Well, no one saw this coming.
The anticipated Christmas Mayon Volcano eruption displaced thousands of families into evacuation centers. Christmas being a very big thing with Filipinos, the volcano would have made the holidays less festive for a lot of people. However, a highly explosive eruption didn’t happen and the lava flows instead opened windows…you know the cliche.
Last Saturday Phivolcs lowered the alert level to 3 which indicated the slimmer possibility of a major eruption. This prompted the Albay provincial government to allow the decampment of about 9,000 families representing some 40,000 individuals earlier evacuated from within the seven- to eight-kilometer extended danger zone…While this developed, the volcano continued to ooze lava from the 8.070-meter-high crater, extending the “river of fire” show down to five kilometers from the crater, to the delight of tourists, who continue to stay or arrive…As of Monday, tourist-arrival records of the Albay Provincial Tourism Office showed that the volcanic show has drawn a total 76,000 foreign and domestic viewers in just a month.
Nothing like having one of nature’s spectacle drawing you a crowd, eh?
Sure, it’s still dangerous–officials do not encourage nor promote people actually going there and watch lives go up in flames. Also, aid workers contribute significantly to the number of visitors. But hey, the lava show books hotels and draws in cash for the town so in light of disaster, it ain’t bad.