Atis of Boracay
Boracay for some people is a dream destination during summer. But for this woman and her grandchild, the white sand beach of the island is her worst nightmare.
The indigenous peoples of Boracay island called Atis are still facing threats of being kicked out of their places of birth. Before the lowlanders settled in, they say their ancestors were already there roaming the island, enjoying the pristine beauty of what they knew then as paradise.
They were all living quietly until Boracay was put on the world’s best beach resorts map. Now, they just sit there at the back of the island. Some have jobs in a few resorts as utility and construction workers. But most of them eke out a living as ambulant vendors, some even as beggars.
If only the local government of Malay, Aklan can come up with a program on how Atis can co-exist with resort owners, property developers and beach bums, Boracay may remain relevant to me every summer. These indigenous peoples can become productive residents of the island and can be employed by resort and hotel owners. I just hope they won’t be exploited.