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Life is moving so fast. And, just before you know it, Holy Week has just gone by. As I look at my parents and children, I am reminded that we are all indeed aging very fast.
While the beach allowed us to commune with nature and reflect during the Holy Week, the presence of 30 kids in our compound in Fuego made it a bit more challenging, but definitely full of priceless moments as we had great family bonding.
Summer is the time when Filipinos love to go to the beach. I was told that Boracay had close to 300,000 people. The Batangas shorelines were also so full of people, speedboats, jet skis, and boats. Families from all over the country and the world were there to enjoy our coast line, which is one of the best in the world.
On Black Saturday, we decided to go to Fortune Island. It is the island you see from the shorelines of Hamilo Cove to Punta Fuego. It takes about 20 minutes by normal speedboat to reach that beautiful island. We have been going to this island since I was a small boy, with my Uncle Raul and his children. We would go fishing there. This time, we bring our children to enjoy the snorkelling and swimming.
We were about 35 Concepcions enjoying the summer in Batangas. Of course, there were more children. Our neighbours, the Kunaks, who were German nationals with a wig-making business, were also enjoying the shores. My brothers-in-law were also there.
Upon going down the boat, a Korean confronted my brother John and told him that this was not a public resort and that no one is allowed in the island unless a P300 fee per person is paid. The Korean was so loud and arrogant. Our group told him that it’s not fair to charge and all we wanted was for the kids to swim. My brother-in-law Arthur Young also tried to talk sense into the Korean. The children were all shocked and could not swim peacefully in the beach. The resort had nothing to speak of, as it was still the same facility which was destroyed by the typhoon many years ago and it was never repaired. How can some Koreans think they own the Philippines? According to Article 51 of the Water Code of the Philippines, shores of seas within a zone of three meters in urban areas, 20 meters in agricultural areas and 40 meters in forest areas are subject to public use.
I have been visiting our beautiful islands all over the country over the years. While it is true that many places are now owned by foreigners through Filipina wives, they respect that Filipinos have the right to use the beach. They also try to protect the oceans from people who are using dynamite in fishing. They also try to protect the reefs.
Koreans have really started to enjoy the Philippines. If you go to Baguio, a great number of the city’s population is already composed of Koreans. With this, they must respect Filipinos who are the true owners of this country. They should follow the laws of our natural resources, which allow people to use the beach. They should also respect and observe the calm and silent nature of our cultures all over the country.
I sent a message to Sen. Ralph Recto, whose wife is Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto, to help investigate the shores of Batangas. He immediately replied that he will attend to it. With the development that is ongoing in the Batangas Coastlines, from Kawayan Cove to White Sands to Tali Fuego; and with the SM development of Hamilo Cove; developers must find a way to still allow Filipinos to enjoy the beaches they grew up with. Most of them do. While some are still adjusting to their new-found business, I am glad these new developers like the Sy’s of Hamilo are responding to the needs of the old-timers of Batangas. Ms. Betty Sy of Hamilo has made adjustments in managing the security of the beaches to allow people to enjoy. They have done a remarkable job in preserving the ecology, despite their development. The Puyats of Kawayan Cove have allowed boats to come in one side. This is the way it should be. Filipinos should be allowed to use the beach, provided to follow rules like proper disposal of trash, rules of speeding jet skis and boats.
The potential for our tourism is huge. Our precious assets lie in the coastlines of our 7,100 islands. We have one of the greatest beaches in the world, from Boracay to El Nido, Busuanga, Coron, Batangas, Mindoro, Bantayan, Malapascua and Nalusuan in Cebu, Isla Naburot of Visayas, Bohol, Siquijor, Sumilon, among many others. Let’s take care of these precious assets, which creates negosyo opportunities and employment for so many. Hotels, dive shops, souvenir shops, restaurants, and new airports have started to open. More airlines are now covering areas that they have never covered before.
Government can further improve the infrastructures, airports, ports, local transportation to further boost tourism. Developers are needed to help the country move forward. But, they must also balance the needs of the fisher folks and old-timers who live in the place and not deprive them of its use. They must also respect the laws. I also encourage the public who use the beaches to respect the environment and not throw the trash in the beach and in the sea. These are aspects that are being abused by local tourists. The ecology must be maintained as we derive economic benefits from these. I do hope that the Koreans who run Fortune will come to their senses and respect Filipinos, as we are citizens of this country and they are our guests.
We welcome all aspiring and starting entrepreneurs to attend our M.B.A. (Magandang Business Advice) Program. It is a series of “next level” output-based entrepreneurial workshops that will teach you how to start your own business. Catch the first run of the M.B.A. Lecture part on May 6 and the Mentoring part on May 12 at the Asian Institute of Management, Makati. For inquiries on the program and registration, visit our website (www.gonegosyo.net) or call the PCE Secretariat at 6379229 or 6379347.
Contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org or Joey Concepcion Facebook account. Visit www.gonegosyo.net. Watch the top rating entrep show GO NEGOSYO: Kaya Mo! on GMA News TV, Saturday and Sunday 8 to 8:30 a.m. Get daily Go Negosyo Text Tips in your mobile phone by sending GONEGO to 2910.