Boracay, BORA-CRY!

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Boracay, an island in the Philippines, is known for its long white, very fine sand beach and crystal clear water.   I’ve been there for at least four times in the last 10 years and each time we go, Boracay gets more populated, polluted, trashed, commercialized, politicized, unparadised!!!

I am not surprised or shocked how Boracay is nowadays!  But I am very saddened and pissed off at the same time about what is happening to it.  The beach of Boracay has been voted as one of the best beaches in the world and just look what we all did…

Below is an excerpt from one of my favorite filipino bloggers, Anton Diaz of Our Awesome Planet:

I write to appeal to all to help save Boracay from further environmental degradation. Our family spent the long weekend in Boracay and it almost made me cry.  My wife and I first visited Boracay as part of our honeymoon in 1986.  It was paradise. The sand was so white it was blinding to the eyes, and so fine it was like talcum powder. The waters were crystal clear with nary a strand of algae.  The natives, too, were genuinely friendly and generous.  Today, you would not recognize it as the same island.  What went wrong?

Once again, we (all of us) have succumbed to temptations of greed and avarice – the local leadership, the entrepreneurs, the workers, and yes even the tourists. The sand has turned into beige because all the cement and construction materials used in building beachfront establishments have mixed with the sand.  Locals lament it is even darker underneath.

Algal bloom is uncontrollable, and along with algae came the spiny sea urchins that feed on them – one even gave my son and I a lasting and painful reminder of how nature is fighting back against untrammeled greed.  I shook my head in disbelief when some locals rationalized the presence of algae – that it was the secret behind the island’s white sands.  That’s not what I recall reading – that the white sands were formed over thousands of years from corals that were pounded by waves out at sea.  Alas, we have even resorted to deceiving ourselves only to justify the continued pace of “development”.

This is not development.  This is destruction.  Development occurs when something of little or no value is enhanced and becomes more valuable.  Development is Camarines Sur, where the young and dynamic Hon. Governor LRay Villafuerte transformed a barren piece of land in a forsaken province into the country’s hottest tourism destination with the construction of the CWC and Lagos del Rey. Now CAMSUR rocks. I am certain and hopeful the visionary Governor has learned the painful lessons of Boracay and will seek to preserve the beauty of Caramoan.  Development is also the Manila Ocean Park, built on idle land behind the Quirino grandstand, which has been instrumental in increasing the influx of tourists – local and foreign – to Manila and its surrounding attractions.  Even more inspiring is that the water used in the aquarium tanks of Manila Ocean Park comes from 500,000 liters of filthy Manila Bay water that is filtered and recycled every day!

Destruction is what has happened to Boracay, where a gift of beauty from nature – the very attraction that tourists would come to see – is spoiled and defiled out of greed.

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