#CoronIsNotBikiniBottom

I need to postpone a scheduled post due to a very pressing matter that is really stressing me out.

On January 9, 2017, Nickelodeon announced that it will be partnering with Coral World Park to open the world’s first undersea resort and attraction in Coron, Palawan, Philippines. Viacom International Media Networks, which owns Nickelodeon, said that the 100-hectare Nickelodeon undersea attraction and resort would be part of the 400-hectare Coral World Park and would be “yet another important step in boosting the Nickelodeon entertainment experience as we continue to give our fans, kids and their families, new ways to interact with the brand and the iconic characters they love.” Viacom further said that the development, which would feature Coral World Park’s trademark undersea restaurants and lounges “located about 20 feet below sea level with vivid views of the world beneath the ocean,” would “advocate ocean protection.”

Bullshit, right? Just utter bullshit.

“…give our fans…new ways to interact with the brand and the iconic characters they love.” Wow, i just cringe whenever i hear that. As if the marine life in Coron can be turned into a brand like Nickelodeon. As if Viacom owns the marine ecosystem in Coron. As if there is a real Bikini Bottom under the sea and the way to appreciate Nature is through characters like SpongeBob SquarePants. Also, what “ocean protection” are they talking about? Building an undersea attraction and resort will pollute the ocean and disrupt and destroy its marine life. What Nickelodeon and Coral World Park plan to do is not protection, but exploitation.

I have not yet had the chance to visit Coron, but i have been to El Nido, Palawan. According to people who have visited both, Coron and El Nido are very similar and equally beautiful. And goodness, El Nido is a paradise! It is one of my favorite places in this country. Heck, i’m in love with the whole of Palawan! Palawan is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park and the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park. The latter is also one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.

Often dubbed as our “last ecological frontier” because of the rich biodiversity in its land and marine ecosystems, Palawan is a natural attraction in itself. So what’s the point of building an attraction or theme park? Again, building a theme park in what is already a natural paradise is not protection, but exploitation.

Except for greedy corporations, i think everyone finds that fact is easy and simple to understand. That is why not long after Nickelodeon’s announcement, #CoronIsNotBikiniBottom trended on social media and an online petition seeking to block the planned theme park from pushing through quickly gathered support.

Reacting to the public’s outrage, developer Coral World Park Undersea Resorts Inc. said on January 11 that there had been a misunderstanding as the planned development will not be underwater but “undersea themed” that is “land-based.” Nickelodeon also clarified that the “undersea-themed attraction…is NOT developed undersea.”

But, of course, they are lying. As early as 2011, Coral World Park’s plan has always been to build an underwater resort hotel in Palawan. That is why their website banner reads (in French): “An underwater experience.” (UPDATE: Whoa! The “News” tab has been updated. It now contains a thank-you note to “CNN and all the media which have covered the clarification of our development in Palawan.” Now this is awkward since all the news clippings just below that say clearly that Coral World Park is an underwater resort. UPDATE #2, January 14, 2017: Coral World Park’s website is gone. I’m not 100% sure, but before the website went down i think i saw that some of the words “underwater”/”undersea” have been changed to “underwater-themed”/”undersea-themed.” Again, i’m not sure. I hope i had taken some screenshots of the website. But i have a feeling that they took the website down because despite the changes made–if indeed those changes were made–their images, such as the one below, show that the planned Coral World Park features undersea villas, restaurants, and lounges.)

cwp
Photo from Coral World Park. Does that look like an underwater-themed resort that is land-based? I don’t think so.

It is surprising that despite their massive proposal Coral World Park was not able to present a master plan when representatives met with Greenpeace Philippines and Save Philippine Seas. I hope this means they are carefully rethinking their plan. I hope their final decision would be to drop this money-making nonsense. If Nickelodeon and Coral World Park truly advocate ocean protection, they will not push through with the exploitation and instead support existing marine conservation efforts, as well as the communities in the area. Moreover, as a global kids’ brand, Nickelodeon should educate kids to respect marine life and NOT to exploit nature for entertainment and money.

Photo from Save Philippine Seas

Let us all remain vigilant regarding this matter. We need to wage a war against corporate greed and make sure this plan never pushes through.

I believe that at the core of zero waste is caring for the environment. After all, it was my love for Nature that led me to this philosophy. And so if you are zero wasting, please support this cause and sign the petition here.

 

 

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