Discovering Boracay's other side

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Sunday, August 24, 2014


BURST BALOON -- The Palace floated a balloon carrying a message of a possible lifting of term limit and it burst, and smacked in the faces of those sychopants. It was rejected outright, and the opposition didn't come from the militants and critics alone, but from majority of our people.

But Secretary Mar Roxas is insisting and saying, the "bosses" will decide if President Aquino deserves six more years. Poor Mar! Just because he is lagging in the surveys among presidentiables, he wanted his power kept via Noynoy. What if in the surveys Roxas is beating VP Jojo Binay, you think he will agree of the lifting? Bright as the sun, Roxas' statements are laced with self-interest.

MARCOS WAY -- "Ferdinand Marcos wanted to remain in power, look what happened," said the lead paragraph of the banner story of a national daily. There is a Tagalog saying to that: "Pagkahaba-haba man daw ang prusisyon, sa simbahan din ang tuloy." In the case of Marcos, he died lonely in Hawai, instead of retiring happy in Paoay. No one stays on top forever.

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BORACAY -- The regional chapter of the Philippine Councilors League(PCL) headed by Angeles City Councilor Maricel "Marang" Morales and Pampanga Councilors League President Mike Tapang sponsored a tourism sisterhood congress last Thursday last week, and picked Boracay as venue. (Btw, Mike Tapang was no show).

I was one of the six members of the Angeles City Council who joined the delegates. I joined for various reasons. First, I want to know what the tourism congress is all about. Second, I wanted to have bonding with my younger colleagues in the City Council. Third, I wanted to meet new friends from other cities and towns. And lastly, I wanted to check on Boracay after the many years since I have been there.

DETERIORATING -- There were some local officials from the Aklan province and the vice mayor of Malay were in attendance when I pointed out during the open forum that Aklan International Airport is an embarrassment. It is a symbol of neglect by the past and present administrations. In queue with a plane load tourists, there is not even a single chair in the departure area and have to wait easily for two hours while checking in the baggage and waiting for your boarding pass.

The terminal building itself is too small to accommodate, by their own account 1.2 million passengers annually. (Btw. Each passenger pay P270 for various fees and if you multiply it by 1.2 million, then they something like P300 million revenues each year excluding leases by commercial activities).

Talking about the runway? We have to thank God and the skilled pilots that no accidents happened.

OMG -- It was raining when we arrived in Boracay and the main street was flooded. Despite the drizzle, we took those polluting tricycles, which are the main transport of Bora, and proceeded to the beachfront. Passing through the Ayala-owned D'Mall, there is not even a single signpost to direct a tourist to the beachfront if it is station what.

It seems to me that the Municipal Government failed to enact an ordinance to compel solicitors of aquatic services to prescribe a uniform with matching identification card. Watching from the sidelines, tourists who were approached sometimes get scared and puzzled.

If I may suggest, the hotel and restaurant owners of Boracay should discuss strategies and adopt best practices in how to receive tourists. Prices of food and commodities in Bora are getting to be prohibitive.

There might come a time when tourists will shy away, and their businesses will suffer losses. Ano ang sabi ng mga kabataan? NGA NGA! Buti pa sa Poracay na lang.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on August 25, 2014.

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