I’m tired…

Sylphy amaburi… of this fake, superficial tourism.

I’m sick of hearing petitions calling for LGUs (or any other big boss, for that matter) to reconsider plans for “hot”, “trendy” attractions which will inevitably have to clear some lands, cut some trees, relocate some of the locals, deprive some animals their natural habitats, and produce some noise and pollution. And by some, I mean, numbers we can’t count with the fingers on our two hands.

But what can I do? I’m only a commoner, not some big shot who can order people around to do the “right” job of steering away our remaining environmental wealth from the greed of business giants (and, mind you, dwarves) who can only think of doing service to the Americans, Brits, Chinese–you name them.

You know what I think our true tourist attraction is? Our people. Our rich culture.

We’ve been disillusioned for so long, we forget our human qualities. Tourists may come here looking for nice, white-sand beaches and clear, blue waters. But ask one who had a great time and now considers a trip to return here. You’ll know what really makes them pay a visit more than once.

Promote people. Promote our fun dances, our colorful tapestries, our romantic languages, our big smiles, our hospitality, our bright and lively festivals, and, certainly not less important, our variety of delicious food.

But what can I do? These are my thoughts, not yours. You may not even care.

But what can I do? I can only say these things here, though I might not loudly voice them.

But what can I do?

But what can we do?

In all seriousness, this was written out of real frustration. I don’t believe that all of these petitions circulating online are truly realized, but the least they can do is raise awareness. Signing them won’t take a lot out of your life, y’know. So, please, sign this too on behalf of the locals in Boracay.

Also, both the local and foreign tourists have the responsibility to keep their surroundings clean. Even mother nature’s hospitality has its limit.

I know I could still elaborate on some points and that this is too simplistic, but yeah, you get my point.

Original post is on my personal blog.

6 responses to “I’m tired…

  1. Hi I just randomly saw your blog (from the princess Sarah memes lol) and was surprised to see this post.

    I am an anime fan and a total fan girl and I instantly felt happy knowing someone from the Philippines was running a blog like this, whether anime-related or just your blog as a whole, because I felt like I can relate on a level of being a fan girl and a Filipino just by reading your posts. Thank you for this 😀

    But I was surprised to see this post, because, I also signed this petition a long time ago, and seeing you post it here made me happy.

    I’m from the province where Boracay is located. I’ve been to the island, and the island has been my pride, ever since I’ve been busy with school and interacting with other people who never went there but heard of the place. It was part of my identity to be part of the town known to be the destination to the “paradise island”.

    But after living in the city for almost five years, I haven’t heard about what was happening in Boracay. I was devastated seeing the pictures… I’d say Boracay lost its beauty. My friends went with me there before, on a trip two years ago, and they’d say bad things about the state of the island. I can’t deny their words… Boracay has this beautiful facade but a dirty interior… the bats there were dwindling in number, and there were stubborn tourists and establishments that threatens the cleanliness of the island.

    Because I’m just a student, powerless without the voices of other concerned citizens like me… I’ve been finding ways of trying to spread awareness such as SNS and the like… but it seemed like the local government is more concerned with the amount of money they get from tourists rather than maintaining the island’s beauty and cleanliness.

    I just sigh in frustration. But I hope when I get to go home, I’ll be able to talk with the LGUs there.

    Again, thank you for spreading awareness!

    • Welcome to my blog!

      It makes me happy to hear that you appreciate it. Thank you! And yes, I do try to write on things that happen in the Philippines that are likewise significant to me and, perhaps, to other Filipinos (or just anyone) out there. This post is one example.

      Not having gone there myself, I heard some stories of Boracay’s apparently declining beauty. Worsening pollution, the lack of tourist discipline–everything is clearly a result of capitalism. I don’t know the extend of control the government has over the tourist attraction, but I think it’s time it should impose some limitations and strict make-over by training/educating the locals and the owners and properly setting rules for both the tourists and the locals to reduce the noise and pollution. I’m a supporter of environmental conservation, so I hate seeing yet another rich biodiversity get victimized by greed. It makes my heart ache.

      And speaking of the human side of culture, I seriously meant that. When people speak of tourism, the first images that probably come to mind are of places/tourist spots. What about images of the locals? We know so little of our people, that why we just assume that we don’t have a rich (pre-historical) culture that we can call our own.

      Regarding our status as citizens, I admit that I myself don’t hold much power. Heck, I’m a soft-spoken individual so I can only speak up through writing/blogging. The impact of what I do may be little, but I am thankful that some people still take the time to read. For now, informing people is my job.

      Again, thank you for dropping by!

  2. I signed.

    I will probably never have the type the money that would allow me to travel overseas, but, if I did, I would want to experience an authentic slice of the local culture and people. (A week or two would hardly be enough time to get a truly deep understanding but it would be a start.)

    I don’t understand why covering up and glossing over what makes a place unique is considered a business savvy idea. I see it in anime how places in Japan try to manufacture a unique selling point to attract people to their place and I see it around where I live as communities try to get tourists to want to come to the Rustbelt area of America.

    • Thank you!

      Exactly. I figure it would be fun to discover the differences between others’ and one’s cultures–belief systems, everyday life, and traditions–too.

      Japan’s tourism is cool, and thank you for mentioning that they manufacture a unique selling point. I was trying to put my finger on it.

  3. Tourism is the world’s fastest growing industry. It is possible to have development and preserve habitats with proper resource management. You need sustainable planning that looks at the long term.

    That’s the whole trick.

    Do you ever see any of the locals fishing with dynamite or poison?

    • Thanks, Denny. That makes a lot of sense.

      Unfortunately, many businessmen here want some fast cash with their inland/beach resorts without proper consultation with the environment and wildlife preservation authorities and the locals in the areas where they’re trying to build their money empires.

      And yes, dynamite fishing is still present.

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