Progress is a strange thing. For individuals, it changes beliefs and lifestyles. For places, it changes landscapes. We were in Tagaytay yesterday and I just had to take a photo of the giant ferris wheel that’s in its last stages of construction beside Taal Vista Hotel where the horseback riding area used to be. The ferris wheel is among the features of a new amusement park called Sky Ranch, a project of Henry Sy’s SM Land Commercial Properties Group. The horses were moved across the street. And, based on the signs on Sky Ranch’s construction site, Sky Ranch will have its own horseback riding facilities.
I’m not happy with the ferris wheel just as I didn’t feel happy when high rise condominium buildings started sprouting in Tagaytay during the last couple of years. Tagaytay was beautiful when it was a quaint town with local bulalo eateries, low-rise hotels and family vacation houses — the time when one just to park along the ridge, drink in cool air and feel swathed with the mysterious allure of Taal Volcano and the lake that surrounds it.
The rapid commercialization is making Tagaytay lose its charm. The too many fastfood and restaurant chains have already given it the same generic face worn by half the cities in the country which, like Tagaytay, are experiencing “progress” and tourism boost. They line the ridge, almost shoulder to shoulder, and one has to go inside one and order something just to get a good view of the volcano in the lake.
There’s just something terribly wrong with that scenario. If I were a superstitious person, I’d wonder — if the volcano erupts and wreaks havoc anytime soon, who is to say that it isn’t showing its wrath?