Filipino hipsters unite around #CoronIsNotBikiniBottom to rail against Nickelodeon’s Palawan plans

The Philippines is not exactly among the most pristine tropical island destinations listed in most tourist brochures. Why? Because of a lot of things owing to Filipinos’ renowned Reverse Midas Touch syndrome.

Look no further than how Manila, the country’s premiere metropolis, is managed. Decrepit public utility buses and jeepneys belch toxic black smoke as they trawl Manila’s streets for passengers with criminal impunity. Vast tracts of squatter colonies deposit human and household waste on Manila’s waterways turning enormous areas of the city’s once pristine harbour into an open sewer. Piles of garbage loom over market places and other spots where Filipinos congregate thanks to the weak civic ethic that characterises the average Filipino.

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But, hold on a minute! The latest outrage fad that the nation’s hipsters and fashionistas are raising a stink about trumps all of the above obvious problems that have, for decades, begged obvious solutions.

Viacom’s Viacom International Media Networks unit on Monday unveiled plans to develop an undersea Nickelodeon Resort and Attraction in the Philippines, which will mark the kids network brand’s first resort in Southeast Asia.

The attraction will be part of Coral World Park Undersea, a 400-hectare development in the Philippine province of Coron, Palawan that is expected to open in several steps starting in 2018 and is described as the world’s first undersea attraction.

Nickelodeon’s part of the resort is slated to open in 2020 and will consist of 70 hectares for accommodation and 30 hectares for the themed attraction. Inspired by some of Nickelodeon’s most popular properties, such as SpongeBob SquarePants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Dora the Explorer, it will advocate ocean protection.

On cue, the usual cabal of “millennial” activists have sprung into action. Leading the charge is a certain environmental group “Save Philippine Seas” which launched an online petition against the project. The ill-conceived framing of the issue is legendary and reflects the misguided thinking that has long characterised the Philippines’ “activist” cliques. “If you are sincere and serious about marine conservation,” the blurb in the petition goes, “the money allocated for the underwater theme park should be invested in marine protected areas, sustainable livelihoods for local communities, and environmental education programs…”.

Perhaps it is worth mentioning to Save Philippine Seas director Anna Oposa that Nickelodeon is a vast media corporation that owns multi-million-dollar entertainment assets such as the Sponge Bob Square Pants franchise and is engaged in the use of these assets to rake in hundreds of millions in royalties and box office takings. The job of advocating “ocean protection” simply does not rank high up in its list of priorities in much the same way that disseminating the truth constitutes the least of the strategic aims of the Philippines’ own ABS-CBN News and the Inquirer Group.

The key word here is consistency. If Filipino activists were truly consistent in their advocacies — they’d chuck as much of a stink over the country’s filthy jeepneys, squatter colonies, and household waste management methods to equal the shrill “activism” they mount against the likes of chi-chi stateside brands like Nickelodeon. Are they up to the challenge? Perhaps these millennials are too busy jumping onto the latest hashtag bandwagon to really carefully think through optimal use of their limited resources and apply a bit of adult perspective with regard to the lame quaintness of the fashion statements they try to pass off as “environmental activism”.

27 Replies to “Filipino hipsters unite around #CoronIsNotBikiniBottom to rail against Nickelodeon’s Palawan plans”

  1. You have a better conceived plan then than these hipsters, yes? If so, I would like to see it because I’ll jumped with the bandwagon if it means to knock the sense out of Nickelodeon.

    1. ACTIVISM IS GOOD, but, you took it the wrong way!

      A conceived plan of JUMPING WITH THE BANDWAGON isn’t the perceived better way in environmental activism! It is the challenge to these millennials to be TRUE AND CONSISTENT (AS OPPOSE TO BEING SELECTIVE) in their policy of taking direct and militant action to achieve a political or social goal!

      For your sake…it’s just an eye opener which aims to engage individuals into CRITICAL THINKING and for the filipino populace to include as part of something broader… A NATIONAL COLLECTIVE!

      1. Edit:
        ACTIVISM IS GOOD, but, a conceived plan of JUMPING WITH THE BANDWAGON isn’t the perceived better way in environmental activism!

        You may have took the article the wrong way! It is challenge really to these millennials to be TRUE AND CONSISTENT (AS OPPOSE TO BEING SELECTIVE) in their policy of taking direct and militant action to achieve a political or social goal!

        For your sake…it’s just an eye opener which aims to engage individuals into CRITICAL THINKING and for the filipino populace to include as part of something broader… A NATIONAL COLLECTIVE!

  2. Also this

    “should be invested in marine protected areas, sustainable livelihoods for local communities, and environmental education programs…”

    It’s the job of the local & national government and environmental groups. Why not petition them, too?

  3. And what happened to our beloved Boracay? 10 years ago touted as the best island/beach in the World is now a filthy squalid pit.

    I always thought we’d look after this jewel as one of our best income sources (we haven’t got much else)? It really is a filthy sewage-ridden hell hole now. I visit family and friends regularly, my last visit being over New Year. I’m almost ashamed of what I saw – but I’ll let you have the lowlights:

    – Additional charges when entering at the port. Even an ‘environmental fee’ now. See the following comments to understand how this new fee is an insult.

    – Most streets are flooded after just 5 minutes of rain. This results in sewage being forced out onto the streets – stinks and risking disease walking between lumps of floating toilet tissue.

    – Piles of garbage stacked along the highway well into the late morning.

    – Streets grind to a standstill trying to pass through floods, and way too much traffic on the road. Everyone must have a tricycle business (chucking out fumes).

    – Concrete jungle of massive hotels, which I presume is adding to the flooding/sewage problem by not preparing piping to cope with them. Funny, they’ve turned a small island surrounded by water into a bowl to collect water – you’d think that would actually take some clever engineering (but clever doesn’t happen here)!

    – Electric brownouts almost daily.

    – Touts are everywhere and they all sell the same junk – selfie sticks, sunglasses, hats, crappy watches, pearls (really?), boat trips. They all invade your holiday privacy – even while you eat – and are rude when you say no, as you will.

    – Two McDonalds in place & a Jollibee on its way. My family particularly hate this because a promise was made to never allow cheap chains in that damage the local & small businesses. But hey, what do promises mean & under the counter permit money rules, right – along with construction money (who owns the construction companies?).

    – Gone are the multitude of individual western travellers, now replaced with groups of loud Chinese (who paid for their all inclusive in China to a Chinese company who owns the Chinese hotel in Boracay – kitted out with Chinese stuff…from China). So with future plans to give the country to China, why don’t we consider renaming ourselves The Peoples Republic of the Chinese Philippines?

    Seems to most on the island that Boracay is now in it’s death throws (unless you count the Chinese business, hmm), mainly down to chronic bad management over the last 5 or 6 years and too many inappropriate permits given out, and at what price lol…

  4. I saw in the news DENR opposed it. I believe there’s an approval process that includes DENR for these things. So if they want this project killed, that where you bark up. Not through an “online petition.”

    By the way, how does an underwater park look like? Sounds to me like you need to go scuba diving for it.

    1. Aren’t there lots of scuba diving spots all over the world already?

      If they’re bragging for “world’s first”… then maybe it’s something crazy. Underwater hotel maybe? Something similar to Manila Ocean Park’s rooms, but in the actual seabed.

      Sorry, I don’t really know and I’m guessing.

  5. The deforestation of our forests by the politically powerful oligarchs, is not being opposed by any group.

    The Undersea World Theme Park will give jobs to people. The Philippine government, can put a contract on the company involved, to protect and nurture the marine life.

    People need livelihoods, other then going OFW.

    we can have the business, and protect the marine life , at the same time !

  6. Because the “OLIGARCHS” are the ones whose gonna build resorts and their the ones who are gonna destroy it aswell…..


    They don’t want any “Foreign Investors” in our country hence they hire these so called Activists to hinder them…..

  7. Seryoso? Yung mga aktibista talaga ang patusin? Akala ko pa naman may kinalaman sa peligro sa kalikasan ang mababasa ko.

    Yung mga ni-raise mong isyu, Benigno, na sinasabi mong dapat pagtuunan ng pansin ng mga aktibista para sa kapakanan ng “consistency” ay dapat ina-address ng pampublikong sektor. Kung ang gusto mo ay iyakan ng kada aktibista ang maruming usok ng mga jeep, ang mga iskwater, ultimo ang itinapong basura sa harap ng bahay ng kung sinong ponsyo pilato, aba, ano naman kayang article ang maiisip mong isulat? Na patola ang mga aktibista? Lahat na lang ISYU sa kanila?

    Kung may “bright idea” ka at gusto mong iparating yun sa pamahalaan, i-link mo ang artikulo mo sa Office of the President or humingi ka ng dayalogo sa Pangulo. Yun eh kung totoong may malasakit ka sa kapwa mong Pilipino.

    Minsan di ko na maunawaan ang pagtakbo ng isip nyo rito e…

    1. You’re missing the point. Sorry to point out your own logical fallacy.

      Unfortunately, even activists have their own one-sided view and they tend to focus on one rather than looking on both sides.

      He’s pointing on the activists because of one thing: they’re the noisiest of the bunch and most of the time they’re taking any kind of protest to the streets.

      So please stop playing the victim card…

      1. “Victim card…”
        Hay… Paulit-ulit kayo ng comment. Fine. Aaray na ba ‘ko?

        Lahat naman ng tao may bias kahit ano pang gawin mong tumbling dyan.

        Ngayon, tignan mo yung mas malawak na katotohanan, nagbackpedal na ang kompanyang magtatayo nung park at sinasabi na nilang mali raw ang pagkakaintindi ng mga tao, hindi raw undersea yung park at hindi raw 400 hectares.

        Kamusta naman sa damage control?

        Malinaw na nagkaroon ng impact yung ginawa ng mga tao online (at hindi lang mga aktibista ang nagsalita) kaya nila ginawa yang pagbawing yan.

        “noisiest bunch…” ‘ika mo…
        At ano nga ba ang dapat gawin ng mga aktibista, di ba mangalampag?

  8. I wonder what will be the hashtag for a recent news on the ash spread incident that happened in Bataan where a coal power plant which is owned by San Miguel Corp. and no one bothers it.

    I guess that the daughter of an oligarch TV network who became a DENR secretary are too busy on investigating this controversial underwater theme park in Palawan. Sounds fishy isn’t it? :\

    1. EDIT:
      I wonder what will be the hashtag for a recent news on the ash spread incident that happened in Bataan where a coal power plant which is owned by San Miguel Corp. and many of the nearby residents there have complications their health that brought about that ash fall of a coal power plant but no one bothers it.

  9. Other people may not be getting the real message here, so I’ll spoil it. They fear Coron being like another Boracay, messed up and dirty. But whose fault is it? Is it the foreigners? No, Nickelodeon or other foreign companies never really overdeveloped Boracay. It’s the Filipinos who themselves made it a mess. Similar can be said about prostitution to Americans. Sure, the American soldiers could be looking for sex, but doesn’t everyone look for it? It’s the prostitution houses that offer the services first. The American soldiers never started it, and aren’t the only demand for it.

    Benign0 highlights that, even today, Filipinos refuse to admit when something is their fault and responsibility to fix.

    1. The endless blaming of foreigners for the Filipino plight annoys and saddens me.

      There absolutely are some foreign companies making a disgusting mess here. I’ve seen them. However, that’s because only that kind of company – the sort prepared to bribe and bully their way around the rules in search of a fast buck – would choose to come here.

      Those who have some sense of corporate responsibility and a more philanthropic view (there are some!) won’t touch the place with a bargepole. They know the rules are stacked against them and that there will be an endless queue of leeches (official or otherwise) nickel-and-diming them out of business. Or worse.

      The same principle applies to individuals. Why are Filipinos so surprised at the low class of foreigners (pedophiles, drunks, and the like) who wash up here to live? Those people like it here because they find an environment conducive to their lifestyles, while decent people prefer to live in other countries where they can rub shoulders with other decent people.

      1. All to avoid responsibility, I guess. Same old reason for the pass-the-buck mentality.

        I guess trash culture attracts trash, doesn’t it? The Filipinos are looking for foreigners to mooch on, and they are willing to sell off their children to do so. Who wants to buy? Of course, the customers who will like the children, the pedos.

        I think some people get the impression that foreigners own the resorts in Boracay after seeing that shared picture of “No Filipinos allowed” in a Korean-owned resort. I question though if that resort is really fully Korean-owned, knowing the law of Filipinos needing to own at least 60% of a business. Likely that Korean is married to a Filipina, who fills in for the 60%. Filipinos still own most of the resorts that dirtied Boracay anyway.

        1. I can think of any number of islands around the world owned by or dominated by “foreign” businesses (European, American,etc) that are beautiful, livable places. Expensive, yes, but that’s the nature of islands! The administrators and business owners invest heavily in infrastructure to attract well-heeled customers. It’s a very effective business strategy.

          Here, of course, the administrators steal as much as they can and do half a job with what’s left. Sewage washing around the streets? Eh, the foreigners won’t notice. Foreigners are stupid.

          Is that “No Filipinos” meme even real? If somebody actually did that in my neck of the woods, there would be a mysterious fire, and possibly a dead body or two, which nobody would know anything about and which would be written down as a tragic accident.

  10. Simply because Failipinos in the Failippines have the power to meddle or ‘manage’ or ‘exercise stewardship’ in every nook and cranny of the world does not mean that they have a right to do so. Even less, the obligation.

  11. Latest I’ve seen on one’s wall is this. Nickelodeon explains that they’re building a theme park on land that’s undersea-themed, not and underwater theme park. Somehow, I think the protests are again a victim of knee-jerk, react without thinking behavior.

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