Boracay islanders fear for their lives in battle with Philippine tourist trade

Posted By on June 3, 2013

It is considered one of the world’s most beautiful islands, a still-not-totally-discovered destination where tourists can frolic on white sands by day and sip cocktails by night in seafront villas. There are clubs playing house music, jetskis glistening in the afternoon sun, and yachts moored in the distance. It inspires the most cliched of descriptions – “paradise on Earth”, “the world’s best island” – yet for the Atis, who claim to be the original inhabitants of Boracay in the Philippines, life is a daily struggle.

From a squashed compound of dusty vegetable plots and thatched huts separated from the main road by a flimsy bamboo fence, this indigenous tribe of 200 families is fighting for its right to live and work on the island. Largely uneducated and desperately poor, the Atis say they have been pushed off the land they have lived on for centuries by the hundreds of hotel chains, bars and businesses cashing in on Boracay’s multimillion-dollar opportunities. [full story…]