‘Hooray for Hollywood’ on Taal Volcano Island

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02:18 AM October 20th, 2011

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By: Jerome Balinton, October 20th, 2011 02:18 AM

HOLLYWOOD, HOLY COW! This is how Taal Volcano would look from the Tagaytay ridge once a giant “Batangas” sign is put up on the island as approved by the Hollywood-inspired Batangas provincial government. The idea was conceived by movie star-Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto. PHOTO FROM THE OFFICE OF THE VICE GOVERNOR OF BATANGAS

BATANGAS CITY—It was something only a movie star could have conceived.

Why not put up a towering “Batangas” sign on Taal Volcano island similar to the “Hollywood” sign in Los Angeles, California?

The provincial council approved on October 5 a resolution supporting the idea of Governor Vilma Santos-Recto, the award-winning actress, to erect a hard-to-miss landmark and potential tourism draw, according to Vice Governor Mark Leviste II.

Emelie Katigbak, officer in charge of the Batangas tourism office, said floating restaurants or fish pens can be set up on Taal Lake in such a way that their layout would form the famous Batangueño expression “Ala Eh.”

It could be such a dazzling sight especially if lit up at night, she said.

14-meter letters

Leviste said the idea was based on the premise that the scenic volcano and the lake surrounding it “form the heart of Batangas. The geography of the province suggests that (they are) at the center of the province.”

Also, history had shown that Batangueños were blessed with rich and fertile agricultural lands thanks to the volcano’s past eruptions, he said.

He said the proposed sign would be painted white and positioned following the contours of the island volcano. The letters would be 14 meters tall and stretch for about 110 meters.

The font would be similar to that of the iconic Hollywood signage, the official added.

“It is not an out-of-this-world concept. It’s a simple development which can easily attract attention and even visitors to the area,” Leviste said.

Identity crisis

Leviste said the signage would help establish the identity of the lake and volcano as part of Batangas—and not of Tagaytay City, which lies within the neighboring province of Cavite.

He said the volcano was often mistakenly identified as part of Tagaytay, a mountain resort city which offers a picturesque view of Taal.

In a text message, Tagaytay City Mayor Abraham Tolentino maintained that the city had never laid claim to either the lake or the volcano.

“However, the best view of Taal Volcano is from the ridge of Tagaytay City where the best photos are shot, the best hotels and restaurants are found and the perfect weather is felt,” Tolentino said.

“Thank God, He created the volcano in Batangas so that Tagaytay will have the best view,” the mayor said.

‘But why?’

Tolentino, however, questioned the Hollywood-inspired design for the island, flatly saying: “Why put up a Batangas sign? It won’t help.”

“People, while sipping a cup of coffee, will just say that the view is more beautiful from Tagaytay without that sign,” Tolentino said with a hint of a warning.

Expect a “global reaction” once that plan pushes through, he said.

“It’s a sign of what? Bicolanos will not put an ‘Albay’ (sign) on Mayon Volcano. (Their officials) would not destroy the view of Mayon. They are not insecure,” Tolentino said.

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