DUMAGUETE CITY – It took lot of political will power and hard lessons to close Boracay, the country’s No. 1 tourist destination comparable to the Bahamas . It hosts 5 million tourists every year, who leave billions of dollars in income for the local folks and operators many of whom are foreigners using their wives and dummy-owners.
But only for six months as promised by government stakeholders. It took a Duterte will-power to bite the bullet, risking millions if not billions of pesos lost in tourism income for the next six months if only to put things right— especially environmentally.
The faster they clean up Boracay for good and for the next generation, the faster it will come back to go business. In our opinion, more and even more tourists will come knowing that the host country indeed cares for the welfare of our visitors.
Before,— it was anything goes in Boracay. When Duterte visited the place and got shocked of the trash it did not take him a minute to decide to close the place because tolerating it any longer would be more disastrous to the tourism industry.
As an immediate alternative , APO Island dive and beach wonders takes over. Sumilon Island of international fame and the Butanding sights in Oslob and Santander which all pass by Dumaguete will be teeming with tourists this summer.
Siquijor mystical island paradise with its hundred white beach resorts and Dauin to Siaton also with it over a hundred beach resorts big and small, these places in our neighborhood and that of Bohol’s Panglao island will more than suffice the “lull” in Caticlan.
We have Casaroro and Red Rock (Pulangbato) water falls.
The hot springs of Dauin and Valencia beacons. The twin lakes of Balinsayao and Balanan Lake in Siaton. These all reawaken the imagination of stakeholders with this “lull in Caticlan,” which means Boracay.
We also remember with fondness our Silliman beach here. Once it was teeming with rich marine life and hundreds of Sunday bathers. It came way ahead of Boracay. Today, only a few locals and no tourist would dare swim in that polluted waters of Silliman beach, the once-premier beachfront in Dumaguete.
We recall as college students, we held day and night parties at the Silliman beach, until we transferred to La Paloma beach in Sibulan because of SU bay pollution, despite its being in front of the Silliman Marine Laboratory, supposedly the standard initiator of cleanliness.
But take heed, within this year or two, Silliman University has allotted P8 Million to put Silliman beach back on its feet. And restore its fame and glory that was before.
And as we saw its master plan, Silliman beach will be the next tourism destination for Dumaguete. It has jointly signed a MOA with the city government who will maintain and retain its beauty and glory like it was in the beginning.