P100 bank notes will boost Bicol tourism

Dir. RAVANILLA

LEGAZPI CITY — Bicol Regional Tourism Director Maria Ong-Ravanilla is expecting that the newly designed peso bank notes will further rouse potentials for the region’s eco-tourism industry.

“The P100 bill featuring ‘Butanding’ (whaleshark) and Mayon Volcano is a very good tool for tourism promotion. We expect that its output is more tourists for Bicol in 2011 and onwards,” Ravanilla told this writer.

She added that “it’s a privilege, a testimony that indeed Mayon and Butanding are both premier tourist attractions of the country.

But Albay Gov. Joey Salceda made known his apprehension, not on the new bank notes but on where it will get burned. “Featuring them (Mayon and butanding) on peso bills is way too far from cushioning the anticipated economic impact to Bicol, of the 250 percent toll fee hike on the South Luzon Expressway,” said the governor who also sits as the chair of the Bicol Regional Development Council.

Nevertheless, Salceda expressed gratitude to President Benigno C. Aquino III and the leadership of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP): “We are most grateful to the BSP for featuring Mayon Volcano and the butanding in the more prolific currency, the P100 bills.”

As early as May, BSP authorities have hinted to Gov. Salceda this positive development. “Surely, it is a big boost to our tourism promotion effort. Thank you to the entire Monetary Board,” Salceda said.

The new P100 bill, which still carries the photo of former President Manuel Roxas on the front side, now also features the Bicol region through its two famous tourism icons, Mayon Volcano and the famous butanding. The old bank note featured the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas building.

“Relentless efforts to push it in the international tourism community via the new seven wonders of the world, postcards and websites further highlighted by the recent development is so welcome that every Albayano is openly elated about it,” Albay Gov. Joey Salceda earlier told this writer upon learning that the volcano’s picture would be used in a new peso bill design.

“I truly thank the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas chief and am immensely pleased by this development,” Salceda said.

Dorothy Colle of the Albay Provincial Tourism and Cultural Affairs Office said featuring Mayon Volcano on the Philippine currency will be an opportunity to promote the province as well.

She added that local and foreign tourists will become more familiar with where Mayon is and it may boost the province’s tourist arrivals of 235,000, a far second to Camarines Sur’s roughly one million tourist arrivals in 2009.

The newly designed peso bank notes will be out for circulation before the end of this year, it was reported. – Rey M. Nasol

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