You see remnants of the native Aklan style, the nippa huts carefully arranged around trees and areas of garden green and you see that there is no unified thinking in terms of how this natural harmony is of intrinsic value. The three and four and five story buildings are built close to the road, obscuring any sense of natural surroundings, leading the weekend tourist to imagine that Boracay was created as a developing world version of the decadent partier's cesspools we have already forsaken in the West.
Land of nights that run into day, the siren call of cheap, confused lays. A paradise for the lackadaisical. I walk the path on the beach at night to Exit Bar and the prostitutes of both sexes are thick on the ground, have multiplied––or were they always there? I want to feel the warm kiss of nature in my mind, the lulling sense that heaven created sunsets and that the earth is verdant, giving. Instead I have the encroaching sense that people politely hustling something outnumber the actual tourists.
And yet there are many, many tourists––capacity has doubled in three greedy years––how many people striving, multiplied until, bursting at its seams the entire island sinks under its own weight? The sewers under the sand on what is a spit bounded by inverse beaches are constantly overflowing with "grey water."*
And yet, life is a beach. The breeze shifts, an ebb comes to the flow, I sit on the driftwood bench, I drink a cold pale pilsen, I hear the reassuring voices of those who have sat there for years. I realize that this is an interesting place, a litmus for the future of so many things, in this life if not another. Karma, samsara, coordinated attack.
There is a chance here to create a positive from what seems a vast negative, a void of creative thinking. There is the opportunity in this morass of developers and sell outs to get at what paradise feels like and to propagate an undeniable strengthening of consensus. The growing understanding among the sober and the visionary that things must fold into themselves and beauty be unearthed, preserved. The seed of the future grasped from intoxicated decay.
The ability to direct energy (sic commerce) through the simple power of an intelligent, curated app. Fabric––a map, a plan, a moveable feast––the apple never tasted so sweet.
Paradise a guava placed on the sill and ripened for days––still tart and full of hard seeds amid the creamy smoothness, an acquired taste.
*A euphemism, like my favorite Philippine phrase for food gone bad and sold in the urban street "double dead meat."
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