TOURISTS FLOCK TO MARCOS BUST
BAGUIO CITY, January 7, 2003 (STAR) By Artemio Dumlao — A ruined monument can still be a major tourist attraction.
The Marcos bust — or what’s left of it — in Taloy Sur, Tuba town in Benguet has been attracting more tourists since it was destroyed by explosives last Dec. 29.
The Department of Tourism (DOT) in the Cordilleras said tourists and people traveling along the Marcos Highway seem to find the ruins more interesting than when the statue was still whole.
New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas based in the Cordilleras blasted the 30-meter-high concrete monument, apparently to demolish a reminder of the late strongman’s "arrogance."
The early morning blast destroyed the eyes, nose and forehead of the concrete monument. Until now, authorities are still eyeing treasure hunters as culprits despite the NPA’s admission.
Authorities have not ascertained what kind of explosive device was used.
DOT regional Director Pura Molintas said she would meet Tourism Secretary and Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA) chairman Richard Gordon to discuss the PTA’s plans for the ruined monument.
Up to now, the PTA has yet to decide whether or not to rehabilitate the blasted bust.
"I am not sure what plans PTA officials have (on the bust). They are the proper persons who can decide what to do with the bust," Molintas said.
The local DOT admitted that it was surprised when informed by some Tuba residents that more foreign and domestic tourists were seen dropping by the ruined Marcos bust before going up or going down the lowlands from the city.
"It was actually surprising because it was after the Marcos bust was blasted that curious tourists started to visit it," Molintas said. "There were even those who traveled to Baguio just to see the blown-up bust."
It was also reported that some visitors even took home pieces of the blasted monument as souvenir.
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
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