By Alan Robles
originally published in Filglobe.com May 2007
The Philippines is a great place for building luxury spas. The Philippines has many scenic volcanoes. So what's more logical than to build a luxury spa on a scenic volcano?
This could be the reasoning behind a Filipino-Korean company's project to construct a resort right on the crater edge of Taal volcano – which happens to be on an island in the middle of a large lake that itself used to be an enormous volcano. Did I forget to mention? Taal is the country's deadliest exploding mountain.
You'd think only two kinds of people would want to build installations on volcanoes:
(a) demented super villains in secret agent movies;
(b) individuals who've been ingesting too many forbidden substances.
But this group seems to be serious. In fact it had gotten permits and was already busy building a road on the island before it was ordered to suspend its work. Oh yes, the company had also driven away some residents living on the island. Don't ask me what residents were doing on Taal. Perhaps they were hiding ballot boxes from the Comelec. The reports didn't' say if any super villains were evicted.
Before we rush to condemn a project like this, we should stop. We should think. We should – perhaps – ingest a few forbidden substances. We could then try to think of the idea's good points.
First, would be location. A spa perched on the edge of a volcano has an unbeatable view. Of course, guests would probably have to be carefully briefed about the floor plan:
Guest in bathrobe: Excuse me, does this door lead to the saunaaaaaaa…..
Attendant: Watch your step sir
But think of the possibilities. What could be more relaxing than looking down a crater full of sulphurous, smoking water, a vista guaranteed to induce a peaceful frame of mind that can calmly contemplate questions such as: "I wonder if I'm going to die now?"
Second, tourist agencies could go to town marketing the concept. Imagine the slogans: "The mudbath of your dreams!" "Philippine spas are booming!"
Third, the spa could offer unique services: steam rooms; hot water pools; lava-heated cooking. Guests who can't settle their bills would get extended time in the steam rooms.
Families could go boating on the lake. There might even be a special boat race called "Paddle For Your Life As Tremendous Flaming Boulders Come Flying In Your Direction." A screaming contest would be optional.
Actually it's perfectly safe. Taal hasn't erupted since, oh I don't know, 1977? And the fact that it's been on alert level 1 for seven years now and there've been earthquakes in the area are just minor disturbances.
But government authorities now say they will scuttle the project. When I think about it, I agree. Volcano crater edges shouldn't be given to trivial businesses like spas. They should be reserved for vital installations. Like Congress.