Boracay as a Model for Carabao Island
Boracay, an island in the province of Aklan, still remains as one of the world’s best island getaways. In February this year, Boracay was named the top island getaway of Travel+Leisure Magazine (ABS-CBN, 2013). The island has always been part of many other rankings of beaches and island destinations. Amidst all the praises that the island has gained, many issues have risen and still exist in the island. In 1997, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources announced that Boracay’s waters off Long Beach were contaminated with coliform (Trousdale, 1999).
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This was blamed on inadequate sewage treatment and is aggravated by the large number of tourists arriving in the island (Lujan, 2003). This is still a problem in the island until now and yet tourists still flock to Boracay all year round. In the documentary, “Ang Tagong Boracay”, it was shown that resorts are still being put up in Boracay even with over 300 resorts already lining up the beachfront. This has happened despite directives from the national government to stop building in Boracay.
Tourists still flock to Boracay despite the overcrowding and waste management issues to see what it is about this island that makes it world famous. Many other tourists go here for the famous night parties of Boracay. And of course, Boracay’s famous powdery white sand which is actually pulverized calcium carbonate from dead corals is also a reason for the numerous tourists in the area. Carabao Island is an island an hour away from Boracay. It is under the municipality of San Jose of Romblon. Carabao Island has white sand beaches as well. Many of its residents are workers in Boracay.
The local government plans to make the island a tourism destination. Documentaries such as the “Ang Tagong Boracay” create awareness for people about the situation in Boracay but this has been a long-term problem of the island. And there have been numerous news and journal articles about the situation there and still only band-aid solutions have been presented. Arrivals remain to be strong in Boracay (Trousdale, 1999). This is one of the reasons why local leaders seem to ignore the fact that Boracay has become a crowded island with corresponding environmental problems.
One instance is how they refuse to recognize that the algal blooms are partially a result of the rapid development of tourism facilities without proper planning (Pillout, 1996 in Trousdale, 1999). Management must be consistent and proactive (Trousdale, 1999). In the case of Boracay, the management is the local government. The local government should be responsive. Solutions must not only be for the short term. Trousdale stated that long term threats to future generations come from the undesirable cumulative effects of development which result from the absence of day-to-day management of the island.
Many ordinances and policies have already been passed to solve Boracay’s many problems. The key to this is the proper and efficient implementation of these policies. The local government must be watchful and strict in implementing these policies and national government directives. Good governance is needed to identify and prioritize the community values and fuse them with technical answers that are most suitable. Development must always be planned. Pattaya is an example of unplanned and spontaneous coastal development in Southeast Asia (Wong, 1998).
It has a 300-meter stretch of bars, nightclubs and massage parlors. Unplanned development has caused environmental degradation where the island’s natural tree cover has been removed, wetlands have been converted into open sewers, the beachfront land has been exploited and sea and beach has been polluted due to inadequate sewage treatment. Careful planning must be applied in Carabao Island before they start the implementation of their plans to open it as a tourism destination. According to Wong, environmental impact assessments are very important especially in coastal tourism developments.
This must not just be done for big projects only but must also cover small constructions as well. Wong notes that Boracay demonstrates that small-scale tourism is possible. However, when tourist arrivals increase and planning was not done, the undesirable impacts can be serious. Therefore, planning really is important. Standards must also be enforced (Wong, 1998). Much like the policies, they must be implemented and regularly checked. For example, there are already developments in the disposal of sewage.
Pipes must be regularly checked for cracks to avoid groundwater contamination. This also, lessens the need for additional costs once contamination occurs. Boracay is a good example of what not to do in tourism destinations. Through the efforts of the national government, the local government, tourism organizations, non-government organizations and the locals, Boracay can still be fixed. What they need is a workshop with representatives from each of the sectors to talk about the existing issues of the island.
At the end of the workshop, new policies should be crafted and implemented. Carabao Island, on the other hand, must first consult with the locals. This is one of the important steps in tourism planning as they know more about the place. Careful planning, good governance and constant checking of the plan must be maintained throughout the implementation of the tourism plan. The combination of these guarantees that a certain destination remains sustainable. Bibliography Lujan, N. (2003, January 20-21). Boracay’s Road to Ruin.
Retrieved March 5, 2013, from Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism: http://pcij. org/stories/2003/boracay. html Malig, J. (2013, February 21). Boracay named 2012 world’s best island. Retrieved March 5, 2013, from ABSCBNnews. com: http://www. abs-cbnnews. com/lifestyle/07/06/12/boracay-named-2012-worlds-best-island Trousdale, W. J. (1999). GOVERNANCE IN CONTEXT: Boracay Island, Philippines. Annals of Tourism Research , 840-867. Wong, P. (1998). Coastal tourism development in Southeast Asia. Ocean & Coastal Management , 89-109.