Boracay; A Paradise Regained?
From being a paradise on earth to being a cesspool, is Boracay a paradise again?
Boracay island, situated in the Western Visayas about an hour flight from Metro Manila, is a major island-resort in the Philippines with it’s internationally acclaimed white-sand beaches, relaxation activities and lavish parties. It was awarded best island by an international travel magazine Travel + Leisure in 2012 and has been part of lists for top travel destinations by other publications.
However, with the constant influx of tourists and poor monitoring of underwater activities, the island lost around 70% of its coral cover. The island also experienced increased coliform bacteria growth that led to some environmental problems. Sewage treatment plans started operating but due to non-compliance of some establishments, the problems persisted.
With the rise of environmental issues in the island, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered a 6-month closure of the island for the purpose of cleaning and rehabilitation. It was met by opposing views from politicians and ordinary people alike.To environmentalists, it is a welcome change. To businesses and workers in the island however, it was a loss. Thousands lost their source of income. Businesses lost billions of revenues.
The closure, from April 26 to October 26 2018 which is only the first phase of rehabilitation, only registered island residents and employees of business were allowed in the island. Livelihood aids were provided to those who were affected. Many restaurants and establishments were ordered to close due to non-compliance or violation to environmental laws. The local government sued the executive officials for neglect over Boracay.
After 6 months, the island finally reopened but with stricter regulations. The number of visitors were limited, partying at the beach isn’t allowed, water activities are regulated. No temporary structures are allowed on the beach or anywhere near the water.
Although the rehabilitation is not yet fully done, the island’s crystal clear water is back. Some sightings of whale sharks, which weren’t as usual before the closure, were considered a good sign. But one thing tourists will definitely miss; the nightlife and the dynamic activities. The ‘new’ Boracay is for those who are seeking relaxation and tranquility, with paradise-like scenery and great food.
But nobody knows how long this pristine condition will last. Whose fault is Boracay’s deterioration? How can the country have protected it better? Was the closure really necessary? How can it have been avoided? Was the loss of thousands of employment and several businesses worth the trouble? What’s next? Will rehabilitation end in Boracay? Only time will tell. A slice of heaven is gifted to us, humans, to indulge and enjoy. But keeping it safe and clean is our responsibility. The future is the result of our actions. So we should ask ourselves, “Do we deserve such a paradise?”
So, let’s discuss with aimtalk teachers (request with this article link)
- Have you ever been to Boracay? How was your experience?
- What can you say about the closure of the said popular island?
- The Local government sued the executive officials for neglect. Do you agree or disagree with the decision? Who do you think is to be blamed for the island’s poor condition?
- Is there any popular spot in Japan that you would like to be rehabilitated? Why?
cesspool(n): an underground container for the temporary storage of liquid waste and sewage
acclaim(v): praise someone/something publicly
influx(n): the arrival of large number of people / large amount of money, goods, etc, especially suddenly.
revenue(n): money that a business or organization receives over a period of time for selling goods, services, or etc
tranquility(n): the state of pleasant calm, quiet and peace
deterioration(n): the state to become worse