I’ve never been too crazy about Boracay to begin with; while the white sand beach is admittedly beautiful, I find the place too congested. As it turns out, there’s another possible reason for not being too crazy about the place. This story, posted by Dondon Marquez of Hands On Manila, is a real eye-opener about what goes on on the other side of the island, about what the real cost has been of the fast-track tourism development that is Boracay.
I urge you to read the article. Think about it the next you go to Boracay, tell the story to your friends who are going to Boracay. Responsible tourism does not necessarily have to be confined to the maxim “Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time.”
Boracay, An Island Paradise?
by Dondon Marquez
Just got back from Boracay! My second time in 3 months. The first one was a pleasure trip but because I need to get familiarized with the so called “island paradise” for a future project called Hands On Volunteer Vacations of Hands On manila, I managed to touch base with the locals and the chamber of commerce. I spent most of the time interviewing people in the area, from bangkero to a policeman, from a waiter to resort manager…I did some bonding with the bookers ( eto yung mga naka ID na nag o-offer o namimilit ng bangka ride at iba pang raket), firedancers, entertainers…I needed to do all these things to know the reality of life among the workers in the island and to establish contacts for future deployment of volunteers. This time, I was there for four days to explore possibilities of partnership with some of the non-government orgs and community-based organizations...
Bago ako pumunta sa island, I only have one thing in mind…to close and finalize a partnership with organizations where volunteers can help and do community service while vacationing… Nagawa ko yun! Dapat masaya ako, mission accomplished, BUT I was so depressed after I visited the tiny ATI community in the island.
Ati tribe, were the original settlers in Boracay, they were nomads. Boracay was a real paradise for these black people because living there was so easy for them with its natural wonders and resources such as the white sand beach, vast varieties of fruits, veggies, fishes and a lot of animals… they were living harmoniously with mother nature. Until people started to develop it…and everything went on very quickly, DOT and the province of Aklan made the place so famous that all investors, tourists and businesses were erected in the area…and..they were successful… very successful that all of them were overwhelmed of the money that the “island paradise” is generating.
Sa likod ng pagunlad na ito ng Boracay, may naiwan, may nakalimutan at yun ay ang mga Ati na na ngayon nakakubli sa isang maliit na pamayanan sa likod ng isla, sa Bolabog, Mayroong 36 households (220 individuals) na nakatira dito. Sinadya ng mga tao, na ngayon ang nag mamayari ng mga lupa doon, na sila ay ilagay sa isang tagong lugar, naka-pader, sa gitna ng bahayan, dahil makakasira daw sa Turismo ang pamamalagi (existence) nila doon.