A permanent background of the province of Albay, Mayon volcano is unique because of its almost perfect cone feature. Many recognize it as the 8th wonder of the natural world, giving the province added identity and prestige. Surrounding it is the Mayon Volcano Natural Park, a protected area of the Philippine government. The name Mayon is derived from Magayon, meaning beautiful, of the local legend that tells the story of how the landform came to be. True enough, Mayon volcano is an ever beautiful sight, inspiring artists and poets to elevate their crafts and captivating tourists from all over the globe.
As an active volcano, however, Mayon, once in a while, would erupt to varying degrees of strength. As a kid, I have witnessed some of the catastrophic events brought about by the eruption. I was in first year high school (2001) when I had the rare moment of seeing the sky turn to grey and ash falling over the entire city. The night of the same day, it was no longer ash but rocks as big as ping pong balls that hurled down. And yes, they were slightly warm.
Years following that, Mayon erupted several times but had not caused major tragedies. I still can remember tourists coming in to witness the lava flow from the volcano’s mouth. It was, in a way, boosting tourism.
When visiting the province of Albay, stop by Cagsawa Ruins, a lasting reminder that beauty could be beastly as well. In a major eruption long ago, only the belfry of the church remains today while the rest is buried by the lahar flow. While there, you can have a 45-minute to a little more than an hour ATV experience that takes you to the rugged terrain of Mayon’s slopes.
Afterwhich, drive up to the Parish Church of Daraga and gaze upon the entire view of the volcano. Just hope, though, that no clouds obstruct the view.
Legend says that when Mayon is covered with clouds, the lovers Magayon and Ulap are kissing. Climb Lignon Hill and you might get a chance to witness that show of love that defies form. =)