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Mayon Volcano at Albay: Tourists’ say “It’s Worth the Flight!"
The Beautiful Mayon
Every time I got home from school, I am able to enjoy Mayon Volcano’s enchanting view for a moment. Our home happened to have this beautiful background. The volcano is located kilometers west of our town. Because of this, we really enjoy watching sunrise at some beaches located east where you see the rays of the sun gradually colors the sea, the sky and the volcano with orange shade. Later in the morning until early in the afternoon, the waters, the heavens and majestic Mayon are blue. At dawn, the sun hides behind the perfect coned volcano leaving its rays extended into the horizon which defines more the shape of Mayon. In the evening, she hides completely behind the night sky. Sometimes, she lets herself partly seen when some lava glows from her crater.
Where Is Mayon?
Mayon Volcano, also known as Mount Mayon, is an active volcano in the province of Albay, on the island of Luzon in the Philippines.
Where did the name ‘Mayon’ come from?
Albayanos are generally artistic and are people who appreciate beauty very much. Our ancestors admired the volcano so much that they called it Mayon which could be a shorter term of ‘magayon’ meaning beautiful.
Influence of Mayon to the Albayanos
Albay is very rich in literature. People of Albay are known to be musicians, poets and writers. Who among Albayanos would not know about the story of Daragang Magayon? It is a story wherein a beautiful young lady or princess turned into a massive volcano in the later part of the story. This Legend of the Mayon Volcano is passed down from generation to generation for many years now. Yearly, Albay is celebrating two month long festivals called Magayon Festival and Ibalong Festival. Magayon is the legend of the volcano while Ibalong is an epic about three great heroes of Bicolandia which is a separate story. Who among Albayanos never heard Sarung Banggi? Sarung Banggi is a famous folk music composition wherein a gentleman serenades a young lady late in the night. Another famous literature originated in Albay is ‘Tigsik’. This is a very fun activity wherein two or more poets recite or exchange stanzas of a poem they composed on the spot. The stanzas always start with “tinigsik ko si ____” to refer to a person or “tinigsik ko an ____” to refer to a place, event or thing. This ‘Tigsik’ could be a friendly conversation, a political discussion or just making fun of one another in a highly artistic way.
People of Albay Enjoying the Beauty of the Province
Interesting Beliefs about Mayon
They say that if it is your first time in Albay, immediately checkout the Mayon. Some believe that if you see the volcano clearly, you are a good person. However, if you see the volcano hiding in thick clouds, it could mean you are a lonely person or you have dark intentions. Many famous people like Queen Sophia have already visited this province and amazingly the weather is fine and the sky is so clear. (I wonder who visited the province of Albay during the typhoon Reming in 2006 and Glenda in 2014.)
What you should not miss while in Albay?
- Take pictures of you and the volcano in the historic Cagsawa Ruins.
- Do an Island hoping. Ride the ‘Floating Cottage’. Visit uninhabited islands, caves, rock formations and forests. (Best done with friends or family)
- Enjoy vacation under the sun in Misibis Bay or other white/black sand beaches.
- Hang out with the locals during Magayon or Ibalong Festival. Watch the colorful and lively parades during the day and party with local bands, singers, musicians and other artists throughout the night.
- Refresh yourself with Sili Ice Cream (ice cream with pepper) available in 1st Colonial Grill.
- Test your courage by eating Bicol Express (a delicacy made of tiny shrimps sauted or cooked in coconut milk packed with spicy peppers) for lunch. Be an Oragon! (‘oragon’ usually means cool or courageous)
- Watch a Daragang Magayon Musical.
- Learn to sing Sarung Banggi.
- Learn to Tigsik.
- Have ‘I Love Albay’ Shirt. It is a must. Even Queen Sophia requested one.
It's more fun in Albay, Philippines!
Few more tips to enjoy stay in Albay
- Always bring coins and small bills with you. Means of transportation in Legazpi City and Daraga, Albay are usually jeepney and tricycle and they charge little amounts only for a regular ride.
- Be attentive to your belongings. It is okay to be always friendly with the locals. However, in too crowded places like malls or festivals, refrain from too much conversation with strangers. Do not lose your attention to your belongings especially when you are watching events in crowd. There are expert thieves in Legazpi City. I was a victim of this.
- Know some important local terms. Words like “para!” (pull over!), “bayad” (payment), and “sukli” (change) are very important for transportation.
- Get everything fully charged. Brownouts usually happen in Albay.
- Accept souvenir gifts gladly from the local government. This is a must especially if you are a celebrity or a well known person. (A celebrity was almost banned here in Albay because of information that he did not accept the I Love Albay shirt as gift.)