The beauty of the Philippines is undeniable. Its tropic tracts of natural forests and bodies of waters render it an island paradise filled with a ton of places to see, food to try, and activities to do. With so many destinations to choose from, it’s no wonder why both locals and tourists alike clamor and flock towards these priceless gems.
Each of these places brings about incomparable experiences, giving people more reasons to explore the entirety of the Philippines. Up north, you can get a warm visual of vibrant sand dunes. Down south, you can delve into various rainforests hiding mystical lagoons that will leave you in awe. As much good as these may bring to our tourism sector, its unfortunate that the beauty of these places get tainted by foot traffic and irresponsible traveling.
That is why the Department of Tourism (DoT) is making all efforts in maintaining and restoring the beauty of the country’s travel destinations by launching their #MoreFunForever campaign. In a nutshell, it encompasses the department’s vision to keep the Philippines fun for future generations by creating sustainable solutions as early as now.
This movement applies to several tourist attractions (Palawan (El Nido), Bohol (Panglao), Siargao, Sagada, Baguio, etc.); but, to kick off #MoreFunForever, DoT started off by doing a rehabilitation on Boracay.
Boracay is undoubtedly one of the most (if not the most) popular places to visit in the Philippines. Its golden sunset, powdery-white sand, and clear waters do not fail to captivate the hearts of many. Aside from that, the night scene offers a good balance of entertainment alongside the peace and serenity brought about by the lush island.
Sadly, beach parties tend to get abused. This is evident as seen in the trash along the shore and the pollution in the water. Things used to get all the more intense in Boracay whenever Labor Day neared. Dubbed as the country’s spring break, LaBoracay was as intense as you can imagine any beach party to be. Thousands of people used to gather on the island to have the time of their lives and give themselves a week full of pleasure and indulgence.
This LaBoracay hype caught the attention of many – and that wasn’t necessarily a good thing. The island’s natural wonders deteriorated through the years, and that is when the national government decided to shut down all of the operations in Boracay for six whole months in order to undergo a full rehabilitation. I remember my shock when the news broke because I was worried that the country would lose revenue in the tourism sector. However, this also served as proof of their determination in restoring and creating a better future for Boracay and its people.
The shutdown was only the first phase of their plans. They are now in the second phase to ensure that sustainable practices are in place. In the case of Boracay, they changed the famous slogan LaBoracay to Love Boracay in anticipation of the return of this year’s Labor Day.
We got to experience Love Boracay 2019 firsthand, and it’s amazing how the goals of #MoreFunForever have already manifested in this oasis for party-goers.
Then vs Now: the Beach
The Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF), comprising of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Interior Local Government (DILG), DoT and other national agencies managed to bring back the once-lost allure of the island in no time.
The crowded shoreline is now clear of vendors, tables and chairs, and waste, in general. What you’ll see now is a pretty view of people lying by the beach enjoying its much-coveted white sand. The sea is also free of algae compared to the previous reports of visitors spotting a ridiculous amount of algae formation in the waters.
Then vs Now: Community Inclusion
Locals are now a big part of the tourism development plan of #MoreFunForever. They are now involved socially, economically, and even culturally.
For one, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) TESDA is offering free skills training to locals which they can use to apply for work on the island (e.g. hospitality). The government also utilizes the untapped skills of native tribes in the area to promote their unique culture and even help them financially at the same time. They have an indigenous tribe there that makes amazing bath soap and the hotel owners in Boracay are encouraged to use those soap in support of their talents.
Sec. Berna showcasing the soap for the #MoreFunForever campaign
Aside from the workers, students are also being taught about sustainable practices.
Then vs Now: Inter-Agency Efforts
This effort cannot be achieved by the DoT alone, though. A cause as big as #MoreFunForever entails a larger collaboration to create a solution that can actually bring about radical changes. As such, it makes sense that they partnered with departments and companies that have the same intentions.
Cebu Pacific is one of these partners. Cebu Pacific’s Juan Effect campaign is becoming mainstream in Boracay’s proceedings, such as through the trash bins that they have donated to promote waste segregation. Little effects like this (one ((Juan)) effect, so they say) can cause a butterfly effect and make a massive improvement in the long run.
With all of this in place, we’re sure you’ll definitely fall in love with Boracay all over again. Despite having visited the island countless of times in the past, you’ll see grace in its original form and you’ll be inspired to do your best to keep it that way.
Amazing, right? That’s just one part of the #MoreFunForever campaign. They used Boracay (a very good example at that!) to be the model of sustainable solutions in Asia. To what seem like a hopeless case given its dire situation, collaborative efforts and pure dedication managed to make a 360 transformation in just a few months time.
Let’s not wait for another shutdown to happen to our favorite parts of the Philippines. Let’s learn to maintain the untouched beauty of the country to make our national pride and glory last for the generations to come.
As they say: it’s always more fun in the Philippines; but together, we can make it #MoreFunForever indeed.
Did you go to Love Boracay this year? How was it? Share your thoughts with us by sharing this post and using the hashtag #MoreFunForever!