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By Vittorio Hernandez
Taal, Batangas, Philippines
Plans by a Philippine province to erect a large sign on an active volcano drew criticism from various groups on Thursday. Batangas Province officials want to imitate the landmark Hollywood sign on Taal Volcano.
Leading the plan is the province governor - former teenybopper actress Vilma Santos-Recto - who defended the plan as an enhancement for the province. Under the plan, eight 14-meter tall letters would be erected on the volcano, following its contours for 110 meters.
The plan drew not only criticisms but also ridicule as Internet-savvy people made mock samples of other Philippine mountains with similar large Hollywood-like signage on their slopes.
Taal Volcano is considered a major tourist draw because it is the world's smallest active volcano and has a lake within the crater. Tourists enjoy a vantage point view of Taal Volcano from the Cavite town of Tagaytay, which has become known for its restaurants, hotels and other similar establishments.
Those against the signage said it would destroy the natural beauty of the volcano. Santos-Recto dismissed the criticisms as overreaction to just a mere proposal. She explained that the sign would only reinforce that Taal Volcano is in Batangas even if best viewed from Cavite Province.
She insisted the province is still studying the proposal and is holding consultations. Her tourism plan also includes constructing a floating restaurant and other tourist-oriented establishments around Taal Lake.
The governor said the proposal was discussed with representatives of the Protected Area and Management Board of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the private sector, fisherfolk groups and mayors of towns surrounding Taal Lake.
The controversy created by the proposal made Taal Volcano a trending topic in Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites. Mock layouts of other Philippine mountains and landmarks with provincial names were created for the near perfect Mayon Volcano in Albay Province, the Banaue Rice Terraces, the Chocolate Hills in Bohol Province and summer capital Baguio City.
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World - Philippine Province Wants to Imitate Hollywood Sign on Active Volcano | Global Viewpoint