Mayon Volcano in Albay, Bicol has an almost perfectly-shaped cone. Every time it erupts, tourists come in droves to witness its beauty.
The fact that this is the most active volcano in the Philippines does not deter tourists from taking a glimpse of its nearly perfect conical shape. Aptly called “Bulkang Magayon” (Magayon Volcano; magayon means beautiful in the language), its beauty did not go unnoticed by the world as it was one of the Philippines’ entrant in the New 7 Wonders of Nature.
Towering 2,462 meters above sea level with a jagged crater, the Mayon Volcano have unleashed its power and fury in almost 50 recorded eruptions since 1616. Its volcanic activity is regularly monitored by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology at their provincial headquarters.
Trekking to Mayon Volcano
Mayon Volcano also attracts mountaineers from different parts of the world who want to see its beauty up close. They don’t lack for accommodation; there are budget-friendly hotels and guesthouses in Albay that are frequented by hikers prior to their climb.
The hike up Mayon itself is a challenging and exhilarating experience for both rookies and master trekkers. The trails pass by forests, grasslands, and rocky fields coated with lava.
People who want to climb Mayon Volcano need to register at the PHILVOCS office in the northwestern slope near the Mayon Resthouse, which is incidentally the first camping station. From the Mayon Resthouse to the next camping station which is Base Camp 1 is an easy trek lined with trees and other vegetation. The trek becomes harder to Base Camp 2 where the rocky slope begins.
The crater of Mount Mayon is restricted because of its poisonous sulfuric fumes. Knife’s Edge, the last camp, is the closest tourists can get from its summit. A one-day trek to Mount Mayon will take about 8 to 12 hours including rest stops. However, tourists who want to reach Knife’s Edge are advised to have a one and a half day trek with an overnight at Base Camp 1.
The Legend of Mayon Volcano
There many versions of the legend involving a beautiful maiden named Magayon. The story has it that Magayon fell in love with Panganoron, a stranger who saved her life. Their love story became a tragic one when Magayon’s father was kidnapped by Paratuga, a suitor that she turned down, to force her into marrying him. In exchange for her father’s freedom, Magayon decided to marry Paratuga.
On the day of her wedding, Panganoron went to see her. She was hurriedly walking to him when an arrow hit her. Panganoron was about to carry the body of Magayon when he was attacked and also died.
Magayon was buried with the precious stones Paratuga gave her as wedding presents. Suddenly, her burial ground moved upwards which is now known as the Mount Mayon.
According to the legend, the tremors and eruptions of the volcano are caused by the furious spirit of Paratuga, while the cloud overhead the volcano is Pangaronon’s spirit. When it rains in Mount Mayon, it is believed that Panganoron is crying over the loss of his beloved Magayon.
Other Things to See in Albay, Bicol
There are many interesting sites in Albay that are worth visiting aside from the majestic Mount Mayon among these is the Cagsawa Church Ruins. It shows what is left of the town after the eruption of Mount Mayon in February 1814.
An ideal place to cool down and relax while bathing in natural springs are the Bugcusan Falls in Tiwi and the Busay Falls in Malilipot, one of the highest waterfalls in the Philippines that has seven levels of gushing spring water.
Stopping by the Kimantong Sky Drive in Daraga is a popular rest stop where tourists can see a breathtaking view of Daraga and Legazpi.
Going to Albay, Bicol
Traveling by bus from Manila to Legazpi City, Albay takes about nine to 12 hours. Major bus companies such as Philtranco, Peñafrancia and RSL Transit in Cubao and Manila have daily trips to Legazpi.
Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and ZestAir have regular flight schedules to Legazpi which is almost one hour from Manila.
Traveling by sea is not recommended since the main port is out of the way. It is primarily used for traveling to nearby towns.