Popular around the world for its perfect cone shape, and as popular among Bicolanos for its dangerous eruptions, Mayon has always attracted locals and tourists alike. It’s one of the most visited places in Bicol, and it’s actually hard to miss when you’re traveling in Albay. Once you approach the third district by bus or the Legazpi airport by plane, you’ll see Mayon looming from afar, looking like a majestic queen in her throne.
Even after living with Mayon in the background for many years, I have never stopped being captivated by this landmark.
Like a true lady, Mayon has different moods.
There are times when she is calm with not a stir around her–not even a breath, not even a heartbeat.
Other times, she would take on a queenly stance, grow distant and cold, and not allow anything near her. During a time like this, everything would be still and not even the clouds would venture nearby. The volcano would be alone in her throne, the entire world all to her own.
But in the snap of invisible fingers, she can let go, let loose, and turn playful like a young girl… And around her, all would be glad and merry.
When the world is a little cold and gray, Mayon would hide behind the clouds, a young child taking comfort in her mother’s warmth.
Every once in a while, she unleashes her wrath and erupts, spewing ashes and lava, her might and power in full display. Everyone would be afraid, anticipating the disaster that would come next.
It is probably the combination of all these that gives Mayon her allure and beauty.
Right now, locals and tourists enjoy and interact with Mayon in many different ways. Adventurous folks attempt to climb the volcano—there are mountaineering groups who organize regular climbs during certain times of the year. A Mayon ATV ride is another exciting activity to try. Both mentioned activities I haven’t tried yet, but I will be sure to try them in the future.
Those who simply want to gaze at Mayon’s beauty would find places in Albay that offer a scenic view of this volcano. Among the most popular are the Cagsawa Park and the Lignon Hill. The former is a park where the historic Cagsawa Church (or what remains of it) is located. Scattered across the park are huge rocks spewed from the mouth of Mayon during its most devastating eruption back in 1814. Meanwhile, Lignon Hill is, well, a hill that tourists climb in order to see Mayon and the entire city of Legazpi. It’s quite a challenging climb, but the scenery is worth the effort. Visitors can also ride the zipline or go rappelling.
The best time to go and see Mayon is during the summer since the latter part of the year is usually rainy and typhoon season in Albay. You can either take an approximately 10-hour bus trip from Manila, or you can take a shorter 1-hour plane ride.And of course, don’t forget to buy pilinut candy for your friends back home.