The photo was taken on the shores of Boracay in 2007. The same photo I submitted to Runner’s World Australia which was eventually chosen by the editor in chief, Ms. Claire Burke, to be featured on the Feb. 2008 RAVE RUN Edition. It was also my first time in Boracay.
When I laid my eyes on the beach, my jaw dropped mesmerized. I couldn’t believe how beautiful Boracay is with its postcard perfect white powder sand and a shoreline that stretched for miles. I could not wait to run on this island paradise early the next day while nobody was around.
During my runs, however, one thing I noticed even then is that most of the establishments did not have a proper waste disposal/ filtration system. I saw sewer pipes flush out human waste, garbage, and the like directly out to open sea. I also noticed the growth of “green algae“ sticking on the sand by the shoreline. I was told that this growth is attributed to algae thriving on human waste as nutrient loading which accelerates algal growth. At that moment, I could already foresee that this situation will one day cause major problems if left unresolved.
Fast forward to April 2018, President Duterte calls Boracay a “cesspool” and orders the entire Boracay CLOSED for 6 months starting April 26,2018 which he feels is necessary for the island “to undertake major renovation works, especially of the sewerage system, which had become obsolete and insufficient.” It’s sad that it has to come to this. Its sad that Boracay, which was once dubbed as the Best Island in the World now has to undergo major rehab simply because we prioritized selfish interests and personal gain while completely disregarding environmental concerns. It seems ironic that what made Boracay known to the world is what we neglected. The whole idea of trusting elected officials caring for future generations and putting the notion of sustainable development at the heart of their policy making, seems to have failed and are even the ones responsible.
I was never an “Environmental Activist” but I deem myself to be ECO-CONSCIOUS at the very least. What you give is what you get and what you get will sustain your soul. Our earth is a fragile planet with limited resources. I hope this “Boracay Incident” be a lesson to us all where everyone from individuals to businesses must reassess their daily choices and its environmental impact.
Fast Forward to October 2018. I would like to stay hopeful in this bold initiative to rehabilitate the Island. We shall see...