Wow. We decided to go for the 6-hour island hopping and we started early, around 8am, to head off the rush of tourists. First stop was Maya Bay, the place where they filmed “The Beach”. Thing was, you needed to pay 200 baht per person to go to the island. Problem was, we forgot our money at the resort. But we found a loophole: you can’t park the boat along the beach, but no one said you can’t swim to the beach. So just like in the movie, with matching poetic justice, we swam all the way to the shore from where the boat was anchored (which was REALLY far). We were exhausted, and our legs turned to jello, but we made it. The beach was nice, but no biggie. Seriously, it’s no better than what we have in the Philippines. Any of the islands in Coron could give this beach a run for its money. Plus, it’s just riddled with too many tourists! It felt more like a mall, than it did a beach. We hopped to many other beaches to snorkel and stuff, but the same scenario followed us like the Nazgul. Beautiful place, spoiled with too many tourists. Seriously, like maybe at least 15-20 large speedboats with at least 20 pax each! It looked like an armada! And when you’re swimming, you come up gasping for air, and instead of sweet sea air filling your lungs, it’s exhaust fumes from all the speed boats. It’s really quite a sad state to see paradise despoiled by commerce. I pray to GOD that Palawan won’t ever come to this. The income we could get from this brand of raping tourism, just isn’t worth it. I could almost hear the ecosystem groan from the burden tourism has imposed on it. Plus, everywhere we snorkeled was just a barren waste of dead corals. We were thrilled to see an anemone or two. The shallow upside though, is that lots of the tourists were hot eye candy. It was like a meat market! But the novelty of hot beach bodies get old quick. I just wish I could experience those islands minus the rush hour traffic. The place is gorgeous, just run over by tourists. So by the time we returned back to our heavenly resort, we were ecstatic to be back. Here, we were back to the idyllic quiet vibe of the place. Even the beach here doesn’t have as heavy a tourist traffic as most beaches. This experience is a cautionary tale for places like Palawan and Boracay. We should pay closer attention to our effect on the places we inhabit before it’s too late.