Monday, February 1, 2010

Boracay: the quiet morning after

In the early hours of Saturday morning, Boracay wears another face. After a night of raucous revelry by party-goers, the morning hours are peaceful and quiet, with White Beach almost deserted and on this occasion, immaculately clean and spared from algae.

While most of the previous night's revelers are still in the middle cycle of their inebriated sleep, sellers of all sorts are already awake -- sunglass vendors, boat tour hawkers, souvenir makers, even the manghihilots (masseuse) -- looking forward to more visitors and more brisk business for the weekend.
COMMERCE CHAMELEON. Most of the shops on the beachfront are not yet open, the lively if often city-like commerce waiting to unfold. The stretch of White Beach, especially on Station 1, are awash with a seemingly unbroken row of stores, shops and accommodations. There's a Starbucks, Yellow Cab Pizza, even an Andok's, just to name a few. It's hard to imagine how much unbridled commerce the island, especially White Beach, can accommodate in the next year or so. But for the time being, I take the time to enjoy the quiet beach.
WHY SELL SEASHELLS ON THE SEASHORE? On the luggage check-in at the Caticlan airpot on my flight back to Manila, the Korean couple ahead of me had their stash of seashells confiscated at the airport. A good measure really though I told the airport security that I saw the tourist center stocked with shells and merchandise made with Boracay sand. The police on the beach have been lax in enforcing the law against bringing out shell and sand, the security guy told me. I wonder what the tourists may think of this, some sort of m.o. where the police allows the trade and the airport security confiscates the items for later reselling?

It may help to educate visitors and locals on conservation and preservation, not just tell them it's against the law. One vendor in D'Mall told me Boracay sand will always be there anyway for as long as the waves kiss the White Beach shore. Makes one think how little regard we have for paradise, thinking of the here and now and not the future.
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