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What makes women go daring in Boracay?

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The name Boracay alone conjures images of leisure and pleasure at their best, specially partying tourists enjoying the Caribbean-like ambience and splendor of its beach front areas during early evenings complete with a happy mix of festive lights and Latin music and not to mention the white sand dance floors.

Boracay, a small island off northwestern Panay in Western Visayas is known worldwide as a tourist paradise in the Pacific. It attracts hordes of tourists, both local and foreign, all year round.

When the subject of Boracay comes up, a number of familiar images instantly comes to mind topped by the vision of people of various races parading and idly walking on its white sand beaches trying to savor their birthright share of leisure and pleasure under the sun.

Interestingly, the superfine powdery white sand on its beaches is in itself a source of wonder. It never gets hot and remains cool to the sole of one’s barefoot even under the scorching summer heat of the sun. To this day, I have not yet heard or come across any credible enough explanation for this phenomenon.

The most indelible image that sticks to one’s mind about Boracay, however, is the way women in general behave when in the tourism island paradise which they normally do not do elsewhere.

In Boracay, women of all ages, races, sizes and configuration, throw away modesty to the winds and daringly show off and display with abandon what wares and physical assets they have. They do it not just on the beaches but anywhere else including restaurants, night spots, the market and even in churches.

During the holy mass I attended here in Boracay, the officiating priest in his sermon jokingly said he has already got used to saying mass before congregations that normally include women in their “two-piece and tapis” attires to whom he could not easily refuse giving communion.

A friend sought my opinion what makes women in general go boldly daring and baring in Boracay and similar tourist settings? After briefly pondering on the question, my training as a sociologist told me it may be due to their definition of the situation.

W. I. Thomas who institutionalized this sociological concept, explains that a person responds to a situation based on how he/she perceives it, and reacts to it accordingly with a behavior pattern deemed proper and appropriate for it as dictated by the cultural norms of his/her group.

Thus a lady will not go shopping in malls back home clad only in skimpy bikini or sometimes covered by a sheer wrap-around because members of her community do not consider such attire appropriate. In Boracay, however, it is perfectly okay and so they go boldly daring.

This perception finds mutual reinforcement among girls and women of all ages, sizes, shapes and configuration while in Boracay, where they gamely indulge in informal displays. The menfolk, of course, do not just agree. The savor the sight and atmosphere as well.

Local tourism seems in the upswing indeed in Boracay. As one Malay town councilor who runs his own resort hotel in the island noted, the volume of garbage in the island increases proportionately with the rise in local tourist arrivals.

The telltale signs of increased garbage include plastic wastes and debris lining the water shoreline mostly mineral water bottles and caps, plastic bags, discarded knick-knack food covers and others.

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