Now, let's start with the helter skelter construction situation on Boracay, which is definitely not funny. A couple months ago I took some pictures of the construction of huge concrete boxes next to Frendz, which retains a little slice of nipa hut garden paradise vibe. Fabric.
Welcome, package party people! Whoot whoot!
In late December, the whole sewage system maxed out under the weight of the (expected number) of tourists, and grey water started bubbling up from underground channels and septic tanks on beachside paths across the island. Beyond the inconvenience of smelly water on sandaled feet, some of this wound up overflowing directly into sacred front beach, where each coconut tree is carefully protected. Telltale semi-foamy bubbles appeared at the beachside and I would get a slight rash during evening swims, even at the jogged-to far end of the beach.
A Ukrainian woman I talked with had her one-year-old son get a serious infection that took a week to fight. I asked, "did he swim in the water?"
"Yes, the hotel staff said it was fine, that it was rain water."
"Does rain water smell like shit?"
Another woman I met at Lokal, a back-beach kite surfer, got a serious infection in her eye, which ruined the fun.
How did this maxed out sewage system situation happen? Exhibit A, the new Pizza Hut, which has incidentally ruined the rustic driftwood vibe created by Exit Bar and Bom Bom Bar. See how the waste water from the restaurant runs from an overfilled septic tank and directly across the beach path into a little depression of sand, where it sinks down into tide-flushed White Beach.
Next in the pipeline is Mega Mall at Fairways, an urban feeder to the "eco-friendly" NewCoast Boracay development, which promises to tame remnant nature on the north side of the island.
I came not to bury Boracay, but it does rile me up, what is happening . Next post I will get to the comedy, I promise. To wit: a photo essay on how backed up sewage backflow in the sand is cleared on Boracay, using a deflated basketball and a "swimmer." And yes, these are the good guys––when their system got backed up they took proactive action, at least.