It’s impossible not to notice Mayon volcano. In silence or in fury, she commands respect, awe and love. How could you not? Her statuesque beauty is both majestic and elegant, a goddess standing in all her radiance and glory that will leave you speechless.

For the last 2 decades, i lived at the foot of her towering presence and every time i glanced at her, intentional or not, not a single moment that she failed to mesmerized me.

Maybe im bewitched or under some spell.. or maybe ived fallen in love with her just like the thousands of others who hold her in high esteem.

Mayon’s value to Albayanos goes beyond being just an object of adulation. The lives of Albayanos revolve around Mayon: as a tourism destination, her healthy soil provides the freshest gabi leaves and vegetables (gabi leaves is the primary ingredient of Albay’s iconic dish called Pinangat), handicrafts inspired by her shape and form, heck! even rice served in the mold of her iconic near perfect form. True, at times she can be deadly and can wantonly takes life as much as she gives but Albayanos have long learned to adjust to her temperaments.

Her beauty and power is unmatched. She is one of the most beautiful volcanoes in the world and also occupy a prominent spot among the most active ones. She attracts thousands of visitors wanting to see her beauty and still attracts hundred of thousands more to watch her fury.

And yet she wasnt among the destinations featured in the new tourism ad that DOT unveiled.

Albay 2nd district Representative Joey Salceda was livid with the omission. If there’s one who truly understand the value of Mayon, it’s him. Under his watch, he turned Albay into a tourism powerhouse, launching multiple programs complimentary to Mayon. I should know, i was part of it. For his efforts, the DOT bestowed upon him the first ever Tourism Star award.

Why the non-inclusion, i dont want to speculate. The official words are that the video was just the beginning and theres more to follow. But then again, why exclude your top player from the starting five? Perhaps the ad agency who made this can explain why.

Ad campaigns like this rarely consults regional offices and stakeholders. It’s generally confined between the ad agency and the approving committee. Whatever the reasons behind, the omission broke a lot of hearts which ironically brings us all back to…. love.

Loving has it’s pitfalls. It requires acceptance of imperfections, of looking beyond faults, of embracing inadequacies. But there must be a limit otherwise it could turn into an abusive relationship. There must be an open communication, a recognition of faults, a promise to do better and an effort to live up to that promise.

The most painful thing about falling in love isn’t about forgotten birthdays or anniversaries, not the absence during christmases or valentines, not the forgotten gifts or the unsaid i love you. What hurt most is when, in the biggest occasion, your love introduces everything that he/she is proud of and…….. you were forgotten!

Time will heal the wound. But for now, we embrace the pain. That’s what loving is all about.