QUEZON City, Philippines (January 23) – If you love to travel, then Coron, Palawan should be on your list of dream destinations! Even if you’ve already been there, it would not be too much of a question if you want to visit again to experience the crystal blue waters of Coron.
Blessed with beautiful landscapes and seascapes, Coron is considered as one of the main attractions in the Philippines. Coron is famous for its forest which grew atop limestone rock, its lakes which are considered as the clearest – Lake Kayangan and Lake Barracuda – and most especially the rich marine life of the island.
Pristine, serene, beautiful, breathtaking – almost all the good adjectives were used to describe Coron. It achieved international renown from the blogs and videos of people who visited the place. One could not help but feel pride at this serene and beautiful paradise.
To counter the effects of tourists and visitors to the environment and to its vast marine reserve, Coron has implemented strict conservation rules.
2017 has barely started and already a controversial issue involving Coron has risen. American cable and satellite TV network Nickelodeon proudly announced that they are going to build an undersea attraction in Coron Palawan, which, according to them will promote marine conservation. The announcement sparked a comment typhoon in the social media as many netizens expressed their alarm at the announcement. Of course, it is not just the netizens who were alarmed, the environmentalists were also panicking at this announcement.
Nickelodeon made a great impact to our childhood. However, as grown-ups and adults who care for the environment, putting up a 400-acre theme park on a marine reserve area to promote and conserve the marine life would be like a beautiful girl caking herself with make-up or putting on too much accessories over an elegant dress. Ironically, they would destroy the island’s natural beauty to pursue their advocacy.
Environmental advocate Anna Oposa launched a petition that aims to gather 300, 000 signatures. The petition gathered 20, 000 signatures on its first day and more and more are signing up every day. This is proof that many people are disagreeing on this proposed Nickelodeon project despite its avowed aim that the water park would conserve marine life.
The group also sent a formal letter to Viacom – owner of Nickelodeon. “We asked them to carefully examine not just the concept or the vision of the attraction as their partner developer Coral World Park Undersea Resorts, Inc. has no history of conservation work in the Philippines and we question their capacity to implement the biggest reef conservation program in Asia.” the group said.
With a three-way conflict between Viacom, the local government of Palawan and the concerned citizens, what everyone should bear in mind is the fact that the construction of the water park would risk the serene beauty of the place. It would put into naught the efforts of the community that have worked hard through the years to keep the island beautiful. not to mention that construction of the water park itself would disturb the marine life.
We should be aware that Coron became the environmentally-friendly tourist paradise it is through the valiant efforts of the local community. If the water park pushes through, what would happen to them?
Dora, SpongeBob and the Ninja Turtles don’t have anything to do with Coron. Instead of corrupting the minds of children who are very excited about the news, we should help them understand and teach them how to protect the environment.
(written by Job Catama, edited by Jay Paul Carlos, additional research by Vince Alvin Villarin)