Albay, January 31: A heavy shroud of ash is erupting Mount Mayon in Albay from two weeks which has halted many vehicles due to poor visibility. But this has indeed resulted positively in the tourism in the Philippines has increased.
Since Mayon began shooting out lava two weeks ago, restaurants and hotels just outside a 9km "danger zone" - some complete with volcano branding - have enjoyed an off-season tourism bonanza.
High-end hotels provide live TV streaming of Mayon's eruption, while out-of-town journalists and tourists are also corralled into "volcano-view" rooms with windows looking out onto the slowly unfolding disaster.
But on the other hand, volcanic ash has destroyed many crops, pushing up vegetable prices. "We are thankful because we have many guests but it also makes me guilty because so many people are affected," Purita Araojo, front desk officer at Vista Al Mayon Pensionne.
Nearly 90,000 people living around the volcano have fled to overcrowded relief camps where the authorities have warned of a worsening sanitation crisis.
With its 52nd eruption in about 400 years, Mayon is the most active of 22 volcanoes in the Philippines, a country which is itself part of the Pacific "Ring of Fire" of islands formed by volcanic activity.