With its magnificent and captivating symmetric cone-shaped perfectly molded by nature, Bicolano’s very own and famous landmark Mayon Volcano competes with the world’s best, along with the other three chosen scenic sots from the Philippines for Nature’s New Seven Wonders. The vocano’s natural and eco-tourism features were the factors considered by the organizers of this prestigious worldwide competition in picking it as an official nominee.
Department of Tourism- Bicol and the Provincial Tourism and Cultural Affairs Office- Albay envision coniderable income that will be generated of the region’s wll-known landmaek will be hailed as one of the New Seven Wonder of Nature. “This will surely push Bicol particularly Albay forward in the tourism industry and will be promoted more to the world if luckily included in this newet search for Nature’s Wonders,” Maria “Nini” Ravanilla, Regional Director of DOT Bicol said. According to Ravanilla, since 2006 the tourism in Albay has declined because of the typhoons that devastated and almost left the place lifeless particularly Milenyo and Reming. The top spot where it used to occupy has suddenly been grabbed by Camarines Sur and now only ranks second in terms of tourism revenues. Through the advent of this rare chance where Mayon can possibly acquire a marvelous spot in the world’s map, Ravanilla is positive that Albay will be again at par in promoting tourism in the region and will open its door wider for tourist from different parts of the world. Moreover, more tourists will likely mean more jobs for Bicolanos and more earnings for some entrepreneurs in the locality who sold items and products which are proudly Bicol-made. Pat Noveno of Camalig, Albay who is into selling products out of Pili for years said that his income is not consistently good especially nowadays where affecting factors like price increase of basic commodities and the tremendous oil-price hike are prevalent. Though not that directly, he admitted that busine like his,is likewise affected since most people would normally opt to buy only the basic things they truly need. Small time businessman like Pat is just one of the many who can get benefited if more tourists will come and visit the region. This will not only mean inviting the tourists to see the region’s landmark but also producing potencial buyers for the products of Bicol.
Ravanilla also pointed out that beyond the seemingly overwhelming graces that will pour into Bicol region if Mayon will make it, is the cultural heritage awakening and sense of regionalism in the hearts of the Bicolanos. As she puts it, there is more to the revenues that will be yielded, and that is the cultural awareness that will be revived to those who are oblivious of Mayon’s importance to their lives. The Mayon Volcano which has stood the test of time and older than any man who had lived or presently living around its foot, has been continuously a deaf and mute witness of the significant events unfolding within it premises. Thus, its an indispensable landmark in Bicol’s culture and history and the root of its past and future. The remarkable prestige that Mayon has reached for being a contender somehow reminds its forgetful people of its genuine function to their culture. Much more if the Bicolanos’ icon will be part of Natures’ seven Wonders, it will restore the apparent loss of value for cultural legacy of the region’s dwellers. Also, the whole world will be able to take a glimpse of the rich culture of Bicolanos through Mayon.
In the great pursuit of placing Mayon Volcano on the world’s map, DOT-Bicol, the Provincial Government of Albay and the City Government of Legazpi exhausted efforts they believe are necessary to better campaign the region’s pride. The posters and the tarpaulins posted in the streets of Legazpi and Albay, in public and private offices, in different schools and campuses around the region and anywhere else were DOT’s way to get into the public’s consciousness the good news and at the same time to ask their full support. Mayor Noel Rosal has his own version of this kind of posters with his face placed beside the image of the volcano, trying to persuade the people like a political candidate to cast their votes for Mayon. The DOT, through its director has coordinated with the different departments in the region to request for their cooperation and complete support in their drive of bringing Mayon Volcano on top. In particular, it focuses its campaign more on the Department of Education and Comission on Higher Education for these to serve as instruments of promoting Mayon better to the students. Since the DOT likewise wanted the Overseas Filipino Workers especially the Bicolanos to be aware of Mayon’s fight and earn their support, it found a way to campaign to the OFW’s around the world through the internet. “There’s no way they couldn’t vote since voting is done on-line,” Ravanilla said. Her department was able to campaign through the net in Canada, USA, and Australia whre great number of Filipinos are working and living for good. Ravanilla even did campaign Mayon personally to some tourists who visited the region like the Koreans and Americans. She said she’ll do the same every time foreigners come to the place. However, the director admitted that there is no sufficient budget to advertise Mayon in local and national television which she thinks will promote mayon more to a greater ublic. Luckily through KBP’s help, some sort of endorserments are being done in radio stations, both AM and FM regionwide. She just hopes that prominent politicians who are Bicolano by blood like Senator Chiz Escudero and Joker Arroyo will be kind to do a little favor to campaign Mayon Volcano in their interviews. “It would only take a matter of seconds to fo that,” she said smilingly.
Fight of the Youth
Ravanilla furthermore emphasized that Mayon’s present significant struggle means more to the youth or the present generation whose shoulders lie the responsibility of taking care their culture’s heritage. This is more of their fight which they must triumph. It’s a fact that today’s youth have easier access to the internet and mostly have e-mails so casting one’s vote is way too easy. It would’nt take much of somebody’s time and effort and would’nt even hurt someone’s pocket. It’s jut a click away. Why not engage into something worthwhile like doing a small yet great favor to the region’s heritage that will surely develop someone’s sense of nationalism and regionalism. At the end of the day, it is really the reent generation who will benefit more than this. According to Ravanilla, that is the reason why they’ve demanded more help and cooperation from DepEd and CHED. They want the youth to take part and take the lead in winning Mayon’s fight to be one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature.
It isn’t too late
There is still an ample time of making the Bicolano’s dream for Mayon possible. As of this writing, the volcano is on the 9th spot, its peak since it became a nominee. Voting will be until the end of this year for the top 21 so the region’s contender has higher chance of even climbing up. By then, only the remaining 21 will have the chance to compete in the next stage of voting which will happen throughout 2009 and 2010. Finally, in the autumn of 2010, the 7 finalit that grnered the most votes will be officially declared as the New Seven Wonders of Nature. Ravanilla is confident that with the relentless efforts they’re executing and the continuous cooperation and support of not just the Bicolanos but all the Filipinos, Mayon Volcano and other 3 contnders from the Philippines namely: the Chocolate Hills, Tubatahha Reef and the Subterranean River, will be altogether drawn in the renowned map of the world.
Paradox of the Event
Despite the vigorous drive being shown by the Provincial Government of Albay to win Mayon’s battle for prestige, ot is funny yet worthy to note that it somehow fails to notice some simple flaws that lie beneath the volcano’s foot, that in turn might cause adverse effects. The Mayon Resthouse, which is supposed to be a perfect place for tourist who would want to have closer and better view od the volcano is not really that suitable for resting. Reports showed that the comfort rooms of the place will avail no use for someone’s personal needs. Nobody wouldn’t want to experience this inconvenience especially the tourists. Another, the Plantarium located near Mayon which prior to typhoon Reming’s devastation is still unrepaired and unavailable. It should have been a perfect haven for families and lovers. So, some would ak, how come the provincial Government has great courage promoting and campaigning Mayon if it appears disregarding this simple problems that might be discovered by some tourists and change their good impression on the place? The good news is that it isn’t too late for them to fix these thing which they might have just overlooked. Will they still wait until a bunch of foreigners discover it before doing the right action?
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