Dear San Juan Elyu

I am happy that you were able to leave an indelible mark on every surfer’s dream and create a paradise in the mind of everyone. Your sands may not be as perfect as those in Boracay or Bantayan but you have the charm irresistible to those who are weary and bothered by the chaos in the city. Gone are the days when you have to struggle attracting a person to have a stopover on your beautiful beach.

Everytime I am with you, I have that feeling of laziness, of wanting to spend all day just sitting on your sands and watch how the waves roll to the shore. That everytime your seawater leaves traces on the find sand, I feel that urgency to indulge in the game of “come and go.”

But this is not all about the serenity I find in your arms. This is about the changes in you, silently but alarmingly violent. It seems like you have not expected the sudden influx of people. Hostels, apartments and nooks sprouted to accommodate these tourists. Rental fees have boomed up and levelled to your friends in the city. I saw a very ill room priced at 750 pesos a night. Some are being offered at 800 pesos with the slight inconvenience of fetching water from containers. Decent rooms are tagged as high as 3,000 pesos.

Your idea of a simple breakfast, ie a rice plus egg and bacon, is as pricey as 150 pesos. The surfer’s carbonara is no longer offered in some favourite spots.

Coffeeshops and posh hangouts are slowly creeping into your sands. No one questions the buyers of a yummy combination of chocolate and mallows. Two hundred and sixty pesos in exchange for an experience of good taste? No one complains because everyone buys.

But you forgot to invest in safety measures. Surfers and other travellers are still at high risk because the main road still runs where your beds, tables and plates are located.

I don’t mind now paying one thousand and eight hundred pesos for a night of sleep in your arms. But I do mind seeing plastics dumped on the roadside from a night of party. I hate seeing garbage floating and under your waters. You don’t mind that nobody cares for you.

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