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The Amazing Force of the Mayon Volcano
The Beauty of Mayon
As we trekked toward the amazing volcano from various points we were truly in awe as its giant perfectness stood in the foreground. For those of you who have never seen this great giant it is truly a wonder to behold. It can humble you, amaze you, and even take your property or your life as it has for many people throughout its existence.
Mayon is said to be the world's most perfectly cone shaped volcano of its kind; Even greater than the famed Mount Fuji in Japan. After seeing it first hand, one can believe it.
We were fortunate on our trek towards this great giant as many days one cannot see its full force due to clouds that often roll in and block this amazing wonder. This was the case when we first arrived at the Legazpi airport, which is where you want to land if you are hunting this natural wonder.
The name Mayon comes from the epic Bicol tale. Bicol is the general area. This tale tells the story of Daragang Magayon. This is also where the local place gets its name of Daraga Albay.
This volcano is known as a Scoria Cone or Cinder Cone volcano. Its eruptions are a kind known as Strombolian. This is why it still has a perfect cone shape. It's crater is known as a bowl summit type, which is quite an amazing site if you can get close enough.
A Glowing Monster
Our journey began early one morning. We had heard that the best time to view it was right after dawn as the winds can kick up later in the day and push cloud coverings over its beauty. When one first sees its beauty early in the morning it can seem quite blue as in the picture above. This was our first good glimpse of the giant monster from our hotel located near the Legazpi airport. As the morning went on it became even more gorgeous and wondrous.
The Smoking Giant
The picture above gives one a sense of what it might look like when it begins billowing smoke from its crater near the tip. It truly does look as though smoke is coming from the top and trickling down the sides. Yet, luckily for us and everyone else in its vicinity, this is just an illusion made by the light clouds passing by.
The Tipping Point
The photo above gives one a closer look at the tip of Mayon and its almost perfectly shaped cone. This is where smoke and lava has come from many times in the past, which has caused great destruction from its awesome force.
The River Valley Below
This river valley has felt both the beauty and the force of Mayon along with other natural forces throughout the years. Recently, in 2007, the force of Typhoon Remming was felt here killing many people. Unfortunately for the residents of this area, Mayon erupted at the same time, causing the destruction of many homes as well. The remnants of this event are still felt today.
Below are two photographs of the recent destruction caused by Mayon along with the typhoon that rocked the area.
Views of Misery and Destruction from Natural Forces
The Cagsawa Catastophe
The Cagsawa ruins give reminder of the painful reality of the Mayon volcano and its amazing natural force. However, I am sure those who died here and had to experience it first hand would not be so amazed by its force as they, first hand, died because of it.
This Franciscan Church was originally built in 1724. It had lasted nearly 100 years before Mayon erupted. The people, who were living in the local area at the time, unfortunately believed the church and its believed religious power would save them from the reality of nature. In their faulty reasoning they hid inside expecting some kind of divine protection. What they found instead was a most likely painful, frightening, and terrible death that trapped them in the tower shown in the picture above.
The landscape and surrounding buildings are still charred to this day. A constant reminder of the continuous destructive force of this amazing natural wonder. Below is a picture of the old church located in Cagsawa, or Cagsaua as it was called under the Spanish occupation, before it's eventual destruction.
A Blast from the Past
Once Mayon erupted and the people gathered inside, they were treated to a horrible death that saw clawing and screaming as those on the bottom tried to claw their way to higher ground while the lava flow rose under them. It must have been horrible to say the least. Probably similar to the fate of those who lived in Pompeii when Vesuvius erupted nearly 1750 years earlier.
Seeing this awesome force provides one with many things including a sense of natural wonder, the destructive forces of nature, a humbling sense of the smallness and fragility of the human condition, the awesome power of renewal of the human spirit and drive, and the reality of the natural landscape we call planet Earth.
It was quite an amazing experience and one that I would recommend those who are lucky enough to experience. Whether, you are a Filipino citizen, or a foreigner on a vacation, an adventurer, or a thrill seeker, this is definitely a must see for anyone with the resources to do so. The amazing force of the Mayon Volcano is exactly that...AMAZING!