climb

something wicked boracay's way comes

pollution and boracay appearing in the same sentence isn't exactly breaking news. concerns about coliform on the island's famous waters was a hot topic not recently, and with the boom in local tourism, it isn't difficult to imagine the world's best beach turning into one of the world's ugliest islands. already, i find boracay's white beach to be a long strip of decay: a symbol of how fast we turn beautiful things into a wasteland, much like what we've done with the whole country. last thursday, i rose early to go for a jog on boracay's beach, and found the sewer near d-mall bleeding into the sea. the water coming out of the sewer was dark, and smelled like one of manila's dirty canals. it was ugly. and the sewer water is finding other ways into the beach. one night, somewhere between hey jude and summer place, the path bubbled with water from under the sand. no, a spring hadn't been found. the water draining into our sinks and toilets were spilling into the beach. it smelled awful.

i have never been a huge fan of boracay, although i have been there five times. it isn't a place to relax: there are far too many dizzying temptations, and i find the suffocating commercialism disgusting. i particularly find it utterly sad that you find all these huge companies burrowing their names and their brands into the details, washing away boracay's fine sand. how do you peel off the concerns of city life, when you trade your leather shoes and tie for a pair of slippers and board shorts that are probably just as expensive? the island makes you conscious about the smallest things. i once offered a beer to someone, and he declined. i prodded him, asking, what's wrong with one beer? and he replied: "boracay." i would have said: "that's so gay" at the time, but i've realized that it is this vanity which the notion of island paradise promotes: a sparkling beach with an endless strip of white sand, and beautiful people parading their glorious bodies into the sunset.

i am mortified by the thought that at the height of summer, people prettier than most make at least P3,000 for half a day's work giving out chewing gum, inviting strangers to an event, handing out free samples of certain products, and deigning to pose with all of us who happen to be plain, who cannot walk down white beach in just a pair of shorts without hearing snickering remarks from others. i shouldn't mind them, i know. but this concept can inspire depression in others who cannot think beyond the artificial esteem created by this ultimately temporary glaze.

and because we have so blindly equated boracay with paradise, we look around at all our other islands and point at them, and say: here's the next boracay. i was particularly unimpressed with an episode of 100% pinoy in which they searched for the next boracay, and they came upon anawangin. they said it was a discovery, as though it had never been there, as though it had only recently emerged from the sea. it is wrong to think that paradise is a strip of white beach, where the water sparkles under the shade of leaning coconut trees. it is even worse to say that boracay is the standard of paradise, to which all other beautiful places must conform. rather, for me, boracay is synonymous to exploitation and unchecked human intrusion. i mentioned anawangin: i first came to that cove in 2005, and found it to be coming right out of a dream. few people outside of pundaquit knew about the place, and it was relatively unexplored. we camped for free, and enjoyed the solitude that the long, concave beach set against a young forest of pine provided. today, however, people from manila come down upon anawangin with an impunity that's turning this slice of wonder into another boracay: dirty, expensive, crowded.

i remember answering many questions about anawangin. it felt as if no one else had been there, and nothing had been written about it. i was generous with my knowledge, and shared information, in my desire to allow others access to an experience that was both unique and special. i wanted others to enjoy anawangin as i did. but unfortunately, many wish only to enjoy, but refuse any form of responsibility. i should have kept the place secret. i should have said: there is no such beach! it was borne out of imagination. i should have scribbled my thoughts on a a leaf, and allow it to rot, rather than publish my story on a blog, that, some way or another, gets read by people who are of a different persuasion than me. not that i am responsible for what's happening to anawangin. keeping quiet would have only delayed this invasion. now, i am left with no choice but to look elsewhere, finding other places where solitude surrounds me, and only my thoughts would keep me company. and i would want that place to remain hidden.
Anawangin
The Lone Rider wrote about it too.
http://thelonerider.com/2008/apr/anawangin/anawangin.shtml
Re: Anawangin
modesty aside, my blog was the first to write about anawangin in 2005. i had written about it again on two separate occasions when i returned. now, a bus full of people offload themselves onto anwangin and leave behind an enormous amount of trash! it's very sad.
i have been to glan in saranggani but i don't think we went specifically to gumasa. the places are relatively undiscovered, at least, not in the commercial way. i'd like to collect many of these places, talk about them, and NOT give instructions on how to get there, or at least EMPHASIZE that it's hard to get there, so the people who've destroyed/are destroying boracay and anawangin won't find them. thanks for sharing and for dropping by as well! :D