Philippines’ Perfect Cone Volcano
I always gaze in awe at the magnificent, towering perfect cone – Mayon Volcano in the Province of Albay, Bicol, Philippines. However, while we take pride of it, we also feared Mayon. It is is one of the most active volcano in the country and has been the cause of the displacement of thousands of people during eruption. In January 2018, Mayon Volcano has erupted, its status has neared level 5 which meant hazardous eruption in progress. Check this description for more details, https://www.phivolcs.dost.gov.ph/index.php/volcano-hazard/volcano-alert-level. The said incident caused thousands of people to evacuate for about three months to safe areas, beyond the 6 to 11 kilometer permanent danger zones.
The locals spread stories that the cause of the eruption was the ensuing battle between the two suitors of Magayon (beautiful maiden, daughter of Makusog, the chief of the tribe in Legazpi City, the capital city of the Province of Albay).
The Legend of Mayon named the two avid suitors of Magayon, Pagtuga, means eruption, and Panganoron means sky. It was the latter who won the heart of Magayon. But Pagtuga, who’s also a chief in one of the tribes in Bicol, won’t surrender and pursued Magayon even if he needed to kidnap her and wage war against them. Panganoron and Makusog (Magayon’s Father) went to save her. The story ended tragically with the deaths of the three “star-crossed” lovers. The bodies of Magayon and Panganoron were buried together in a place where Mayon Volcano is located. According to the locals of the place which residence are near the foot of Mayon, until now, the two lovers (Magayon and Panganoron) couldn’t rest peacefully because of Pagtuga’s interference.
Believe it or not, during the eruption of Mayon Volcano in 2018, photos of Mayon Volcano were captured that show ash formation of two lovers clung together. See this link for the said photo and details on the legend at https://news.abs-cbn.com/life/01/18/18/star-crossed-lovers-the-story-of-magayon-and-pangaronon
Personally, when watching movies, I always go for the one with a happy ending. I also love Shakespeare’s As You Like It comedy as the ending is written as everyone would like it to be – a happy one. I really wish that even in death, Magayon and Panganoron would have a peaceful love without Pagtuga. I wish Pagtuga would eventually let her go and let them love each other eternally.
Going back to Mayon Volcano now, it’s still majestic, overlooking the Province of Albay and those nearby. I hope it won’t erupt anymore to cause disorder in this time of pandemic. Nevertheless, Mayon Volcano is one of the tourists spots we’re proud of. Recently, a Hobbit Hill in Amtic, Ligao City, Albay, Bicol, Philippines has been the news in the social media. The Hobbit Hill looks like the Hobbiton in New Zealand where The Lord of the Rings was filmed.
The Hobbit Hill has a very strategic view of Mayon Volcano and Mount Masaraga, an extinct strato-volcano located in Ligao City, in the same province. The entrance fee is PhP50.00 or around $1.00. Special acknowledgment to my friend and former colleague, Paolo Esquivel for the photos.
Should you wish to see Mayon Volcano and have a look at the Hobbit Hill after the pandemic, you may take a flight (45 minutes to 1 hour) from Manila to Legazpi City. From Legazpi City, you may rent a car or a tricycle to Amtic, Ligao City. Aside from the Hobbit Hill you may also want to see the Cagsawa Ruins, a church that was buried during Mayon Volcano before, Sumlang Lake in Camalig, Albay and the Daraga Church in Daraga, Albay. You may include in your list a visit to the Most Friendly Whaleshark – Butanding in Donsol, Sorsogon, which is about 2 hours from Legazpi City. You will have an unforgettable experience swimming with the Butanding, but take note that their season is within the months of March to May. For local travels, you may contact firstname.lastname@example.org at 09175389750 of Bicolanong Rabas to help you arrange with all your needs. It is always best that you’ll be accompanied by a local to maximize your visit and save from spending much.