Philippines Tourism – The Good and Bad

Small Lagoon at Bacuit Bay, Palawan

Small Lagoon at Bacuit Bay, Palawan

During my recollection of a recent trip to Samar Island (one of the provinces least traveled in the Philippines) and after reading the article below, when it comes to retirement and relaxation, I can admit that I am a convert to the belief system that less is more. While the Philippine government’s ambitious tourism plans have done more than just pave new roads and construct needed infrastructure to support the luxury tourism market, it has created thousands of needed  jobs and ecotourism opportunities to the thrones of many less fortunate people. And the consequence of this ambition has helped put the Philippines economic growth rate in the spotlight and second only to China in 2012. But the result of such a rapid pace to capture foreign travelers and their money is likely becoming a threat to the environment and the archipelago’s natural beauty.

Bacuit Bay, Palawan

Bacuit Bay, Palawan

The following article by Wells Tower of the Wall Street Journal chronicles a westerners take on two Philippine islands – one pristine, the other overpopulated – and how too much too fast may not be a good prescription for sustaining the economic growth recently enjoyed.

WSJ – 14 Mar 2013
ASK THE AVERAGE WESTERNER what he knows about the Philippines and the reply will likely touch on Imelda Marcos’s shoe collection, or Manny Pacquiao’s knock-out record, or the Bataan Death March, or other things that don’t…. read entire article

After reading about the transformation of Boracay, I’m beginning to realize that the adopted slogan of Samar – Discover Samar, before others do, is making me both anxious and nervous; anxious to get there soonest, and nervous that rapid growth and expansion can destroy all that which I am looking forward to. Call me selfish, but personally, I like Samar just the way it is!