Boracay, Philippines — Clear water. Blue skies. Clean air. Powder-fine sand. Picturesque and picture-perfect. The best tropical paradise this side of the world.This is Boracay, in words found in every print publication and among stories from the mouths of those who have been there.Yet paradise is far from perfect. Unknown by many, Boracay's precious marine resources are under constant stress, while its watersheds and critical habitats are giving way to man-made structures. Its ongoing development is pushing the island to reach — and exceed — its carrying capacity. But hope is not lost for the country's premier tourist destination.On April 15 and 16, Boracay Foundation, Inc. (BFI) and Petron Foundation Incorporated (PFI) successfully held a "Scientific Forum and Consultation Workshop for the Sustainable Development of Boracay Island." Based on the integrated coastal management (ICM) framework, the group established the Boracay Beach Management Program as a way of promoting a multistakeholder participation for the sustainable development of the island.This initiative was made possible in partnership with the Provincial Government of Aklan, the Municipal Government of Malay, DENR Region 6, CENRO Boracay, the Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA), and the University of the Philippines-Marine Science Institute (UPMSI). Our experts from the UP-MSI laid down the scientific bases for sustainable development, particularly in the areas of coral reef restoration and marine protected area management.The presence of Aklan Governor Carlito Marquez, DENR Region 6 Executive Director Julian Amador, Aklan Provincial Tourism Head, Vicky Ramos, Malay Mayor Ceciron Cawaling and PEMSEA Resource Facility Executive Director Prof. Raphael Lotilla added to the importance of the activity, with Governor Marquez pledging to match the private sector's financial commitment to the program.A total of 55 participants actively participated in this forum. Members of the Boracay Foundation, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industries-Boracay, officials from the Province of Aklan, Municiplaity of Malay, Barangay Yapak, Manoc-Manoc and Balabag, Philippine National Police, Philippine Coast Guard, DENR Region 6, Department of Tourism-Boracay, Boracay Island Water Company, Inc., as well as representatives from Boracay National High School (Main and Manoc-Manoc Extension) and Lamberto Tirol National High School, were among those present.Working on the inputs from the UP-MSI scientists and guided by PEMSEA, the participants were able to accomplish the following at the end of the session:Identified priority environmental issues and concerns;Reached a consensus on the FOCUS for the next two years, which would be the Boracay Beach Management Program (BBMP),Established the lead agencies concerned and identified the activities to implement the BBMP, which cover the following aspects:Governance issues such as institutional arrangements, legislation, information and public awareness, financing mechanisms and capacity development;Sustainable Development Aspects such as hazard prevention and management; habitat protection, restoration and management; water use and supply management; food security and livelihood and pollution reduction and waste management.The participants realized the need for collective action and effective multi-stakeholder participation to ensure that the program goes beyond the planning process. As such, a multi-sectoral Technical Working Group (TWG) was created to ensure sustainability and finalize the work and financial plan for 2010-2011.The workshop was capped with the participants putting a personal stamp to the proceedings by declaring their individual commitments.For Petron, this initiative goes beyond being having a business presence in the island; helping establish the ICM program forms part of the company's concerted acts to nurture nature through various programs all across the country under the banner "Kalinga sa Kalikasan" (Caring for the Environment).And just like Petron's efforts to promote integrated coastal management in the provinces of Bataan and Guimaras, this program is also a means by which Boracay's development can be truly sustainable. So that generations of Filipinos and foreign visitors can continue to enjoy clear water, blue skies, clean air, powder-fine sand, and the best tropical paradise this side of the world.This is our paradise. This is our promise.