By Niño Luces
LEGAZPI CITY, Albay – Tourism-related enterprises at the foot of restive Mayon Volcano are slumping due to danger zone restrictions enforced by the military and local authorities.
Cris Hona, who rents out All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) and operates Jacs Outdoor Adventure in Brgy Pawa, Legazpi City told the Manila Bulletin that all the bookings for an ATV rides were cancelled due to volcanic activities and lava flows.
“Sa ngayon malaking epekto ito. Maraming nag-cancel ng bookings sa amin dahil sa nangyari. Lahat ng 15 bookings, yung mga taga Manila saka mga foreigners, nag-cancel sila,” he said.
Hona has 27 ATV units which are usually driven by guests from Barangay Pawa to Black Lava Wall in Brgy Mabinit, Green Valley in Barangay Miisi and Green Lava in Barangay Bonga, Legazpi City – all located almost 3 kilometers away from the volcano’s crater.
Currently, however, the city government only allows ATV activity on a shorter route.
“Short trail lang pinapayagan ng city. Hanggang Pawa River lang at di na kami makapunta ng Bonga,sa Lava Wall at dun sa Miisi dahil sakop sila ng pinagbabawal na lugar. Sa ngayon, barya –barya lang kinikita ng lahat na ATV operators dito,” he added.
Even Bicolandia Tours ATV and Your Brother ATV operators are also reeling.
“Dapat ngayong mga araw na to, nasa kalakasan na ng negosyo, pero dahil kay Mayon, wala kaming magagawa,” Hona explained.
Edna Garcia, a tourist from Quezon City who went out for an ATV adventure, said she was disappointed with the limited route.
“Matagal na naming plano na mag-ATV, heto nagkataon lang. Medyo disappointed lang kasi hindi namin napuntahan at maka-ikot sa paanan ng bulkan. Pinigilan na nga kami nung mga military, bawal na daw”, she said.
She, however, said that the sight of molten lava flowing from the crater is a sight to behold.
Caloy Perez, 51, a resident of Barangay Mabinit who provides guided tour services, is in a tighter fix.
“Buti nga yung ATV may short trail pa. Kami dito, wala talaga. Sarado yung negosyo namin,” he explained.
“Dati nagsasaka kami dyan, pero noong buksan bilang tourist spot at nagkaroon pa dito sa lugar naming ng ATV operations, pinasok ko na ang ganitong trabaho,” Perez said.
He said that he earns as much as P10,000 a week during the summer season.