Boracay, a 4km tropical island in the heart of the Philippines, a place where dreams and fantasies can be lived for the affluent foreigner. I decided to spend more time reflecting on western ideologies and influences. Visiting Boracay for the second time this year, once during dry season (April). This time during July and August.
Whilst travelling I noted that the influx of foreigners was by comparison minuscule compared to that of April. However, still enough to cause a lot of resentment and distaste toward foreign influence.
From the old white guys seducing the child-like filipina’s with their money and fake gentlemanly approach to the young booze and sex crazed youth’s. I noted that much of the interactions between foreigners and natives were surrounded in one form of financial interaction or another. Usually, drinking, partying and sex. It was rare to see the walking on the beaches or dinner etc that you might expect from normal courtship. This got me to thinking, why has this island become a glorified tropical brothel!? I am aware it is not the only place that works like this. However, it is only 4km, so there really is no getting away from it unless you are not on the island. By day the island is consumed by boat trips, island hopping, massages, and other activities befitting that of a tourist destination. Into the evening and it is the restaurants and bars that take over advertising and dragging people in off the beach to fill up their venues and provide revenue for what would otherwise be an un populated wasted space. Into the night and the bars are still coercing people into the often underpopulated venue largely filled with white men looking for a sex fix or the Philippine sex workers looking for a financial fix. Although, both would be of mutual benefit to the other it highlights all that is wrong with the declining beauty of such tropical destinations.
The local Filipino men are increasingly developing a distaste for foreign men which can cause socially difficult interactions because like many other locations and local people they too feel that westerners or rich people just visit and take their women away from them. Although this does raise questions regarding ownership, sexism, dominance and social freedoms. Their concern is not directly shrouded by these questions, rather they tend to revolve around being ‘there to pick up the pieces’. They are more annoyed that foreigners tend to just throw money around like it does not matter which only conveys a sense of ignorance both culturally and socially. The Filipino men that I have had the opportunity to speak to and socialise with are genuinely lovely guys and only chose to express their concerns with me because they witnessed my passive nature when it came to drinking or meeting people for sexual endeavours.
The knock on effects: due to the nature of this type of consumer environment the effects are becoming more obvious. If a Filipina for example has been with a western man who throws money around and acts in a warm friendly manor they tend to develop feelings rather quickly. Then, the western man leaves and essentially just abandons the girl in question. Thus causing emotional distrust and diminishing the value of connection and relations. Not to be dissuaded the Filipina’s try again to find someone that will like them and be with them. However, time and time again, foreign men prove to deliver the same results and the Filipina’s just feel they are being used for sex. Which arguably in these instances are true. The problem here is that when someone comes along who is genuine the Filipina struggles to trust or commit anything of themselves to that person and ultimately develops a sex for financial (and other) gains attitude. This increasing the consumer and sex market.
So, you see, western influence causes a genuine social regressive attitude between Filipino, Filipina and foreign people primarily because of this largely financial and cultural ignorant divide between countries and continents.
I love this island and it has some very beautiful natural environments. However, like many products on a shelf in a supermarket. I give this island a shelf life of 10 years before it is completely consumed by sex for money and local hatred for foreign people which will only drive local living costs up meaning more local people will be driven from there homes due to this ever increasing sex tourist island.
I know that sex sells, Thailand has demonstrated this time and time again. However, we are now selling our humanity! for what? a tropical sex fix? that just does not make sense.
Is there a way to fix this? I would say education and less ignorance. However, as long as money funds how we live and work, this will no doubt increase in its intensity and destructive influence.