Tourism in Tagaytay, Taal-affected areas suffers 'tremendous setback'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 14) — Tagaytay City, a popular tourist destination known for its cool breeze and scenic views, is suffering a "tremendous setback" from Taal Volcano's unrest.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) on Tuesday said this is also the case for other areas in the CALABARZON region, whhich includes the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon, which all have their share of tourist-friendly places.

"At this point in time, the DOT's foremost concern is public safety including foreign and local tourists affected by this fortuitous event," the DOT said in a statement.

But it said also that it believes tourism in areas affected by Taal's activity will soon recover.

Taal Volcano, itself a postcard-worthy tourist spot in Batangas province, started spewing ash on Sunday.

Two days after, almost everything is still covered in ash in Tagaytay City, including its amusements parks and picnic grove.

There are no tourists in any of these places, only maintenance workers cleaning up thick layers of volcanic ash.

Several malls, restaurants, banks, and other commercial establishments are shut down.

The once green and yellow pineapple plantations have turned gray, all destroyed by the ashfall.

Some residents still opted to open their stores, selling whatever they had left. Some fruit vendors were forced to bring down prices to avoid spoilage.

All in all, damage to crops and livestock has reached more than half a billion pesos in the Calabarzon region, according to the Department of Agriculture.

Taal Vocano remains under Alert Level 4, which means hazardous eruption is imminent. More than 30,000 people in Batangas and Cavite have been evacuated.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said the volcano is not showing signs of slowing down, and that ongoing ash eruptions will continue to trigger volcanic earthquakes.

Taal's activity may last from a few days to several months, based on its history.

CNN Philippines' Rex Remitio contributed to this report.