."

With the help of a nephew Josefino Sta Maria Tirol?, Sofia was able to place her portion in the island under the Torrens System. In 1929, Sofia was granted a title in her favor and for the Heirs of Lamberto Hontiveros Tirol. At that time, Aklan was still part of Capiz, so was Malay, so that the Ordinary Registration Proceedings for Titling over Panay was lodge in the Courts of First Instance in Capiz Area. In 1931, Honorable Enrique Altavaz of the General Land Registration Office issued giving formally a torrens title over a large portion of the island.

Sofia's ground work gained her the appreciation she much deserved. In 1987, in a magazine (The Sunday Times Magazine, November, 1987), an article was written about the woman behind the greening of Boracay. The article was about Sofia Ner Gonzales. Today, the island remained to be as Sofia intended it to be: an Island Paradise. She would have wanted it the way it was: with all the coconut trees standing almost everywhere, including bended cocos that gave the island the unique scenery peculiarly exclusive to Boracay. Sadly, those trees are no longer there. Environment and legal issues beset the island. Government intervention seem to aggravate the matter. Nonetheless, Boracay remained one of the best beaches in the world.

Modern Day Boracay: 1970 marks the beginning of the Modern Age of Boracay Island. Even though electricity arrived in the late 1980, visitors came pouring in, bringing along their own amenities, especially water to drink. In the early fifties, or right after the War (WWII), business, great and small, began to blossom in the island. On some parts, dirt or rocky or smooth roads gave way to paved ones.

Sofia would have wanted the island to stay as it was, with millions of trees resting peacefully and happily on white sugar-coated sands of the island, with few joyous people relaxing by watching the calm and serene blue ocean touching the blue heavens... But times changed and the rest had to change with time.

Rapid growth of the Island began in 1970, and the population has grown. Today, this beautiful sea island continues to offer Visitor and Resident alike a beautiful oasis featuring miles of blue beaches, World Class golf, recreation and a renewal of spirit as one finds himself surrounded, and enriched by, the peaceful beauty of nature.

Our Thanks and Appreciation to the Heirs of Lamberto Hontiveros Tirol and Sofia Ner Gonzales for sharing their ancient journals, letters, case files and old accounts from islanders of the island. Special Thanks to the heirs of Boracaynons who corroborated the stories written above and used as a source for this brief history. Most of all, thanks to Teresita Tirol Rojo Corpus and the one who helped compile this History of the Island. You know who you are. I thank you.

Published on 10/12/11

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