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CONFIDENTIAL: NOT FOR PUBLICATION
Boracay Island: A Case for Reversing Island Tourism Over-Development to Promote Sustainable Tourism By Roselle Tenefrancia Introduction “Hardly has a last paradise been discovered than everyone converges on it so fast that it quickly becomes a paradise lost.” – A quote about Bali Boracay Island in the province of Aklan, Panay Island, is a boot-shaped island with an area of 1,006.64 hectares (10.0664 sq km). It is an island under the political jurisdiction of the town of Malay, composed of three smaller units of government (called Barangays). It is part of the Visayan group of islands in the Central Philippines.
CONFIDENTIAL: NOT FOR PUBLICATION
According to geologists, Boracay’s physical environment comes from the uplifted remnants of an ancient reef platform which covered the shallower areas of Sibuyan Sea. As the uplifting and deposition of calcium carbonate continued, the continental shelves were formed and two islets that used to be separate were joined together, forming the shape of Boracay Island.1 Mangrove systems in the marshlands, tropical trees and plants that are habitats to endemic animal species, rock formations developed from the tides, and coastal and marine environment, comprise a biodiverse eco-system that is characteristic of the Philippine archipelagic and marine systems.
Dean Apistar, Roxie Diaz, Danilo Delizo, Jr., Kathryn Rosell, Anna Meneses, and Pablo Rojas. Summary Field Report: A Coral Reef Survey of Selected Sites in Boracay Island Reef Malay, Aklan, Philippines, November 8-13, 2009. The Coastal Conservation and Education Foundation, Inc., Cebu City, 59p, citing Punongbayan, 1990.
and still counting. and the Filipino and non-Filipino expatriates – who have all become stewards of the island in their own right. Boracay Island was one of the islands in the Philippines declared as “tourist zones and marine reserves”. Boracay being the jewel island of Philippine tourism is rapidly depleting its resources to cater to more and more commercial tourist needs. 10 November 1978. It was in the 1990s when the character of the general physical make-up and the culture and subcultures of the people changed significantly. tourism industry in the country was boosted significantly as Boracay became a brand – the best white sand beaches with the amenities and activities of a developed city. and eventually corporate developers from the major cities in the country. The original motivation for travelers to come to the island – the white powder beaches. rich marine life and the serenity of the island – has been relegated to the sidelines in the planning process. with all the tourism developments existing on the island. including inland marshlands. urban development became rapid. The Boracay experience is a case study for the ecotourism industry. The challenge for Boracay is this: Can a rapid and unregulated urban tourism development project that went wrong have the chance to reverse it through a united island community and through the power of nature’s healing hands? Impact of the national and local laws and policies on Boracay’s development In 1978. On the aspect of ecology. lack of proper government control resulted in ecological imbalance to the marine environment. were very rich up to the early 1980s. the inland waters on the hills and marshlands down to the low tide mark of the sea have been claimed by various individuals and business owners. tourism and marine life conservation. Coves And Peninsulas In The Philippines As Tourist Zones And Marine Reserve Under The Administration And Control Of The Philippine Tourism Authority. The pristine character of the whole island and the unique quality of the sands on its several beaches were the primary motivation for travelers to visit the natural attraction. said islands require the concentrated efforts of both the government and private . The texture of the sands was much finer. From then on. About 25. The Boracay experience can also be considered a social experiment because a society and culture of various nationalities in a small island setting is evolving – a community of members who contribute their own cultures into a new society that is unique to Boracay. leaving a natural legacy for the future generations to cherish. There is a new opportunity to reflect on what Boracay used to be – nature and environment at its best – and move forward to re-branding the island as a world-class ecotourism destination and a home to the new stewards of the island.2 Any development projects or construction for any purpose were not allowed without the 2 Proclamation 1801. Every inch of space. According to long-time locals and the local indigenous people. the natural contour and physical attributes of the island are experiencing stress. The marine life and flora on the island. these natural marine resources offer great potential and tremendous advantage in the growing worldwide interest in aquatic sports.3 CONFIDENTIAL: NOT FOR PUBLICATION The beaches on the island are laden with talcum-like white sands. Urban development on Boracay Island became the priority for tourism for the past two decades which placed the Island on the list of the world’s top tourism destinations. from the highest point of the island. more powdery and whiter more than two decades ago. the changes on the sands over the years began in the 1980s when tourism developments began to sprout. The following are the underlying principles of this proclamation: the Philippines abound with natural beauty and potentials for aquatic sports.000 residents are estimated to be residing on the island – a mixture of local Aklanon. In the meanwhile. Declaring Certain Islands.
With the increase in number of tourists came a corresponding increase in development. According to locals. 1586. while areas set aside as aesthetic potential tourist spots are identified as environmentally critical areas areas (B. 1298 [26 February 1983]. The then Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA) was tasked to delineate well defined geographic areas within the zone with potential tourism value. The fact that most parts of the island are unclassified land. (December 14. 4 Later in 1981. depending on the weather. Proclaiming certain areas and types of projects as environmentally critical and within the scope of the environmental impact statement system established under Presidential Decree No. tourist arrivals in the 70s and 80s increased because of foreign expat travelers visiting the place from other Southeast Asian countries. the Aklan Provincial Health Officer. which encouraged European backpackers to trek this Philippine paradise island. prostitution. who are steadily increasing in number. Philippine Coast Guard. promulgate rules and regulations.4 This implies that all projects within the zone were to undergo EIA. 3 Id. Another theory was the publication of a German travel writer’s account of his visit to the island in the 80s. and that it had been desirable to curb these undesirable activities and to maintain the Island's pristine beauty and natural attractions. PTA spearheaded the construction of the main road plying through the middle of the island. illegal gathering of shells and corals and other illicit acts.4 CONFIDENTIAL: NOT FOR PUBLICATION approval of the Philippine President. presidential Proclamation No. to the Philippine Tourism Authority. [II] Resource Extractive Industries. followed by the sewerage system. Two of the identified environmentally critical projects are: forest occupancy and extraction of mangrove products (A. and coordinate the integrated development of these areas for the optimum use of natural assets and attractions as well as existing facilities. [b] Forestry Projects. The LOI recognized that the place had been frequented equally by local and foreign tourists. was issued identifying environmentally critical projects and for any development in areas declared as environmentally critical that would be subject to the environmental impact statement system. 5 Letter of Instructions (LOI) No. regardless of the reasons for the rising number of tourist arrivals. One theory they attribute this increased popularity to was the filming in 1970 on Boracay Island of the movie “Too Late The Hero” starring Michael Caine. A few pump boats. which had an airport then five hours away from the jump-off point to the Island.  and . Public transportation on the island has not been developed until the roads main road was completed. However. meaning that most of these lands are still considered forest land. 1981). Up until the late 90s. One of the underlying principles is that the national leadership mandates the establishment of such a system to regulate and minimize the environmental impacts of projects and undertakings which may significantly affect the quality of the environment. the Constabulary. and to all concerned.5 With this came the need to prevent the proliferation of activities that would degrade the ecosystem and destroy the natural sectors in the development of their tourism potential. with the consequent problems incident to influx of tourists such as drug use. Boracay can also be reached by land from Kalibo (2 hours away) which had a pier for boats coming from Manila. Source of water was still ground water until the 90s. 2146. carried passengers from Caticlan to the Island. . mostly fishing boats which doubled as passenger boats. The boat trip took about five to ten minutes.3 A 1981 proclamation would further place Boracay Island under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) System having been declared a tourist zone in 1978. the Commission of Immigration and Deportation. coming to Boracay was only via land transfer from Iloilo City. ). Passengers would be brought directly to the long White Beach boat stations. makes any development or construction project on the island an environmentally critical project. set in the last months of World War II. the President subsequently recognized the increasing number of tourists visiting Boracay Island. from North to South.
The main agenda of this new government were to re-establish democracy.7 The peace and order situation in the country and the unstable political situation in the Philippines during the period of transition were contributing factors to how tourism planning and direction have not been institutionalized. . However. through the Department of Tourism. 8 Id. recognized the impact of the tourism industry on Boracay Island and its marine and coastal environments.org. While local government units claimed the right to manage the island on different levels.ph/agenda21/pssd. The Mayor of Malay was also mandated to suspend the issuance of building permits for any structure on the Island until the Philippine Tourism Authority would promulgate a development plan.6 Apparently. without any direction from the government’s tourism department. 18 June 2010. including the island of Boracay. Tourism for the country at that time was already on its ripe enviable stage in the Southeast Asian region.10 The power struggle for control over the tourist island became stronger. agrarian reform rights and eradicating traces of the previous administration. Balabag and ManocManoc. the close friends of the previous President were made to own islands that enriched them more while the dictatorship was still in place. the Department of Tourism developed the Boracay Island Development Master Plan (BIDMP) to address the calls to create a master plan for the sustainable development of the island. 1989. Diving and other leisure activities were also introduced within this decade. maximizing the participation of and collaboration with the private sector in planning. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources initiated the drafting of the Philippine Strategy for Sustainable Development in 1987. The BIDMP dealt with tourism development policies aimed at promoting development of the island while ensuring the protection and nurturing of the natural environment. In 1986. Nevertheless. In 1990.8 In the meantime. and the Barangays of Yapak. a new Philippine government was installed after toppling a 20-year dictatorship.5 CONFIDENTIAL: NOT FOR PUBLICATION attractions of the Island. the tourism sector. the BIDMP was not implemented and is left as an archive document in the DOT’s library. In Boracay. the Municipality of Malay. Sunset of Tourism. Despite the inconvenience of traveling to the island at that time. Malaya newspaper. The sectors identified. Development guidelines for the management and regulation of the island as a whole were formulated for these objectives while taking into consideration the conservation of the natural environment. the construction of more buildings became more rampant despite this directive from the President. Lito Banayo. 9 Philippine Strategy for Sustainable Development: A Conceptual Framework. the island was placed as one of the best beaches in the tourism map by backpacker Europeans. and the socio-cultural development of its people.9 The strategy aimed to address specifically the adverse impact of growth and development. and the depletion and degradation of natural resources due mainly to misuse and over exploitation. The law that gave powers to the LGUs in 1991 was the basis for staking claim for local governance of tourism projects in the Philippines. these units are the Province of Aklan. and electricity and fresh water were still non-existent. This situation was brought about by the devolution of the powers of the DOT to the various local government units (LGUs).htm 10 1991 Local Government Code. Unfortunately.psdn. encouraging more people to visit the island. the degradation of the resources of the country has been continuing. According to a former member of the 6 7 Id. http://www. unabated and unregulated activities on the island continuously caused stress on the resources of the island. however. did not include the tourism industry. In 1983.
6 CONFIDENTIAL: NOT FOR PUBLICATION Philippine Tourism Authority. Dela Peña (The Philippine Star) Updated January 18. “Ramshackle lean-tos built helter-skelter by foreigners and their native cohorts dotted the landscape. the policies that will foster the sustainable development of Boracay. 24 October 2004.com/Article. enacted in the early 90’s as landmark legislation providing decentralization of central government authority. Although this seemed like a new mandate. . 2010 http://balita. and upon approval by the Secretary of Tourism and Aklan Governor. 2010 12:00 AM. Prior to the suspension. b.14 improvement on the sewage services. In a subsequent Order. and the continuing development could not have been stopped. g.15 created significant changes on the trend of tourism development on the island. Boracay undergoes water "makeover" infra program February 3. 11 12 Lito Banayo. municipal and provincial levels and to the national government. with nothing else but inutile support from the DOT. 706. Worse. Executive Order 377. it was simply a reiteration of the instructions given to the PTA and the Mayor or Malay in 1983. Boracay was left to the tender mercies of LGU officials who had absolutely no idea about environmental safeguards or carrying capacity.”11 President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo reinforced the 1970s policy of placing the management of Boracay Island under the Philippine Tourism Authority through a newly created group called the Eminent Persons Group-Boracay.16 President Arroyo reiterated the PTA’s control over the island including the authority to suspend the issuance of building permits in collaboration with the Malay Mayor.12 The group shall be composed of various representatives from national government agencies and local residents. Cause of proper land use projects and practices for Boracay and its marginal islands.13 improvement and expansion of potable water systems. these upgrades would surely entice more tourist operators to invest on the island. http://www. Coordinate enterprises within Boracay which may be necessary to the sustainable development of Boracay.com/p/news-articles/manila-bulletin/mi_7968/is_2010_May_1/esplanade-boracays-road-eastcoast/ai_n53392686/ 14 Manila Water. According to the locals. such as road expansions and construction of new roads. Sunset of Tourism. Manila Bulletin. The only difference was the addition of a bureaucratic process of including the Tourism Secretary and the Provincial Governor for approval before any suspension could be implemented. c. d.philstar. e. This Order did not achieve its objective. 1 May 2010. f. which ideally would have encouraged local participation in the management of the island. Malaya newspaper. Priorities the major projects of Boracay as consistent with the plans for sustainable development. http://findarticles. Formulate plans for the sustainable development of tourism in Boracay. The focus on infrastructure development. 13 Esplanade: Boracay's new road in the East Coast. Recommend to the Philippine Tourism Authority such rules and regulations as may be necessary to ensure compliance with the requirement of the Island's sustainable development. Authorizing An Eminent Persons Group To Oversee The Sustainable Development Of Boracay Tourism Authorizing An Eminent Persons Group To Oversee The Development Of Boracay Sustainable Tourism. Ensure the preservation of the natural and cultural heritage of the island. to their elected official in the barangay. the Local Government Code. The functions of the EPG-Boracay are the following: a. PTA tie up for Boracay water project By Zinnia B.ph/2010/02/03/boracayundergoes-water-makeover-infra-program/ 16 Executive Order No. left the matter of tourism estate planning and implementation largely in the hands of local governments. 18 June 2010. the suspension only lasted for six months. 18 January 2008. Advocate to the people of Boracay. permits for substantial developments were already issued.aspx?articleid=541597 15 Lilly Ramos. mandating the Secretary of Tourism as PTA chair to administer and control the mandates of PTA pursuant to Proclamation 1081. With the existing hundreds of tourist establishments and thousands of households.
Malay. vs. reserved for right-of-way and which shall form part of the area reserved for forest land protection purposes.com/article. was also mandated. it is now also made up of lands classified as either forestland for protection purposes and agricultural land.19 Resulting from these legal developments on its land status. 13-A Block J (Protection Purposes) Forestland A and D 17 Proclamation No. Comprehensive Land Use Plan for Boracay Island. http://www.Rules and Regulations Governing the Use of Forestlands for Tourism Purposes.R. The right of the President to classify lands in Boracay Island was further affirmed by a Supreme Court decision in 2008.1 under Policy and Legal Framework. Hon. 13-A Block D (Protection Purposes) DELINEATION OF FORESTLAND BOUNDARY Boracay Island. 36 & 46 LOCATION: Brgys. 13-A Block B (Protection Purposes) PROJECT No.20 To mitigate the impact on the “land crisis” involving business owners operating within the 400 hectare declared forestlands. a comprehensive land use plan for Boracay Island was initiated by the Department of Tourism.18 As a consequence of the proclamation and the Supreme Court decision. however. 8 October 2008. the President classified Boracay Island into 400 hectares of reserved forest land for protection purposes and 628. the parcels of which are alienable and disposable.96 hectares of agricultural land (alienable and disposable). Jose Yap. the DENR came up with the Forest Land Use Agreement for Tourism Purposes (FLAgT).7 CONFIDENTIAL: NOT FOR PUBLICATION A Proclamation by President Arroyo caused confusion among the stakeholders on the island. Aklan RADT No. 22 http://www. Under the same Proclamation. 13-A Block F (Protection Purposes) Kilometers Delineated: Legends: PROJECT No. 13-A Block I (Protection Purposes) PROJECT No. Yapak & Manoc – manoc Malay Aklan 27 PROJECT No.1. 167707.philstar.21 This. 13-A Block A (Protection Purposes) PROJECT No.3. 13-A Block E (Protection Purposes) Municipality : Province: PROJECT No. particularly those who are land claimants.22 PROJECT No.abs-cbnnews. Boracay Island is not just a tourist zone. 13-A Block H (Protection Purposes) PROJECT No.com/nation/regions/10/13/08/scruling-paves-way-new-boracay-land-use-plan 20 Section 3. setting the limits on developments on the island. 19 SC ruling paves way for new Boracay land use plan--DOT chief. 13-A Block G (Protection Purposes) Corner Monuments Barangay Boundary Delineated (km) (Subject for Correction) For Delineation (km) PROJECT No. et al. 13-A Block C (Protection Purposes) PROJECT No. 2009. is still not being implemented due to the opposition of the stakeholders who are advocating for land titles to complete their full ownership of the land. G. despite the ruling of the Supreme Court confirming the Proclamation.: Balabag. Volume 1. 21 DENR DAO 2004-28 . Classifying Boracay Island Situated In The Municipality Of Malay. 705 (Revised Forestry Reform Code Of The Philippines) 18 DENR et al.17 In this Proclamation.aspx?articleid=463340 . Province Of Aklan Into Forestland (Protection Purposes) And Into Agricultural Land (Alienable And Disposable) Pursuant To Presidential Decree No. 1064. a proviso for a 15-meter buffer zone on each side of the centerline of roads and trails.
24 This team shall translate the plan into operational level shall be done to ensure that the priority programs. and other national government agencies with direct stakes in the island. k) illegal reclamation and occupation of wetlands. The Atis who used to roam the lands freely have now become beggars in their own land. The legal policies and mandates vested in various government units and national agencies have complicated the management process of Boracay Island as a tourism zone and at the same time a forest and agricultural land. According to an informal interview with the Ati Mission of the Holy Rosary Parish in Boracay Island. 23 This 25-year master plan was drafted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. n) increasing generation of toxic and hazardous wastes. l) illegal occupation/squatting within forestland areas by residential and commercial establishments. LGU of Malay. and a Multi-Sectoral Monitoring and Evaluation Team. damage to habitat of wildlife. i) illegal exploitation and destruction of caves and cave resources. c) geo-hazards threat to the environment and surrounding communities. 9593. covering the period 2008-2033. m) excess of load on the threshold of the physical carrying capacity of the island. it is believed among the locals that the original inhabitants of the island were from the indigenous tribe of Panay Island. A saving grace to this decades-long dilemma could be the newly enacted Tourism Act of 2009. j) loss of biodiversity. growth and National Development. From what the Mission gathered from the current elders. 25 This team shall take charge of monitoring. g) solid wastes disposal. h) encroachment of easement and hampering of public access. Manila Times. This information is significant to document the history of Boracay. they can only trace back three generations of Atis living on the island. strategies and specific programs and projects that would address the identified environmental concerns.” meaning bubbles. Boracay Island as a Victim of its own Beauty Although there is no known written history of Boracay Island. and advising the concerned implementing organizations on the status of the plan implementation and the areas where resources and expertise should be put in place under the context of urgency and prioritization. Boracay Task Force. This Plan provides for the island’s development directions. Employment. 26 Republic Act No. 29 May 2010. . and o) imposition of 15 meter buffer zone on each side from the center line of roads and trails reserved for right of way that forms part of the area reserved for forestland protection purposes. f) prevalence of noise pollution due to muffler-less tricycles and other entertainment related activities. Business Group. One version claims that it came from the Inati (the Ati language) word “Borac” meaning.25 The CLUP that the Department of Tourism is already a document that addresses the proposal of the Plan to develop a land use plan for the island. and appropriating funds therefor (2009). Another version claims that it came from the Inati words “Bora. An Act Declaring a National Policy Framework for Tourism as an engine of Investment. The Atis are nomadic peoples who lived on subsistence. evaluating.27 The history of the name “Boracay” has several versions.26 The discussion of the provisions of the new law shall be included in the latter part of this paper. The Plan proposes the formation of the Multi-Sectoral Planning Team24. An updating and revision of the Plan to fit in to the existing and emerging demands for sustaining and enhancing the carrying capacity of the island towards achieving the dual objectives of a healthy and clean environment and economic development shall also be one of the functions of the Team. Enforcement and implementation mechanisms are still yet to be developed by the planning team. called the Atis. and Strengthening the Department of tourism and its attached Agencies to effectively and efficiently implement that policy. Provincial Government of Aklan. projects and policies shall be effectively and efficiently implemented with proper resource allocation and distribution.8 CONFIDENTIAL: NOT FOR PUBLICATION Another offshoot of the Proclamation 1084 is the Boracay Environmental Master Plan. d) salt water intrusion and its threat to the availability of ground water. e) deterioration of the state of air quality due to emission from motor vehicles. The Team shall be composed of representatives from the DENR. and “Bocay” meaning white. 27 Evan Tan. b) pollution of coastal waters. The Atis of Boracay. meaning cotton referring to the color and texture of the sands. Saturday. the Atis in Boracay lived on wild root crops and fruits and vegetables that grew on the island. 23 The environmental concerns identified in the Plan are as follows: a) flooding in low lying areas. again referring to the white sand beaches.
about 300 resorts ranging from hostel-type to 5-star luxury accommodations and 500 restaurants. the palm fringed white powdery sand beaches and coves. the industry players continued to entice mass tourism. dolphins.4%) while Barangay Yapak in the north has an area of 316 hectares (31. establishments decided to improve their standards by bringing in the comforts of an urbanized tourist destination.thenewstoday. The pure white powdery sands that cover the infamous 4-km stretch of the White Beach. repair shops. casual and contractual) mostly in hotels and restaurants. Without consideration to the impacts of profitdriven tourism activities on the environment. retail stores.000. One of the currently protected species that the government has taken notice of are the Flying Fruit Bats. Based on personal observation of the author and from informal interviews. the barangay with the smallest land area of 274 hectares comprising 27. the trees that covered most parts of the island. The residents back in the 70s were mostly the original dwellers such as the Atis and some locals from the Panay mainland who established homes and families. Aiming to please the more discriminating tourists.flying.protect. With it came the increase in migrants from various parts of the country – who were originally hired construction workers and eventually their immediate families – and later on from various parts of the world. In the 80s. By the late 90s and early years of the new 28 DENR requires Boracay developer to protect 'flying foxes'. comprised the ecological make up of the island that made it most promising in attracting foreign tourists. Most of these tourism developments are concentrated in the area of Barangay Balabag.000 room accommodations. educational institutions.4%). Currently. construction and property development companies.boracay.foxes. and a hundred different establishments ranging from retail. supermarkets.29 Barangay Balabag is where most of the famous 4km stretch of White Beach is located. mantas.info/2006/02/01/denr. Boracay Island is currently carrying about 8. The apparently conflicting legal mandates of various units and agencies of government became a major source of confusion on who is tasked to manage the developments in Boracay Island. the population of residents on the island has increased by 56%. have advanced the private interests of businessmen and tourism industry players who took the opportunity to their full advantage.requires. or who shall control and manage the development on the island.9 CONFIDENTIAL: NOT FOR PUBLICATION Later on in the 70s. transport and communication services.2% of the island. an influx of tourists was experienced by the island.000. 15% are itinerant vendors (hawkers selling goods and wares on the beach). the flying foxes and the vast marine life of turtles. 30 The estimated number of residents in 2008 was 16.30 Piecemeal policies and lack of integrated planning became a problem. This led to the proliferation of developments that did not necessarily comply with tourism standards that were set by various legal mandates. the estimated (unofficial) number of residents on the island is 25. medical facilities. around 40% are workers (regular.to. and many other services and establishments. Implementation was piecemeal as these policy documents were never integrated into a single mandate for all agencies and groups involved.html 29 Barangay ManocManoc in the south has an area of 416 hectares (41. http://www. small sharks and other diverse species of marine life. who catered mostly to the modest needs of the travelers who came to visit. tourists began to be lured to the beauty of the island. catering to both tourists and local hospitality service providers (such as resort staff) as well as expatriate residents. directives and local regulations. . the mangrove systems. 5% are resident establishment owners and expats. 40% are unemployed (these are family members of the workers and vendors). known to be seed dispersers that contribute to the degeneration of the island’s forest. In less than two years.28 But years of political indecision as to who is in charge.developer.
PhD.33 the relentless growth of tourism operations on the island is taking its toll on the environment. and Sustainable Energy: Current Situation and Future Prospects. Thailand after the tsumami. inconsiderate transport operators – all year round. Isla Verde. Ltd. where the weather is paradise-perfect. An improved water and sewage system that had cost millions to complete is not taken seriously by some stakeholders who refuse to pay the price for this development.com/News/boracay-tourismrecovers-from-typhoon. So-called “Band-Aid” solutions have been implemented to address the problems. El Nido. 32 Boracay’s road to destruction. Even nature cannot stop these inexorable business operations. Global Coral Reef Alliance August 20 2007 34 There are two seasons in Boracay: amihan (northeasterly winds blowing from November to June) and the habagat (southwestern winds blowing from July to October). Boracay Environmental Restoration. reports of coastal and marine degradation have been circulating. (2) The Philippines Boracay Environmental Infrastructure Project External Evaluator: Masashi Takano (Nomura Research Institute. Hence. But all is not lost. according to the business owners. An example of how the stakeholders of the island prioritize tourism is its fast recovery from the major storm that hit in December 2006 which caused massive destruction on the island and establishments. The incident hardly made it to national and international news despite the two-week no-power. Isla Verde. Philippines 1997 Thomas Goreau. Lujan. it is now a mass tourism destination known to the young travelers as a the best white sand beach party destination. Now. both from the public and the private sectors. even the social demographics have changed considerably. Goreau. Maya Goreau. were not prepared for the rapid urban and mass tourism development. James Cervino. obstinate beach vendors. El Nido. everything was “business as usual” for the resort operators. 2006. (3) Thomas J. James Cervino. Nature must have decided to give Boracay a rest from tourists. President. News reports and scientific studies have been the only public sources of information on the environmental state of the island. without letting the island rest. and Balicasag. tourist season is allyear-round. and Balicasag. no public data has been presented by any government agency on these concerns. Water Quality.html 33 Some examples of previous scientific studies: (1) Water Quality and Coral Reef Health In Boracay. the island is not given time to rest even during the “cleansing” season brought by the habagat winds. According to one local newspaper article. That is pretty much the story of the island. http://archives. local businesses which depend on tourism have to “realise that if resort owners want to keep attracting tourists. See http://www.10 CONFIDENTIAL: NOT FOR PUBLICATION millennium.31 However. similar to what happened in Phuket.enjoyphilippines. Even the local Coast Guard was given the discretion to allow boats to cross to and from the island despite storm warnings. The island’s resources were not managed properly.) Field Survey: December 2005January 2006 focusing on water and waste problems.34 What could have been kept as an island nature trip became a destination marred by concrete structures. the Boracay community has refused to distinguish between the seasons because. Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism. But two weeks after the storm hit the island.html. but no one wants responsibility over it. Maya Goreau. It is within the amihan season that the peak tourist arrivals happen. From a pristine and serene beach destination that has been hailed as one of the best by various international travel and tourism groups and publications with vibrant marine life it could boast of. . Manifesting in the degradation of the island’s natural resources and its natural ecosystem which various scientific groups have already studied and researched on. sewage problem was found to be the main cause of stress to the coral cover in the seas surrounding the island. It is also interesting to note that the Boracay businesses can recover quickly from a natural disaster. It is obvious that the people of the Island. Water Quality and Coral Reef Health In Boracay.net/others/special/2003/jan/20/20030120spe1.”32 Everyone in Boracay wants a piece of it. then they should pay the price of keeping the ecological balance of the island. Tomas Goreau. Nereo C.manilatimes. Philippines (1997). The habagat season brings about storms and strong waves. no-water situation. But in recent years. 31 In a 1997 water quality study conducted in Boracay.
35 The Commission’s report in 198736 popularized the term “sustainable development”. etc.40 Destinations—whether cities. the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development studied the dynamics of global environmental degradation and made recommendations to ensure the long-term viability of human society. Social sustainability refers to society's ability to absorb increasing tourist arrivals without adversely affecting or damaging indigenous culture. Environmental sustainability relates to the capacity of the natural and built environment to handle tourism without damage.11 CONFIDENTIAL: NOT FOR PUBLICATION Alternative Options for Boracay Island In 1986. and capability building. Institutional sustainability refers to a country’s commitment to sustainable development as manifested by the incorporation of sustainable principles into development planning. 39 Economic sustainability refers to maintaining growth rates at manageable levels. while maintaining cultural integrity. islands. 38 McVey (1993). 36 Our Common Future (1987) became the benchmark for thinking about the global environment. tourism is said to be sustainable if it: · Is economically viable · Promotes conservation of natural resources · Supports preservation of local culture · Takes a long-term perspective and is concerned with the well-being of future generations · Promotes equity. Cruz. environmental38 and institutional sustainability. the use of indicators for monitoring sustainability. Destinations have a lifecycle.39 From the review of literature. research. Towards Sustainable Tourism Development in the Philippines and Other Asean Countries: An Examination of Programs and Practices of National Tourism Organizations. which was defined as “tourism development that leads to management of all resources in such a way that economic. 37 Tourism Canada (1990). Tourist arrivals then begin to grow rapidly toward some theoretical carrying capacity. 40 Supra note 36. social and aesthetic needs can be fulfilled.—are products that are marketed for tourists to visit. A widely-accepted model of the lifecycle of a tourist destination had been developed. partnerships for sustainable development.” Consequently. the term sustainable tourism development was coined. towns. 41 Butler’s 1980 Tourism Area Life Cycle (TALC) model . 35 Reil G. 2003-06. the word spreads about its attractions and the amenities are increased and improved. and the presence of laws that promote sustainable development. PASCN Discussion Paper No.41 A destination begins relatively unknown and visitors initially come in small numbers restricted by lack of access. essential ecological processes. promoting tourism while keeping an eye on capacities to handle greater demand in order to avoid consumer dissatisfaction. which is labeled as Exploration. presence of monitoring and coordinating bodies for sustainable development. facilities and local knowledge. As more people discover the destination.”37 Four core elements of sustainability have been identified: economic. biological diversity and life support systems. which involves social and environmental limits. The rise from Exploration to Stagnation often happens very rapidly. which means sharing the benefits and risks of tourism · Engages multi-stakeholder participation in decision-making and management · Promotes cooperation and partnerships · Promotes responsibility and accountability in behavior and relationships · Is marketed responsibly · Is integrated into planning · Upholds respect for others · Emphasizes the importance of education. labeled as Development. labeled as Stagnation. social. which was defined as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
In 2007. or no longer existing. but the percentage of the increase has constantly declined. causing the resources that originally drew visitors to the destination to become corrupted. The days when independent and nature-loving (mostly European) backpackers would be hanging out on the beach quietly reading a book or sunbathing without any distraction.96%. 2004) Where is Boracay at this point? Based on the number of visitors coming to the island. the increase in tourist arrivals has more than doubled. . the increase in the Asian tourists should have affected the level of increase in tourist arrivals. Beginning 2005. In 2006. the numbers have steadily increased. it has reached Stagnation.43 The continuing marketing activities promoting the island are now geared towards a new tourist market – mostly group tourists who prefer modern tourism services and facilities. This is not a significant number but it appears inconsistent with the fact that a significantly increasing number of Chinese and Korean tourists have been visiting the island over the past few years.41%. Examples of things that could cause a destination to follow trajectories C and D are increased congestion and unsustainable development. 2010) Although there is an increase in the actual numbers. (Source: Department of Tourism Region 6. the percent increase went down to 10. and that the concepts and practices of destination recovery. It is also important to point out that the Law of Diminishing Returns could cause a destination to follow trajectories similar to those of C or D. 43 In 2005. could easily be applied to a destination in Decline as a result of the Law of Diminishing Returns. the number of foreign tourists also lowered by 2%.42 Hypothetical Evolution of a Tourist Area (Adapted from Miller and Gallucci. have been replaced by tourists walking around in groups of ten or more with a tour guide explaining to them the goods being sold at the open-air mall area. Examples of things that could cause a destination to follow trajectories A and B toward Rejuvenation are technological developments or infrastructure improvements leading to increased carrying capacity.49%. the many sailboats and motorized boats crowding 42 Id. the famous restaurants at the center of the main beach. It is also important to note that the number of foreign tourists has declined beginning 2008 by 5%.29%. there are subsets of possible outcomes beyond Stagnation. the percentage of increase from 2004 was 16.67%. the percentage increase dropped to 2. the degree of the increase has been declining. From 1990 to 2005. the percent increase came down to 6.12 CONFIDENTIAL: NOT FOR PUBLICATION However. as applied to destinations recovering from a disaster. And in 2009. but it did not. while local tourists increased in number. In 2009. The trajectory E usually happens after a disaster or a crisis. the percentage increase went down further to 7. In 2008.
Given this social structure prone to inequity and personalism. All these services. the overzealous men on the beach who sell sunglasses. Further. the local businesses have not benefitted significantly. improvement of the sewage treatment facility and service. . locality or personal connection. Expansion of road networks. unplanned and ungoverned mass tourism development taking toll on its environment. pearls. However. are some of the ongoing infrastructure activities on the island. enhanced water pipeline systems. Also. In 1997. MSc. Philippine society is often controlled by a powerful elite that furthers its interests – which may run contrary to environmental and social interests.45 This scenario is actually a stumbling block for a movement to bring Boracay back to its original state. Mary Ann Chen Ng. hats. more primordial bonds". Is eco-tourism a future option for the island? "Philippine society is largely maintained by the astute manipulation of strategic ties along the basis of kinship. In this sense. religion and sects". adventure sea. Philippines.000 residents to 25. from 11. Infrastructure developments are underway.13 CONFIDENTIAL: NOT FOR PUBLICATION the shores. the increase in tourist arrivals does not reflect on local income. Boracay Island became a victim of rapid."44 In a culture of conflicting interests. Despite being underpinned by strong personal religious values. region of origin. New buildings and new property developments are still ongoing. Boracay is hopefully moving towards where trajectories A and B are – leading to Rejuvenation. In Boracay. the island’s capacity to maintain quality social and health services has also declined. such as those offered by the family.and land-sports activities. following the lifecycle of a tourist destination. it may be difficult for local elites to allow an authentically empowered local and/or indigenous community to exist. a study on the carrying 44 45 Pertierra. With improved infrastructure and more controlled and monitored developments on the island. "socially responsible" civil society groups themselves are often members of the local elite. except for road expansion. This is a manifestation that the island has reached its capacity threshold – both in economic and social terms. 2002 Mulder (2001) argues that contemporary Philippine society's response to globalization seems to be closer identification to "more particularistic. with a government characterized by personalism. corporations and private stakeholders based on the island. let alone control the benefits of ecotourism.000 in a span of less than 5 years. ecotourism may become a tool for increased marginalization and authentic alienation of local communities in ecotourist destinations. See Ethics and Attitudes Towards Ecotourism in the Philippines. there is a proposal to build a world class hospital with a well equipped trauma center and well trained emergency response teams. individuals engage in practical tactics for success. For social services. are spearheaded by the private sector. As an ecological experiment that went wrong. A second-point of entry – a jetty port – is underway to ease the vehicular traffic on the main road and establishing an alternative entry point to ensure safety during the rainy season. the possibility of rejuvenation becomes greater. Although the Department of Tourism registered an 11 billion peso gross receipts from Boracay tourists in 2009. Eubios Ethics Institute. It is at this point of the so-called Rejuvenation stage that Boracay can instill the principles of sustainable tourism development. according to the business owners.
However. Although the land indicator has not exceeded its carrying capacity. At present. Proposed Solutions The problem with the Boracay case is not the lack of policy or clear standards under the laws. is eco-tourism a future option for the island? The answer is yes. Resident Perceptions (General Perceptions). it was recently reaffirmed in 2008 when the President instructed the PTA to suspend building permits. Sewage treatment is now being run by a private company that targets to complete rehabilitation of the sewage plant by end of this year or early next year. Water is now tapped from the mainland source (Nabaoy River in Malay). Tourist perceptions (Crowding . The same with the beaches. for sure. where the parameter used is tourist perception on beach overcrowding. the findings showed that it is not an expandable resource. Policy basis goes back to the 70s presidential proclamations which already laid down the basic requirements for ensuring sustainability in the tourist zones such as Boracay Island.White Beach Only. Physical Parameter (Ground Water Quality. 48 Supra note 46. three indicators (ground water quality. Ground Water Quantity. these indicators have expanded through the infrastructure projects that address the issues.000 arrivals. it was the intention of the study to focus growth management issues in a way that would help address the more relevant question of “How much and what kind of change is acceptable on Boracay?” The findings of the analysis show that 40% of the 16 indicators47 were found to have exceeded the island’s carrying capacity.14 CONFIDENTIAL: NOT FOR PUBLICATION capacity of Boracay has been conducted. To answer the question. November 2997. Using the physical parameter. 46 William Trousdale. while two indicators (ground water quantity and marine water quality) were unsustainable. Transport (Air access. Vehicles). Solid waste is being addressed by the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) in each barangay on the island. the DOT is anticipating the increase in the number of 27. Regional Government). Land.48 The trend of change seems to be the expansion and upgrade of infrastructure to accommodate more of the tourists’ and residents’ needs. 49 The Department of Tourism (DOT) is targeting a 2. Boat transport from mainland. b. The identifiable successes in the aspect of governance on Boracay Island are the initiatives taken by the national government and the local stakeholders from the private sector to address some issues. Marine Water Quality.46 By establishing technical capacity numbers and answering the question of “How much is too much?”. Governance (LGU. respecting the local government units’ power to approve and implement the same) . General Perceptions).7 million tourism arrivals by 2018. but it is interesting to note that currently there are already an estimated number of 25.345 by 2018. DOT.000 residents living on the island. Roads and Road System on Boracay. sewage and solid waste) exceeded the island’s carrying capacity. Sewage. d. Without these proclamations being overturned (in fact. c. Carrying Capacity Considerations: The Need For Managing Change In A Unique Tourism Destination. 47 The 16 indicators studied using five parameters are the following: a. the policy statements remain good law. . Solid Waste). Other -DENR.49 The acknowledgement of the damage to the immediate environment of Boracay caused by lack of planning and governance has created an opening for more sustainable tourism development plans and projects that will minimize if not avoid adverse impact to the ecological balance. but 2009 already reported a 700. Crowding – All Beaches. Further. this brings the discussion on the more sustainable approach to rehabilitating the island without completely stopping tourist arrivals and infrastructure developments. e.
50 51 Republic Act 9593. changing the designation of the marine protected areas (MPA) from Fish Sanctuaries to Marine Parks where some water sports such as snorkeling and diving are allowed. Inside these sanctuaries.shtml) being promoted by more than 30 dive shop operators on the island. The Barangay Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Councils (BFARMCs) are deputized to oversee the activities and enforce the policies in these areas. These include the following: 1. In 2009. The Tourism Act of 2009. Manoc-Manoc (Offshore) 2. These Fish Sanctuaries are portions of the coastal area designated for the preservation of fish and marine life. . Bunyugan Reef (recently declared in 2009). Tulubhan Reef 7. Sa-id to Sawang Reef (Sitio Bolabog) 6.50 The establishment of Tourism Economic Zones on Boracay Island can alleviate the burden of control and management of an overdeveloped island. Angol Point (Offshore) 3. Between Willy’s Place and Fridays (Fridays Reef) Ilig-Iligan Reef 4. Balinghai Reef 6. Balinghai Reef 5. Tulubhan Reef 4. snorkeling in these areas requires a fee of twenty pesos. Ilig-Iligan Reef 5. Despite the clear mandate. and vandalism/scraping of corals. eight snorkeling areas around Boracay Island were declared through Municipal Ordinance 162: 1.boracaydiver. Ideally. Section 2(b). A new law and a new plan are not necessary. Punta-Bunga Reef (recently declared in 2009) 9. at the local level. with sustainable tourism development as an integral component of national socioeconomic development. In 2001. Barangay Tambisaan. Lapus-Lapus Reef 7. MO 139 was amended by MO 271. However. Sa-Id Point Reef 8. Coral Garden (Off the shore of Casa Pilar) Under the regulations.com/scuba. the stumbling block has always been the lack of political will to enforce. dropping of anchors. The ordinances declaring marine protected areas51 in the seas around the island have already established the ground rules in limiting activities that are detrimental to the marine environment. Local government initiative The practical approach would be for local governments to create an implementation mechanism of the national policies laid down for sustainable development of tourism zones and areas. The Comprehensive Land Use Plan for Boracay Island completed in 2008 already serves as a template for planning for the establishment of enforcement and implementation systems.15 CONFIDENTIAL: NOT FOR PUBLICATION National government initiative The Philippine Tourism Act of 2009 is a significant document. Angol Point Reef 2. Currently there are 15 dive sites (see http://www. a Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) headed by the Municipal Mayor is tasked to manage these marine sanctuaries. dispensing of motor oil or other pollutants. fishing and collection of marine life is prohibited. management plans to sustain these sanctuaries have not been enforced. seven Fish Sanctuaries around Boracay Island were declared through the Municipal Ordinance (MO) 139. belching. Tourism in the Philippines is considered an indispensable element of the national economy and an industry of national interest and importance. In 2002. collection of corals and other marine products. Tambisaan and Crocodile Reef 3. Prohibitions include fishing.
tourism and no-build zones based on the Proclamation 1064 by the President is a very important component. socio-economic. peace. convenience and general welfare of the inhabitants on the island. land use and settlements.52 The Boracay Environmental Master Plan would further cover other environmental issues such as flooding. The sections in this Report describe the current environmental. air and water pollution. Dialogue must generate reciprocal accountability among these parties with regard to future investments. the CLUP defines strategic and specific measures on population management. (2) Spatial Development Strategy and Development Plans for Key Sectors to Support Implementation. joint-ventures and collaborative undertakings. practices and policies. By incorporating the CLUP into its program of action. economic and tourism development. wetland use and other physical aspects of development. tourism business. housing. Volume 1 provides an initial overview of the present situation in Boracay especially of the key sectors. such as the Zoning Ordinance from the CLUP. commercial. health. public-public partnership. environmental management. and management. and tourism consumers to maintain the natural wealth and social heritage of a destination. Promote and protect the health. the private sector has the potential to establish an industry initiative for sustainable tourism. The Plan encourages all concerned stakeholders to share their respective expertise and resources under the schemes of public-private partnership. safety. . Volume 2 These sectoral plans cover human and social development. and institutional development. open space and other functional areas within the island. and (c) Promote the orderly and beneficial development of the same. Solutions to adverse tourism impacts can be found in shared interest of local communities. (3) Zoning Ordinance. education. The plan will serve as a blueprint for the development and management of Boracay in the next 15 years. and. The delineation of areas for a residential. control and regulate future growth and development of Boracay Island in accordance with its Comprehensive Land Use Plan. forestry. and infrastructure conditions within Boracay Island including institutional arrangements and structures relevant to its planning. reciprocal 52 The CLUP is composed of three volumes: (1) Ecological and Situational Analysis.16 CONFIDENTIAL: NOT FOR PUBLICATION Dive Sites Around Boracay Island The CLUP was initiated by the Department of Tourism to come up with a single plan for everyone to follow. agricultural. industrial. Local governance includes private sector initiatives. such as Boracay Island. protection and sports and recreation. social welfare. development. that is. (b) Protect the character and stability of residential. comfort. commercial. infrastructure and utilities development. institutional. Volume 3 comprises the Zoning Ordinance that shall be enacted by the Municipality of Malay that aims to: (a) Guide. A product of workshops conducted early this year among stakeholders of the island.
Advocate to the people of Boracay. thereby ensuring accessible and affordable destinations throughout the country…” (Sec. Coordinate enterprises within Boracay which may be necessary to the sustainable development of Boracay. j.55 are mandated by law to provide technical assistance to the municipality of Malay. And even if the Local Government Code has devolved the powers to local government units. i. 1999. transparent. formerly the PTA. A tourism resource management that is broad-based. including the acquisition of equipment.17 CONFIDENTIAL: NOT FOR PUBLICATION between individual/private interests and social/public interests. regulation and supervision of business concessions.F.57 Currently. municipal and provincial levels and to the national government. and the provincial government of Aklan. Sustainable Development: A Local Authority Perspective. According to the law. its development needs an integrated approach to addressing the issues and achieving sustainable development. Department of Economic and Social Affairs. 2. 3. respectively. Commission on Sustainable Development. n. are inadequate to meet the requirements of its inhabitants. As providers of social services. 58 Executive Order 377. United Nations. 54 Id. The functions of the EPG. a strong support system is encouraged. Par. and A. is providing that avenue for dialogue between the private sector and the local government units. The State shall “enhance capability-building of local government units. if made available. Ensure the preservation of the natural and cultural heritage of the island. Authorizing An Eminent Persons Group To Oversee The Sustainable Development Of Boracay Tourism Authorizing An Eminent Persons Group To Oversee The Development Of Boracay Sustainable Tourism. Formulate plans for the sustainable development of tourism in Boracay. local authorities have many direct instruments at their disposal to influence development. Priorities the major projects of Boracay as consistent with the plans for sustainable development. through the PTA and the DOT.O. m. the provincial government shall have the jurisdiction over tourism development and promotion programs (while municipalities shall have jurisdiction over Tourism facilities and other tourist attractions. Yet in addition to their direct roles in the development process. perhaps the most important role that local authorities can play in a global economy is that of facilitator among the diverse interests seeking to influence the direction of local development. participatory. 3*n+) 57 Subade. Subade. “the national government or the next higher level of local government unit may provide or augment the basic services and facilities assigned to a lower level of local government unit when such services or facilities are not made available or. and responsive to environmental concerns and sustainability is needed to solve the environmental problems in Boracay.56 As Boracay Island is of great national value for the country. Background Paper No. R. in the management of local tourism projects and initiatives. and the Provincial Tourism Code of 2009. to their elected official in the barangay. 56 This is supported by the Tourism Act of 2009. 377 of 2004. 1: 47-68 (June 2006).58 53 Tourism and Sustainable Development. Cause of proper land use projects and practices for Boracay and its marginal islands. . 55 Under the Local Government Code of 1991. Danyag XI. it is important to see the value of a common agenda for local tourism development. Recommend to the Philippine Tourism Authority such rules and regulations as may be necessary to ensure compliance with the requirement of the Island's sustainable development. under the executive order are the following: h. Although local governance is key in ensuring sustainable tourism development on Boracay Island. Formulate plans for the sustainable development of tourism in Boracay. 2004. the Eminent Persons GroupBoracay under the newly-named Tourism Enterprise and Infrastructure Zone Authority. builders of economic infrastructure. k. where necessary. the policies that will foster the sustainable development of Boracay. under E.” The field office of the Department of Tourism on the island shall provide monitoring and technical assistance to local government units. Only with such a facilitator can a community of diverse interests define a shared vision and act consistent with this vision.L. regulators of economic activity. l. and security services for such facilities). Any plans of action that will be a consequence of both programs should focus on achieving sustainable tourism on the island.54 the national government. Tourism in Boracay Island: The Dilemma of Resource Utilization and Management. in partnership with the private sector. and managers of the natural environment.53 While both CLUP and BBMP address the land use and coastal management concerns.
The Tourism Act of 2009 states that the government shall “strengthen the role of tourism councils and encourage the participation of nongovernment organizations. The facilities undertake segregation. and cultural research) and monitoring activities (including onsite visits) with the cooperation of the tourist operators/businesses on the Island. For example. private sector and local government. as well as the community of fishermen and local residents. The main objective is to provide sustainable monitoring of government and private sector projects on the island.18 CONFIDENTIAL: NOT FOR PUBLICATION Private Sector Initiatives The tourism development plans of the national government encourage the participation of the private sector in initiating programs.61 The partnership efforts are also in line with current developments on the island. peoples’ organizations and the private sector in initiating programs for tourism development and environmental protection. political. corals. This is manifest in the composition of the Eminent Persons Group-Boracay under its mandate. (3) Recommendations for best practices programs to the private sector. and to document existing tourism activities and projects that impact the environment and the social order of Boracay Island. Another private sector plan is a project called “The Boracay Initiative” 63. (7) Information. The project is initiated by individuals who have the passion to protect and promote the environmental future of the island. governance and information campaigns. (2) Hazard prevention & management: drainage/flooding. for instance. Through volunteer programs. is an important element in rejuvenating the marine life around Boracay Island. the project seeks to gather the technical and scientific data on the environment and socio-economic 59 60 Id. historical. analysis and reporting to the various stakeholders. cleaning. and recommendations for policy reform and review to local and national government agencies. education & communications (IEC) program. recycling. and re-establish the marine areas and mangrove forests as ecotourism destinations. This is a program that attempts to gather comprehensive data – through data-gathering and collection. and.60 This project is a partnership among the various stakeholders. Priority programs focus on environmental management. 62 The MRFs are facilities run by the barangays supporting the slogan “War on Waste”. academes and private sectors that are affected and responsible for what is happening in the Island. The solid waste management component is coordinating with the Barangays on the island which have their materials recovery facilities62 in place. legal. Source: Boracay Foundation. (6) Governance. and. (3) Coastal resource management: mangroves. the six priority programs are: (1) Water and waste water management. both as a tourist destination and a residential area for responsible citizens. the integration of the existing laws on declared marine protected areas. 63 The Boracay Initiative© covers three stages: (1) Establishment of a volunteer-tourism program for the conduct of research (environmental. While implementing the specific plans of each priority components of the BBMP. Boracay Beach Management Program (BBMP) is composed of different stakeholders. and socio-economic. and to instill among the tourism industry players on the island the personal responsibility to contribute to sustaining an environmentally and socially viable enterprise.59 A private sector initiative for the enhancement of the coastal and marine resources of the island is known as the Boracay Beach Management Plan (BBMP). Inc. (4) Watershed management. organizations. 61 Specifically. seagrasses. Improvements and enhancements in technology are also underway for these facilities. The monitoring and evaluation mechanisms shall become an ongoing program of the Boracay Initiative©. through the BBMP. 7. . (2) Data gathering. (5) Solid waste management. the water and waste water management component is already being undertaken by a private company that has a concession for 25 years with the national government through the Philippine Tourism Authority approved in 2009. and delivery of residuals to proper agencies or private groups for disposal or further recycling. Sec. This program has a holistic approach in addressing the issues from hills to reef.
is an expansion of the goal for an eco-tourism destination that promotes sustainable development. with technical and staff support for the local government units. Moreover. with responsible tourism industry players initiating the move towards a sustainable development through the support of integrated laws and policies. Agnaga Falls and Cold Spring. In other words. Dalamuan Falls. economic and cultural issues as well. This does not mean that ecological. Nature will have a way of curing itself in any case. “Research in tourism destinations suggests that it is not the resource base that tends to determine carrying capacity thresholds. Nabaoy River. . including the active promotion of eco-tourism development in mainland Malay. Not because big industry players are overdeveloping the island. has triggered the members of the private sector – albeit including the local elite – to slowly gather the momentum to control and regulate development on the island. The diverse culture that is evolving on the island – being composed of businessmen who are not Filipinos. including the promotion of the IP rights over their ancestral land. which are all community-based enterprises. Large-scale sustainable tourism development over small-scale overdevelopment. carrying capacity should consider social. the continuing data collection and monitoring will assist the local government in enforcing the implementation plans (such as the CLUP’s Zoning Ordinance) for sustainable tourism for Boracay Island.19 CONFIDENTIAL: NOT FOR PUBLICATION demographics existing on the island. ecological or natural resource constraints. natural resource or infrastructure based carrying capacity thresholds to not exist. Near-Future Potentials of Boracay Island Back to Nature. Properly managing the marine protected areas (marine parks) and the rehabilitation of the mangrove systems on the island are initiatives that pave the way for re-establishing Boracay Island as an eco-tourism destination. to determine the direction that the tourism development should take. The various projects and programs that are ongoing to increase awareness and to effectively address the major environmental and social issues confronting the island and its neighboring islands need only to come into an integrated plan together with the national and local government officials. but the community on Boracay Island is becoming more aware of the environmental impact of development and is taking advantage of new opportunities to ensure sustainable tourism for the Island and its people. The objectives should address the perception and values of the visitors and the host community. only that they must be considered within the tourist system as a whole.” William Trousdale. These are: the Malay Ecological Garden. 64 The Boracay Initiative© supports the concept of carrying capacity considerations in the light of good governance. Currently. The realization that the huge environmental and socio-economic impact of rapid mass tourism development on Boracay Island. but rather the predominating objectives of governance. besides infrastructure. the development and promotion of the mainland Malay with its existing eco-tourism sites. and Naasug Limestone Cliffs. 1997. space and potentials in a small area of development. there are identified community-based ecotourism sites that have been established in mainland Malay. the project aims to provide basis and proposals for policy changes to national tourism plans for the island and for the municipality of Malay. particularly advocating for more sustainable and ecologically viable tourism programs – is a significant factor in facilitating the advocacy for a change in tourism policy and governance. For the national government.64 Eventually. but because the smaller industry players are maximizing resources. One of the problems faced by the island is overdevelopment.
the Boracay experience has shown that in aggregate. and the stakeholders are prepared to address the long-term impact of such developments. a number of small-scale developments had more damaging power to the island. It is easier for a small scale provider to take advantage of the natural environment because their small amount of pollution is relatively hard to detect. Plans for a huge development of a leisure estate are ongoing. and more importantly for Boracay. Holecek. it is already apparent that many of the businesses set up along these beaches are on forest land. where two of its longer and more developed beaches are. the governance mechanisms must be in place. transporting 50 visitors to a recreational site by one bus will consume less fossil energy than if each person takes one vehicle each to go to a small-scale resort. Finally. Some of these are foreshore areas. 65 For the past decade. However. There was little movement in the Yapak area. Lori Pennington-Gray. except for the bigger tourism establishments. The current concentration of businesses and residences are in Barangay Balabag. Although the government land survey is not yet completed.65 The Yapak development appears to be the direction for the future of Boracay. Although the more popular criteria for sustainable development revolve upon the concept of “small is beautiful”. what has happened is that the small developments have not been experiencing a favored climate given the influx of the group tourists on the island in the recent years. in the article Scale Issues in Tourism Development. Administrators may spend more manpower. the trend is to focus more on what is more sustainable in terms of efficiency and monitoring capabilities to lessen or mitigate impact of tourism activities within an area. under the FLAgT provisions. small-scale tourism development may in aggregate be less efficient in terms of operational efficiency on scale size. Land ownership claims have already been staked. the integrated planning and management are the keys to sustainable tourism development. the developments in the Balabag area shall be exclusively for tourism purposes. Under the CLUP. which remains mostly undeveloped land. . a plan to establish a tourism enterprise zone has already been considered. The areas in the southern tip shall be made residential areas. For instance. 66 According to a study by Sinji Yang. before any further critical development is conducted on the island. in an area where environmental protection agencies have limited pollution detecting technology and monitoring ability.66 While small-scale developments are more favored by advocates of sustainable tourism. In the end.20 CONFIDENTIAL: NOT FOR PUBLICATION The CLUP has based its zoning on the identified 40% of the island as forest land that needs protection. and thus cost more. efficiency. time and resource monitoring a number of small businesses than a couple of large firms. carrying capacity. In fact. which includes mostly the large corporate developments. the one in the northern tip of the island are for high-end tourism developments. monitoring a few large-scale service providers’ performances than detecting many small scale providers’ polluting movements may be preferred. and Donald F. the infrastructure development has been concentrated in the Balabag area. Further. As for energy use.
the local ordinances declaring Marine Parks. Malay. This experience is not unique to Boracay. The awareness and the realization by those who have allowed the overdevelopment and mismanagement of the island of the grave implications of such have triggered some action and community support to confront the problem that the Island and its people are facing. 36 & 46 LOCATION: Brgys.21 CONFIDENTIAL: NOT FOR PUBLICATION PROJECT No. 13-A Block I (Protection Purposes) PROJECT No. 13-A Block D (Protection Purposes) DELINEATION OF FORESTLAND BOUNDARY Boracay Island. The sophisticated legal structures and mandates that have always supported sustainable development on the island since the late 70s have the potential to create further confusion that may ultimately lead to non-implementation of the policies that should have been fundamental in the protection and preservation of Boracay Island. Personal differences and political maneuverings are still playing big roles in journey towards change. conflicting personal business interests. and the rules and regulations being implemented by the various enforcement groups on Boracay Island should be integrated before any implementation mechanisms are drafted. 13-A Block J (Protection Purposes) Forestland A and D Conclusion The adverse effects of unplanned mass tourism development – with the factor of small-scale overdevelopment – have been plaguing the stakeholders of Boracay Island. the Comprehensive Land Use Plan. The Tourism Act of 2009 that governs the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Authority and the Tourism Enterprise Zones. 13-A Block E (Protection Purposes) Municipality : Province: PROJECT No. the Proclamation 1064 vis-à-vis the Guidelines for the Forest Land Use Agreement for Tourism Purposes. But it is . Yapak & Manoc – manoc Malay Aklan 27 PROJECT No.: Balabag. this is not the case. lack of political will. politicking among the stakeholders. But if one studies the laws and the policies that have been set in place to regulate activities and to mitigate impacts of development. the Boracay Environmental Master Plan. 13-A Block A (Protection Purposes) PROJECT No. Boracay would have been a very good example of a sustainable tourism success story. and the complacency of the residents and local communities are among the main causes of the decline of Boracay Island from what used to be a nature-destination and became an island metropolis that resembles a mini urbanized city. 13-A Block C (Protection Purposes) PROJECT No. Aklan RADT No. 13-A Block H (Protection Purposes) PROJECT No. 13-A Block F (Protection Purposes) Kilometers Delineated: Legends: PROJECT No. 13-A Block B (Protection Purposes) PROJECT No. Sadly. Mismanagement. 13-A Block G (Protection Purposes) Corner Monuments Barangay Boundary Delineated (km) (Subject for Correction) For Delineation (km) PROJECT No.
. As an advocate for sustainable tourism development on the island. and worked at the Office of the General Counsel of the Asian Development Bank dealing with Environment and Indigenous Peoples studies and papers. ROSELLE TENEFRANCIA is a resident of Boracay Island.22 CONFIDENTIAL: NOT FOR PUBLICATION through proactive management and initiatives of the private sector. writing mostly on lifestyle and travel. Philippines. Malaysia. She is an environmental lawyer who has worked with several Philippine NGOs that cater to communities that are confronted with legal and development issues. She is also a freelance writer. the only community-based newspaper on the island. and a volunteer of the Eminent Persons Group of Boracay of the Philippine Department of Tourism. and the integration of the national laws and policies and local governance tools that Boracay Island can maintain and enhance its environment for the tourism industry and for the future generations to enjoy. providing the proficiency in the tourism industry to the relatively young and less tourism-oriented local government of Malay. she is assisting the Boracay community by being a pro bono consultant for various groups that aim for a united Boracay to promote sustainable tourism. on 810 July 2010. and editor and writer of the Boracay Sun. a member of the Boracay Foundation Inc. --------- This paper was presented as a White Paper during the 2 World Ecotourism Conference held in Kuala Lumpur. nd .
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