Taal’s unrest forces Good Shepherd to halt production in Tagaytay

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 17 2020 11:25 PM | Updated as of Jan 17 2020 11:55 PM

TAGAYTAY CITY - Good Shepherd on Thursday said it will temporarily stop producing pastries, including its famous ube jam, in Tagaytay City after Taal Volcano’s rumbling downed power and water lines, and forced people and tourists to evacuate from areas near the country’s second most active volcano.

The shop’s cliffside commissary in Maryridge Good Shepherd Convent had to be evacuated because it was within the volcano island’s 14-kilometer danger zone, said head of production Nelson Guray.

Authorities earlier ordered the mandatory evacuation in ridges and coastal cities circling the island as the volcano continued to emit smoke 5 days since it spewed an ash column that blanketed nearby areas with thick mud.

WATER WOES

The ashfall downed power and water lines in Tagaytay City, crucial utilities for food businesses like Good Shepherd.

Water is needed in scrubbing dirt off tons of ube and other ingredients. The commissary also needs power to keep its refrigerators working to avoid spoilage.

“Mas okay din na hindi muna kami magluto para sigurado yung quality namin. Hindi pa kasi nalilinis lahat ng ashfall kaya wag muna, baka maalikabukan pa ang produkto namin,” Guray said.

(It’s better for us to halt operations for a while so we can also maintain the quality of our products. The ashfall has not yet been thoroughly cleaned so we decided not to produce yet to protect our products from dust.)

As of January 16, power has been restored in parts of Cavite and Batangas, but water supply remains to be a problem in Tagaytay City.

Kaybubutong Spring, where a third of Tagaytay’s water supply is sourced, was partly affected by the ashfall, Tagaytay City Administrator Gregorio Monreal earlier told ABS-CBN News.

Authorities have taken samples from the spring and are still checking its quality, he said.

Tagaytay City Water District and PrimeWater told ABS-CBN News that they would release an official statement about water supply issues in this tourism hub.

Guray said there is no date yet for the reopening of Good Shepherd.

The commissary might consider sending tons of raw ube to the Good Shepherd kitchen in Baguio City to avoid spoilage, he said.

“Wala din naman masyadong turista. May umakyat man, titingin lang sa Taal, pero hindi naman mamimili... Ang pagpasok nila [sa Tagaytay] hindi para sa pagsasaya pero para magdala ng donasyon, para tumulong,” he said.

(Tourists hardly comeby. Even if some come here, they just look at the volcano, but they’re not really here to buy. They come here not as merrymakers, but to send donations and help.)