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AKLAN, Philippines – In a move to weave together culture and commerce in Boracay, the town government of Malay has unveiled an unexpected tourism come-on: hair braiding.
Local officials said they were optimistic that Boracay’s hair braiders would become the latest attraction and draw travelers to the sun-kissed shores of the world-famous tourist destination.
Felix Delos Santos, Malay town’s tourism officer, told Rappler on Monday, February 5, that hair braiding debuted as a highlight at the 31st Travel Expo held at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City over the weekend. The travel exposition stands as one of the nation’s premier platforms for travel promotions.
The age-old art involves weaving colorful strands together using methods like plaiting, lacing, and interlacing. It doesn’t just make hair look good; it also helps keep its natural moisture, which is especially helpful in Boracay, which is known for its beaches.
Boracay boasts of 225 registered and active hair braiders, indicating significant tourist demand for this service.
During the exposition, the Malay Tourism Office also showcased sandcastle making in Boracay and the Mega Paraw, now an attraction on the mainland in Malay, Aklan province.
Delos Santos said the hair braiders are following local government-approved rates for braiding, ranging from P200 to P1,000 based on the tourists’ preferred styles.
The timing of the hair braiding presentation coincided with another significant event. On Friday, February 2, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) in Western Visayas announced the inaugural flight of Loong Airlines at the Kalibo International Airport (KIA).
Loong Airlines will operate flights to and from Kalibo three times a week, specifically on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays.
Peter Tay, liaison officer of the Chinese Embassy, said on Monday, February 5, that the airline’s maiden flight originated from Hangzhou, China.
“I anticipate more flights from China to KIA in the near future,” Tay said.
In 2017, Chinese tourists registered as the largest group of foreign visitors to Boracay, followed closely by South Koreans. – Rappler.com