THE MAJESTIC MAYON VOLCANO – ALBAY, PHILIPPINES
The volcano is famous for its near perfect cone. “It lies at the eastern portion of the province of Albay. And is about 300 km southeast of Manila. Well known for its beauty and near perfect symmetry, this active volcano is one of the tourist attractions of the country. Mayon reaches up to around 2,462 m above sea level and covers an area of 250 sq km. Its base circumference is 62.8 km encompassing the municipalities of Tabaco, Malilipot, Bacacay, Sto. Domingo, Ligao, Guinobatan, Camalig, Daraga, and Legaspi City. Mayon is classified as a strato volcano or composite cone. It consists of deposits formed basically by four major types of volcanic activity; air fall deposition, pyroclastic flows, rai-triggered debris flows, and lava flows. Air fall and pyroclastic flow deposits are composed of unconsolidated materials varying in size from ash to small boulders. These deposits result from the eruption of fragmented rocks from the crater and are transported down slope under the influence of gravity, explosion blast and the prevailing wind. Rainfall during or a long time after an eruption induces debris to flow down the slopes of Mayon Volcano to form debris flow deposits. These lahars are jumbled mixtures of rocks of varying sizes in a matrix of sand, silt and clay. Lava flows accompany most of Mayon’s eruptions. Predominantly blocky in structure, the lava flows issue mostly from the crater and sometimes from fissures that radiate from the cone.”
An ancient popular legend tells that once upon a time, long before foreigners stepped on the soil of Albay, there was a kingdom in this place ruled by a tribal chief named Makusog (strong). He had an only daughter named Magayon (beautiful). From far away tribes came many young men to woo her. None of them however captivated Magayon’s heart. But one day, she met Panganoron (cloud), a young chieftain from another kingdom and they fell in love. Their wedding was set which infuriated another suitor, Pagtuga (eruption). The two men fought each other and Panganoron killed Pagtuga. Sadly, a stray arrow hit Magayon and as Panganoron held his dying sweetheart in his arms, one of Pagtuga’s men hurled a spear at the back of Panganoron, also killing him. Makusog buried the two ill-fated lovers together and their grave rose to become a beautiful volcano.
Just like a woman, Mayon Volcano, whose name comes from the beautiful heroine Magayon, has different moods. On a clear sunny day, it looks serene with a bluish hue, seemingly content on flaunting its beauty to its admirers. Wisps of cottony, white cloud always hover around the volcano, adding charm to the scenery. Folklore say that the cloud is the spirit of Panganoron, kissing and embracing the beautiful volcano. On a gloomy weather, Mayon hides its crown or its entirety behind a misty cloud like a shy maiden, unwilling to be seen by disappointed tourists. It is said that this is the volcano’s way of enticing first-time visitors to return to Albay, to be seen by them when it is in the mood to unfold completely its splendor during their next visit.
Sources: PHIVOLCS, http://trifter.com/asia-pacific/philippines/the-majestic-mayon volcano philippines/#ixzz10Cz6ZToq, photo courtesy of Tom Bombon at http://www.tombombon.com/Bicol2.htm