“Boracay has been raped!”
That was my appalling finding when I was on the island of Boracay in 2012. My final visit.
After I saw the miserable state of what was once a paradise island of the Philippines — in its truest sense and not merely a tourism hype — I vowed I wouldn’t be going back. It was so saddening. Upsetting. Sickening. Infuriating! I wrote about that here.
My last trip before 2012 was in 2007. I was still able to spend and enjoy some peace and quiet. I was still able to experience some serenity and privacy.
But it was already quite crowded at the time. Humanity’s violence against the island couldn’t be concealed. Only the blind, the in denial, the unaware, uncaring and unconcerned, the irresponsible — which comprises a significant portion of both those who visit the island and have established their businesses — would see it otherwise.
It didn’t take long — and not much effort — for Boracay to be stripped of its purity and innocence in so short a time. Argh!!!
As with other tourist destinations that have been abused by the greedy and self-serving businessmen and by irresponsible and unconcerned tourists, Boracay is no longer the paradise that she once was. The immaculate magnificence for which she became world-famous is gone.
Gone. For. Good.
Boracay has become overcrowded. Too noisy. Highly commercialized and urbanized. Overpopulated. Filthy. Polluted. T.O.X.I.C.
[Read more The “Algae” Truth About Boracay]
That’s why I’d get surprised each time Boracay makes it to the list of top beaches/islands in the world. Every year. No fail.
Boracay is just way over-rated!
The violence against Boracay crescendoed over the last couple of decades.
Over the years, environmentalists pleaded. Media personalities reported on the deteriorating condition of the island. On her slow, painful death. Excruciatingly painful. It is painful not only for her but those of us who care enough and who have been blessed to have experienced the island in her glory days of pristine splendor.
[Read more The greening of Boracay]
Cries to save her from further deterioration reverberated until the tears ran dry.
The appeals, unfortunately, fell on deaf ears.
Thankfully, not this time.
That’s how Philippines President Duterte recently described it.
This is one of the very rare occasions when I agree with Duterte and support his mandate. (The two others are the no-smoking ban and prohibition of firecrackers/fireworks in public places.)
Boracay is indeed a cesspool.
An apt description. A foregone conclusion.
From Spotless to One Ugly Mess!
Millions of tourists had their experience of a lifetime as they were enthralled by what was once Boracay‘s clear, aqua waters and baby powder-like white sand. I’m not exaggerating. It truly did feel like walking on baby powder!
Countless opportunistic and greedy business owners took advantage and erected their establishments. Several did not comply with government and environmental regulations.
It’s bad enough that the establishments lack proper waste and sewerage system with some “draining their sewage directly into the sea.” (!)
Couple this with the deeply ingrained uncaring attitude of the Filipino, specifically, not wanting to clean up his mess, more so, someone else’s trash.
The once unspoiled island has quickly turned from being spotless into one ugly mess!
There’s a proposal to close down Boracay for two months to clean up the island and give the erring establishments the chance to install proper waste and sewerage systems.
Quite naturally, business and resort owners who have complied with the regulations are protesting. They argue that only those who have violated should be the ones shut down. Why must the other ‘innocent’ and ‘responsible’ ones suffer the same fate? What about the lost tourism income and means of livelihood?
They have a point.
However, I wonder if there was anything they did when they became aware of the other erring establishments’ violations.
Did they voice out their objections and protestations or did they enable the offense by not getting involved in others’ businesses?
Perhaps, they believed that it was enough that they abided by the law. It’s none of their business when others don’t.
Does our responsibility end with merely following rules and regulations? Are we exhibiting enough concern and respect with that?
For as long as we are not committing any wrongdoing and we let others’ wrongdoings pass us by, are we not being irresponsible and committing the ‘sin of omission?’ As I said, are we not being an enabler?
Apathy. Inability To See The Big Picture. Refusal To Clean Up.
Apathy and the inability to see the big picture are innate in the Filipino consciousness. Quite sadly.
The unwillingness to clean up their personal mess and collect their waste and garbage is deeply ingrained in the Filipino psyche. It’s just one of the Filipino’s peculiarities. And so to even expect him to clean up someone else’s trash is asking for the impossible, if not a miracle!
The average Filipino just doesn’t care enough. Can’t and won’t.
These attitudes and lifestyles have, sadly, not only influenced the behaviors of other tourists, local and foreign alike but attracted a similar lot, contributing to the current plight of Boracay — and other Philippine tourist destinations for that matter.
Mt. Banahaw – Still Shut Down
Mt. Banahaw, the Philippine mystical mountain is a magnet not only for hikers and mountaineers but the spiritually inclined because of her famed healing powers. From a sacred place of worship and healing, irresponsible visitors had quickly turned Mt. Banahaw into a picnic ground, leaving behind their garbage — as is usual!
In 2004, Mt. Banahaw was closed for trekking to give her time to recover and to heal. The moratorium was initially for three years, 2005 to 2008 which was extended to 2012. And then again for another three years to 2015. And yet another extension until 2019.
Fifteen years to heal. That’s how severely damaged Mt. Banahaw is.
And now Boracay.
Who knows what’s next.
And is two months enough to reinstate Boracay to her once pristine condition? Can she even be restored back to such a state?
I don’t think so.
The abuses and violence committed against Mother Earth, though, aren’t unique to the Philippines. They’re prevalent across the globe.
Lack of concern. Disrespect for others and their surroundings. Exploitation of natural resources. Torture of nature. Destruction of ecosystems. Lack of reverence for the natural world. Loss of belief in animism. Embracing instead consumerism and materialism.
Themes of greed, control, and power dominated our patriarchal society over the last three centuries.
Prevalence of Abuse of Nature Across the Globe & the Newtonian/Materialistic Paradigm
It isn’t difficult to see the correlation of the environmental history with the history of classical science.
The tragic fate that befell Boracay — and the planet in general — can be traced back to the scientific/reductionist/Newtonian/materialistic paradigm that has dominated our collective consciousness the past three or so hundred years. It is rooted in that worldview.
Pre-scientific societies thrived in earth-based, earth-dependent lifestyles. Humanity bowed to Mother Earth. She reigned supreme.
Thanks to the Scientific Revolution, we have reduced the natural world to a machine that we can tinker, tamper, and experiment with. We have disregarded and completely forgotten the innate life force in nature. Hence, the repeated abuses and incessant destruction by humanity.
The reductionist paradigm led us to the belief that we are separate parts and units. That we, the human species are separate from Nature, from all of Her elements and creations, and other species.
It led to the delusion that we can claim dominion and are above over everything else. Ha! Such arrogant species we have become, eh?
We have come so far and have lived and believed so differently from our ancestors.
The profound respect and reverence for Nature and the environment is a core value of indigenous tribes. They believed in the sacredness of the land. In the sanctity of their relationship with the land. With Mother Earth.
Indigenous tribes depended on Nature. Their lives depended on Her. They co-created with Her. They were at one with Her. They did not get from Her and were not out to get Her.
When we continue to believe that ‘more is better,’ we can never think that what we have is enough. That there is, in truth, enough for everyone. We will continue to destroy and exploit Nature and commit violence against Her.
But can She ever be truly destroyed by us, humans?
Dinosaurs have existed for 135 million years; the human species have been around for only 200,000 years. That’s less than 1% of life on earth.
Now, that gives me hope that, thankfully, Mother Earth can and will survive — with or without us, humans.
“If civilization is to survive, it must live on the interest, not the capital, of nature.”
🕉 🙏🕉 🙏🕉