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A paradise lost

Maybe not a few would agree with the observation long made by its residents and old habitues that Boracay had lost its magnificence soon after the start of a construction boom in the 1990s.
Boracay was a paradise before: A golf course, a mall and a number of multi-star hotel sprung up like wild mushrooms on its sands and clays, which were really once pristine.
The present Boracay is hard to compare with the Boracay before development and the surge of its transplanted population came.
Yes, it was once a paradise, for lack of a better word to describe what Boracay was. It was an Eden, an Avalon, a Valhalla depending on the eyes which saw how it had been before it became the concrete jungle it has now become.
But it is hardly that, at present.
Boracay is overpopulated.
It is polluted, however hard its local government tries to maintain and manage its environment, tight “highways”, drainage system and all.
It no longer speaks the language of the locals who have long tried to keep the island theirs until big money came and gobbled up its white sand beach and then inwards, where hotels and mansions owned by the rich and several prominent people and active and retired politicians rose.
And despite the new money which flowed, Boracay is now host to slum areas which shadow the majestic structures built by the hands of its new residents.
Many of those who worked on these new buildings did not leave. They brought in their families with them to pounce on the opportunities presented by the influx of a thriving tourism business in the island.
Many had decided to transplant to Boracay because there is work everywhere. You only need to walk its beach with a little expertise in hair braiding, massage, sales and what not, its old and new residents could say they have found “work” that easily.
Its new residents say they can survive well in Boracay. Life elsewhere is tough, they said, with no guarantee of work and living that Boracay is giving them.
The Boracay LGU and the national government overseeing it do not lack laws to prevent what its old residents have feared of Boracay’s imploding.
But it would soon collapse, and President Duterte is not wrong in reminding its LGU and its people to shape up and threatening to close the island down if they would not do so.
Boracay’s new businesses have complied with the requirements necessary to obtain permits to construct new buildings, this rubbernecker was told by an old resident privy to the goings-on in the island.
But he said Boracay could no longer handle the influx of people and the new residents still seeking to live in the island to squeeze it of whatever opportunities are left to make their families survive because there are less or no jobs available to them in their old places.
These settlers are competing against the islands’ original people for the jobs, mainly manual at construction sites as blue and white collar jobs in hotels and offices have been filled with those brought in by their companies from outside of Bora.
Others have remained small farmers and fishermen. But they have ventured out and farther as well as a catch is no longer guaranteed in the waters near where the tourists frolic.
From time to time, the LGU receives and gives out warnings about the fecal content of Boracay’s waters.
The island does not have an efficient waste management program and only the new structures have been able to comply with the environmental laws, if they really did.
The residents just dugged and dugged its soft clays and that is now described by President Duterte to have created a “cesspool.”
But bets are high he cannot impose his threat to “close down” the island in six months if not much is done about it. It was not the first time President Duterte had given his men a six-month deadline and we all know it.
Maybe the order was meant for Boracay’s residents, including those in the shanties who could not afford to even build toilets.
But the big business which has invaded the island and took its grandeur?
The next festivals have been planned and their guests will continue to come in for party time.

1 comment

  • JVV123

    I don't know if the threat to close Boracay beach would work. Cleanliness has both mental and physical aspects to it and for Filipinos to be adept at these concepts need to learn the practice at an early age. But I'm sorry but this is one area where we are totally deficient. We tend to throw things around and littering is something rampant almost everywhere in the country. Poverty might have exacerbated the problem but it's more of attitude, upbringing and discipline. And the president may not be the right person to demand people clean up the environment for he himself is deficient in another aspect of cleaning- his mouth. He has a filthy orifice. And if it's a shame to have a filthy Boracay, it's even worse and a national disgrace to have one on the president himself.

    JVV123 Wednesday, 14 February 2018 01:08 Comment Link

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