The first time we went to Anawangin, there were hardly any people there. There was just one other group there, and aside from them, we were all alone. I guess that’s why we always had a magical memory of how Anawangin looked like, or at least how it was supposed to look like. That was barely 2 years ago. When we went there last weekend, you can see what 2 years of tourism can do to ravage a once pristine pocket of nature. I remember taking a shot of the shore from the boat: it was a shot of the water-sand-pines-mountains progression, one in front of the other. Now you can’t get a clear shot without the scene littered with fences, signs, huts, nets, etc. Tourism is truly a double-edged sword. On one hand, the locals are thrilled with the influx of tourists because it means more income for them. But on the other hand, more tourists mean more garbage, more destruction, more misuse of natural resources. We were surprised at how much garbage there is now on the sand, as opposed to the last time we were there.
Anawangin used to be a cult haunt for mountaineers who would visit the virgin cove, and to enjoy the meeting of the river and the sea. But mountaineers were mostly a more environmentally conscious bunch, who would pick up after themselves, making sure they don’t leave garbage behind. The multitudes of weekend warriors that now throng there however, are unfortunately not as tuned in to the fragile ecosystem of the area. Many treat it as a private playground, they frolic, they eat, then leave their plastic wrappers and styrofoam containers wherever they last needed them. I really hope this place doesn’t end up like Boracay, where nature suffers just so us city-dwellers can enjoy our weekends regardless of the effect we impose on the ecosystem.
And back in Pundaquit, each resort has their own karaoke system, each one positioned in their respective common areas (in our case, it was situated right under our 2nd floor room window). So at night, you can literally hear maybe 3-5 karaoke systems blaring different songs at the same time (from Fra Lippo Lippi to Journey to Evanescence to Aegis) with their accompanying banshees, atonally wailing their hearts out even if fellow resort occupants are trying to get some shut-eye after a long tiring day. And apparently, in this culture, there is NOTHING wrong with that. So, not wanting to impose what is normal to us, which is respecting the noise threshold of your fellow human beings, we kept our peace, regarding the lack of.
These are the photos I took where I rendered them in black & white or at least keeping the color to a minimum. Most were taken using the infrared filter, which is usually a love it or hate it kind of thing, depending on your taste. It gives the scene a gloomier, spookier, more otherworldly feel. Although many of these look like they were taken at night, all of them were actually taken in very harsh sunlight (you can’t take infrared photos w/o bright sunlight). For every photo shoot, I try to have a couple of shots using infrared, it’s a personal favorite of mine.
The more I travel, the more I realize just how much impact we humans have on our environment. It’s no joke. We really need to be more conscious of how much “footprints” we leave behind when we visit a place. With Earth Hour happening this Saturday, where we do a show of force by simply turning off the lights for one hour, the same can be done when we visit tourist spots like beaches. Little things like pocketing trash instead of throwing it on the sand or the water, or keeping garbage you’ve generated until you find a trash bin, these little token acts can go a long way if we do it often enough. No matter that everyone else is tossing garbage here and there, do right by yourself. At the very least, your didn’t contribute to the ruin. At best, you can actually make a difference.