‘Please, it’s not Bora’: Plea to call Boracay as it is resurfaces online

February 9, 2023 - 3:41 PM
This undated photo shows the white sand beach of Boracay. (Department of Tourism/Released)

“Please, it’s not Bora.”

A bid to refer to popular tourist destination Boracay as it is resurfaced online after Makati’s Barangay Poblacion officials filed a resolution against the use of “Pobla.”

Last Monday, Poblacion Brgy. Captain Benhur Cruz informed the public about Barangay Resolution No. 2020-689, which states that using the term “Pobla” is “offensive and derogatory to the community.”

“THIS IS BARANGAY POBLACION! STOP USING THE TERM ‘POBLA’!” the barangay captain previously wrote.

The resolution stated that Poblacion locals “highly considers [sic] the image and values [sic] the rich heritage of Poblacion, including its name.”

Brgy. Poblacion is Makati City’s seat of government.

Its name has become synonymous with various hole-in-the-wall restaurants and rooftop bars that have sprouted in the area throughout the years.

This has turned it into an instant hangout spot especially preferred by hipsters and other young professionals.

RELATED: Reactions to Makati barangay’s reso objecting the use of ‘Pobla’ term for ‘Poblacion

Following the initiative of Poblacion officials, real estate service Island Nook Real Estate-Boracay resurfaced an old post allegedly taken from the Boracay Sun newspaper.

“‘Please, it’s not ‘Bora.’ When we say, ‘Please not Bora,’ we are protecting the island as well. We are trying to hold on to the old Boracay, to the way life was before people started not to care and began littering our beaches — to hold an event and not clean up, to becloud the scenic sunset with ads dictating what we should want,” part of the post said.

“When we say, ‘Please not Bora,’ we ask that you respect the Island culture. By respecting the name, we say speak the name Boracay the same way we do — with love. To love the name is to preserve its culture,” it added.

“If you stop with ‘Bora,’ all you get is ‘Bora;’ you don’t receive all of what Boracay has to offer. Its treasure isn’t the white sand, it’s the whole Island,” the post further reads.

“Just a personal note from us locals,” the admin of the page said at the end.

The admin of the page hoped that the public would be more “aware” of the locals’ sentiments about the shortening of the tourist spot’s name.

“May this message go national once more and make people aware of the local’s sentiments. If you don’t understand, just keep your mouth shut. #BoracayIsland — I’m grateful for you,” realtor Keiza Rosado wrote on Facebook on Wednesday.

The Island Nook’s post is part of a lengthier piece posted by a Facebook page advocating for Boracay to be popularly referred to as it is and not as its shortened term.

“Sometimes it is difficult to explain to friends why saying ‘Bora’ has started to be a turn-off for most of the Islanders in Boracay,” the piece, posted in October 2011, reads.

“You see, we had an island — not a city, not a metro, but an island. And perhaps in Makati, it is cute to call places with cool nicknames like ‘Emba’ for Embassy in the same way we fondly call Sebastian, for example, by the nickname ‘Basti.’ But the Islanders just found it funny. It was amusing at first. Then it became annoying,” it added.

The piece said that locals consider Boracay as a “home,” “a being” and “a friend.”

“So when we speak of Boracay, we speak of it with love and affection. The Island has given us so much. Not just the striving business and the daily vacation in paradise, it also took us in when we were searching for ourselves amidst the chaos and demands of the world beyond. And when we ask that you call it Boracay, understand that we want to share something special with you,” it added.

The piece said that whenever locals make the plea, “Please, not Bora,” they are “trying to hold on to the old Boracay” before the emergence of hotels, resorts, bars and other hangout spots.

It added that whenever “Bora” is uttered instead of the original name, “they lose a bit of the Boracay memory.”

The piece said that the contraction is a “name coined by people who cared less about this Island” that has taken care of the locals.

“How much will it cost to have a little of Boracay back each day? So please, not ‘Bora.’ Please call it Boracay,” it added.

‘Boracay’ to ‘Bora’

Boracay is an island off the coast of Caticlan, Aklan in Visayas which became famous for its pristine white sands and crystal clear sea waters.

The world-renewed tourist spot was originally inhabited by indigenous communities belonging to the Ati and the Tumandok tribe.

A history-oriented website said that they have been inhabiting the island before the Spanish arrived to colonize the country.

According to Chaya Ocampo Go, an anthropology graduate of the University of British Columbia, the word “Boracay” is “a name the Atis’ ancestors gave the island in the Inati language.”

Inati is the language of the Atis which scholars say is an Austronesian language.

Boracay eventually caught global attention by the ’70s when two foreign movies,”The Losers” and “Too Late the Hero,” featured the island for all of the world to see.

By the ’80s, backpackers and tourists flocked to the area to glimpse the crystal-clear beaches.

Mainstream resorts and resto bars then began to populate the island years later, eventually turning it into a premier tourist destination where people, especially city dwellers, can unwind.

Tourists later on began to call the island “Bora.”

This is similar to visitors calling Makati’s Poblacion as “Pobla,” La Union as “Elyu” or Katipunan as “Katips” or “Katip.”

The shortening of names is usually attributed to younger generations.

This phenomenon is related to what is called the “generational language gap.”

A blog entry of a firm specializing in multilingual content services said that language “separates” the different generations of baby boomers, Generation X, millennials and Generation Z.

“All of them were brought up in different surroundings, which means they have had diverse conditioning throughout their lives,” Welocalize said.

“Language evolves over time. We no longer speak or communicate in the English that Shakespeare wrote his plays in. The words, the pronunciations, and the grammar rules have all changed. In fact, we no longer communicate in the same language as our grandparents,” it added.

A language learning app said that an individual’s language habits change throughout their lives because of social factors.

It said that a person’s language grows from being conservative to adapting “nonstandard language” in adolescent years to demonstrate that they belong to a group different from the adults.

The language eventually switches to a “standard” one by adulthood.