El Nido, Palawan has been featured in many renowned travel publications, known for its beautiful white sand shores and crystal clear blue waters. Recent photos and videos surfaced showing the normally clear blue waters turned black, after what looks like sewage water being pumped into the sea.

/ 28 October 2020

In July, the Department of Tourism (DOT) celebrated the hailing of Palawan being the Best Island in the World title by renowned travel publication, Travel + Leisure. Hidden Beach was described by author and award-winning travel journalist Lizzie Pook as a piece of paradise concealed by “imposing limestone cliffs and with startlingly bone-white sand separated from the turquoise ocean by a small keyhole-like opening” where visitors could go through the nooks and crannies of the small keyhole-like opening formed by the cliffs to access the mesmerizing lagoon.

However, recent photos and videos surfaced showing El Nido beach’s normally clear blue waters turned black, after what looks like sewage water being pumped into the sea. The photos released by Inquirer Regions captured a stream of vile brownish-black liquid carving through the regularly picturesque shoreline and emptying out into the sea. 


Exactly a year ago, the Department of Tourism (DOT), assisted by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), rolled out a sustainable tourism program in order to keep its beauty, being the country’s “last ecological frontier.” Plans included were “solutions and financing to address the immediate need for vital urban infrastructure and services, such as solid waste management, drainage and sanitation, and clean drinking water in El Nido and Coron.”

If the island is to remain a top destination for tourists around the world and in the Philippines, something needs to be done about the waste management systems and action needs to be taken, and it needs to be done now. The Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in the Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan) Region is set to probe and will look into the reported black water discharge into the Bacuit Bay. 

“We cannot afford to have another outfall that would degrade the water quality of Bacuit Bay, especially now that El Nido is slowly re-opening for tourism,” DENR Mimaropa Regional Executive Director Maria Lourdes G. Ferrer said in an interview.

This isn’t just for titles sake of being the ‘best island in the world’. If we want to keep our natural resources safe, we need to have a more conclusive action that needs to be taken. Most importantly, the locals, whose primary source depend on tourism for income, will greatly be affected.