Living in a YES album cover

If you ever feel like you are witnessing a 1970s YES album cover, you are probably in one of the most incredible places on planet earth.

The classic albums featured other-worldly scenes, futuristic cities, surreal seafronts, magical landscapes.

From the volcanoes of Guatemala to Italy’s Cinque Terre to the karst chunks of north-central Vietnam to the sands of the Sahara desert, we’ve been blessed to have visited places all over the globe where I felt like I was viewing a YES album in person.

Living in a ‘YES’ album cover

“The mother of all violations…”

Today on the island of Boracay, in the Philippines, we again visited a stunning scene that made me scream, “YES!” 

This one, a construction of man with an apocalyptic feel that seems perfect for the present pandemic.

The Boracay West Cove Resort complex was undoubtedly one of the most amazing developments anywhere. Unfortunately, according to authorities, it was built illegally and at great peril to the surrounding environment. Authorities termed the place ‘the mother of all (building) violations’.

Today it is in ruins; purposely destroyed by the Philippine government — and left as a blight on one of the most beautiful coastlines on Earth.

Compare the photos below: West Cove several years ago on the left – and the sight we took in this afternoon. I’m still speechless.

Vacation from vacation

We are currently visiting Boracay again; ‘vacationing’ from our early retirement for a couple weeks. We’ve come over from ‘mainland’ Panay, where we are living/waiting out the coronavirus pandemic. We technically are ‘residents’ of this municipality. With our local health paperwork, are allowed to visit.

While exploring the coastline on the northwest corner of this small touristy island – now deserted due to the COVID crisis – we stumbled upon the West Cove Resort property.

What was once a gleaming, white, ritzy, cliff-side hotel resort is now mostly a pile of rubble. But the stunning destruction was not caused by time or war or weather. The place was destroyed by government decree.

A prelude to COVID closure

In 2018, the island of Boracay was completely shut down for six months as authorities worked to clean up and restore its beauty and reputation. Over the previous decade, unchecked, illegal development along the shoreline had produced dangerous conditions and environmental damage.

Frequent algae blooms caused by untreated waste runoff threatened to ruin the world-class beaches and huge tourist industry. To fix the situation, illegal structures were removed, sanitation systems mandated, regulations implemented, corruption cleared-up (there were prosecutions).

The remaining West Cove Resort mess is one of the enduring reminders of the enforced closure and clean-up period. We haven’t noticed any other such remnants on the island. Indeed, it is curious that such an eyesore is allowed to exist today. But for us vagabonds, it was an unforgettable place to visit.

Vertigo and cliff jumping

The highlight of the now-defunct resort are the several huge chunks of rock that sit in the sea in front of the place. Once connected by a bridge, they were cemented and manicured and turned into small parks. Now, they were our personal YES album cover.

Access to these private ‘isles’ is via some rusty pipes – or by swimming. The bridge, like the rest of West Cove, destroyed by jackhammers.

Of course, we just had to get out there, so Ellie summoned all her courage, overcame her vertigo, and managed to crab-walk, shimmy, and wiggle across the pipes. The views and photos were worth the effort.

Of course, the other reason to get onto the near-shore isles; cliff jumping. When the tide is up, the crystal-clear water is at least ten feet deep. There is a launching platform about 20 feet high. Cliff-jumping being one of my favorite early retirement vagabond activities, I made a few exhilarating leaps. See me in action below.

After we’d explored and enjoyed the West Cove isles and the rest of the wreckage, we left the crumbling complex and walked down the coast a short distance to small, deserted, Hagdan beach where we swam and dozed and picnicked the beautiful day away.

As I told Ellie, I could easily spend a lot more time around the amazing and apocalyptic West Cove ruins. In fact, we will undoubtedly be back there soon with our cooler and swimsuits and cameras – enjoying our exclusive YES album cover.

As always, be thankful and generous, happy trails & more beer.

Life is NOW!

Thanks for reading, “Living in a YES album cover.”

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Living in a YES album cover

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