Say No to Batanes Winter Marathon 2016
This petition made change with 1,309 supporters!
As a concerned citizen, I implore your group to extend and open mind as I state here my concerns. I'm a recreational runner and I come from the point-of-view of someone who's outside the circle of destination runners, but I care deeply about our environment and everything that's underneath its massive network of systems.
From what I gather from the event Facebook page, you've chosen Batanes as the next marathon destination because of its cool climate and its dreamy, scenic backdrop perfect for running. Putting myself in the shoes of an avid runner, Batanes is indeed the ultimate destination marathon, not only because it represents an athletic feat enshrined in the concept of a 42 kilometer run, but also because it will take place in a must-see location. However, for the same reason Batanes is a dream destination, I believe a marathon held at the province will be detrimental to the community and environment of Batanes.
If I'm not mistaken, the month when the Winter Marathon is scheduled to be held coincides with the peak season for tourist arrivals. While I understand that the event will contribute income to the local government units of Batanes and drum up business in the local community, the consequences of a mega-event such as a marathon could be far reaching in terms of the environment and ecosystem of Batanes. To name possibilities, an influx of tourist arrivals will likely lead a spike of non-biodegradable commercial products that will be left as trash on the island and lead to an increase in carbon footprint.
Further, as a large-scale event, the infrastructure and logistical needs the Winter Marathon will require is not something the organizers can settle with just a number of ocular/visits to the location. Subjecting Batanes’ infrustucture, its roads and its town’s relatively preserved ancient roads and pathways to massive waves of human noise and disruption can have potential and lasting damages albeit small in percentage. The organizers may have a proven track record when it comes to handling off-road/trail running events, but I can sense that Batanes has a special landscape that we must protect and preserve collectively too.
Another matter I'd like to bring up is the socio-cultural impact a mega-event the Winter Marathon will presumably have. The Ivatans are known to be a specially reserved, shy and deeply-rooted in their culture and heritage. It may seem a minor issue to most of us but the significance of respecting the innate traits, character and tradition of the Ivatans must be considered in great detail when organizing massive events such as this. Least to say, it is much like bringing an entire barangay population to a small, quiet town that's preferred their relative seclusion. A massive event such as a marathon will be a disturbance to that and what's more is that the Ivatans themselves have started to develop a dislike or disapproval towards outsiders/tourists with distasteful etiquette and conduct while visiting their towns. There is also a published news article wherein the Batanes LGU actually supports the idea of limiting the arrival of tourists in their province (http://www.manilatimes.net/batanes-plans-to-curb-island-tours/184686/).
I hope all the things I've mentioned will be given attention and due consideration not just by the organizers, but the individuals who actually intend to visit the province. It may be unbeknownst to most of us, but the selfish act of failing to recognize the impact of our seemingly small and perceived logical decisions and actions, in this case involving a direct participation in a massive running event, contribute directly in the destruction and abuse of our surroundings, our environment, our culture, and essentially, an act of neglect and abandonment of the future generation, and our one and only habitat, the earth.
I implore those reading this letter to spark a change in our consciousness when it comes to picking or maybe fulfilling our destination marathon dreams. Until no government policy is drafted and passed to moderate the extent and category of massive events held in small towns with historical, environmental and cultural significance, we need to do raise our own awareness of the pressing issues at hand.
Today: Tara is counting on you
Tara Valencia needs your help with “Organizers and Runners of Batanes Winter Marathon 2016, Batanes LGU, Dept. of Tourism, Heritage Consevation Society, Department of Environmental and Natural Resources: Say No to Batanes Winter Marathon 2016”. Join Tara and 1,308 supporters today.