MANILA -- What was once an unspoiled paradise is now a beach stricken with trash.
Masasa Beach in Tingloy, Batangas used to be a popular destination for tourists and locals looking for a quick summer getaway. However, maintenance of the beach proved to be difficult and trash started to impinge on the beachfront and even the water.
Three women recently took it upon themselves to help revive Masasa Beach.
Using their diving hobby as a tool for their environmental advocacy, Christine Ivy Bagay, Ma. Angelica Gallego, and Michelle Arianne Manza recently began the first in a series of clean-up dives at Masasa Beach.
In a phone interview with ABS-CBN News, Manza said their group, together with two volunteers, were able to collect seven bags of trash, two of which are the size of a rice sack, from the ocean.
She said they were surprised with the kind of trash that they found in the water such as pails and sanitary napkins.
"We really needed a complete gear kasi 'di namin in-expect na ganun kadumi (because we didn't expect it to be that dirty)," she said.
Manza also noted that the once crystal-clear waters of Masasa have now slightly turned into a bluish green shade.
While locals conduct regular clean-up drives, she said it is still not enough to keep Masasa clean since discipline is sadly lacking even among tourists.
Manza reported that most of the trash are left to pile up behind the tents, while cigarette butts were buried in the sand.
The three plan to return to Masasa in the coming weekends since all of them have regular jobs in the metro. Bagay works as an editor, Gallego is a BPO agent, while Manza is a government employee.
Given that it's summer and visits to the beach are popular anew, Manza has this reminder for beach goers: "Make sure it's there for us to enjoy but we also have to consider safety. 'Yung trash na tinatapon natin babalik 'yan eh," she said.