As tourists and visitors, we also have a duty to make sure that our practices do not impose detrimental effects to the destination that we visit. The “Leave No Trace” concept is widely recognized in various destinations in the Philippines, particularly those that feature nature as their main attraction. This is especially true in Boracay following the island’s closure for clean-up.
Many Boracay hotels have adopted sustainable practices and systems to help keep this amazing destination beautiful. Of course, tourists visiting Boracay also have a role to play in keeping the island enjoyable for everyone. As visitors, how can we ensure that we are also being sustainable and responsible? Below are some easy ways that can help us make our marks, our way:
Be well-prepared and informed. It is important to research about the place you are going to prior to travelling there. Take note of the do’s and don’ts, study the culture and practices of the locals, and make sure that you abide by any laws that are being enforced. When possible, try to look for and stay in a sustainable hotel in Boracay like Feliz Hotel. This assures you that your stay on the island leaves minimal impact on the environment.
One of the biggest contributors of plastic waste is the use of disposable plastic bags that are usually provided whenever we shop or have leftovers from our last meal. A stay of five days or longer can easily lead to a large amount of plastic waste building up in your room. Eco-bags make it easy for us to haul around stuff that won’t fit our bags. It’s also perfect for that last-minute shopping spree, and is also very easy to bring around as it can be folded to fit in your bag. If you forgot to pack an eco-bag or two with you, many hotels in Station 2 will have eco-bags for sale in their gift shop.
Avoid the thirst and having to spend on bottled drinks when out on the road by bringing a reusable drinking bottle. The hotel you’re staying in and the restaurants throughout the island are more than happy to top up your reusable water bottle as you go about your day. Think about the money you save on bottled water and the amount of plastic you will avoid using. Win-win!
More and more establishments are getting on board with the no-straw movement-–and for good reason! Daily use of straws amounts to millions of plastic waste all over the world, and much of those end up in the ocean. You can do your part by refusing straws whenever you buy drinks in restaurants or food stalls. Better yet, you can bring your own reusable straw. Stainless steel and bamboo straws are now widely available in the market as more and more people are becoming aware of the hazards brought about by disposable ones.
Help save Mother Earth by avoiding takeout food and just eat in the restaurant. Not only do you get to enjoy your food while taking in the ambience of the place, you also eliminate waste consumption brought about by takeout food containers which are usually not recyclable.
If dining-in is not an option for those on-the-go, you may choose to bring your own food containers, and request for your takeout food to be placed there instead.
This one is pretty much self-explanatory: Do not litter! Garbage bins are readily available throughout the island, particularly in public places. If there’s no garbage bin in sight, keep your trash first and dispose of it once you find a bin. Avoid throwing your trash randomly, thinking that street sweepers or other people will dispose of it for you. Your waste, your responsibility.
Your skin does not absorb sunscreen completely. The formula simply sticks onto your skin and is washed out once you get into the water. Chemicals found in some sunscreen and insect repellents have hazardous effects to the corals and marine life. Organic and non-toxic alternatives are widely available in the market and are just as effective as their more-hazardous counterparts.
You wouldn’t want somebody else going into your home and trashing it, would you? Promoting sustainable tourism is not just about respecting the destination, but also those who call it home. Also, make sure to leave what you find. Avoid picking up shells, corals, uprooting plants and calling them “souvenirs”. All these have important roles in the environment and they wouldn’t be able to do those roles while sitting on your bedside table or placed inside containers.
Avoid making loud noises and invading other people’s private spaces. These people want to enjoy their vacation as much as you do. On top of bothering other guests, noise pollution can easily disturb local wildlife. Be mindful of your behavior, and always remember to be considerate!
Enjoying your vacation in Boracay doesn’t mean losing respect for the destination you are visiting. YOU can make a difference. We can all help save Mother Earth in our own little ways, all while still having fun!