Photograph by Gordon  Macdonald, U.S. Geological Survey, December 4, 1953.

    Mayon has the classic conical shape of a stratovolcano. It is the most active  volcano in the Philippines. Since 1616, Mayon has erupted 47 times. The beautifully symmetrical Mayon volcano, which rises to 2,460 meters above the Albay Gulf, is the Philippines' most active volcano. The structurally simple volcano has steep upper slopes that average 35-40 degrees and is capped by a small summit crater. The historical eruptions of this basaltic-andesitic volcano date back to 1616 and range from Strombolian to basaltic Plinian. Eruptions occur predominately from the central conduit and have also produced lava flows that travel far down the flanks. Pyroclastic flows and mudflows have commonly swept down many of the approximately 40 ravines that radiate from the summit and have often devastated populated lowland areas.

The most recent  eruption, in 1993, began unexpectedly with an explosion. The initial eruption  lasted only 30 minutes but it generated pyroclastic flows that killed 68 people  and prompted the evacuation of 60,000 others. This photo shows pyroclastic flows  descending Mayon on March 2, 1993. Photograph copyrighted and provided by Steve  O'Meara of Volcano Watch International.

Summit of Mayon  with a small ash plume. March 7, 1993. Photograph copyrighted and provided by  Steve O'Meara of Volcano Watch International.

Mythical  Origins of Mayon

But until today (2007) Mayon has changed its shape more and more.


Nue  ardentes, like the ones in the left photo, were recorded at 18 of these  eruptions. Twelve eruptions have caused fatalities. Photograph by Jim Moore,  U.S. Geological Survey, April, 1968.

The Legend of Magayon

Legend attempts to unravel the mystery of the origin of this magnificent chunk of earth. It seems that there once lived a very beautiful native princess who had an uncle named Magayon. He was so possessive of his niece that no man dared to challenge his wrath by courting the favors of the young maiden. One day, however, a brave and virile warrior was so smitten by the princess that he threw all cares to the wind, clambered up through the window of the royal chamber and enticed the girl to elope with him.

With Magayon at their heels, the couple prayed to the gods for assistance. Suddenly from out of nowhere, a landslide buried the raging uncle alive. Local folks now claim that it is Magayon's anger bursting forth in the form of eruptions.

Mount Mayon, Philippines

Location: 13.3N, 123.7E, Elevation: 8,075  feet (2,460 m.)

Batan Islands
Balintang Ch.
Hibok Hibok

Legaspi City,  capital city of Albay, located south of Luzon in the Bicol region.  Generally, Bicolanos are known to love spicy foods.  A joke goes "When strong typhoons visit Bicol, the Bicolanos would first see to the safety of their chili plants, before their own homes.'
Legaspi city has not much to offer in terms of tourist attractions.  But if you search deeper, at the Daraga area, is an old church, located on top of a hill, built on the 16th or 17th hundred ( I guess)  and a panoramic view of the Mayon volcano.  Then, there is the ruins of Cagsawa/Kagsawa, a sunken church caused by the eruption of Mayon on the 17th hundred, the Hoyophoyopan cave,  the Hot Springs of Tiwi, and of course the over imposing  Mayon volcano.   According to a legend the name is derived from Magayon, a young woman , who's lover  was killed. She died mourning for her man. She was buried, and after sometime, a mountain appeared, it was named after her.  It is said that when the volcano erupt, it is the rage of Magayon. Later  the name Magayon was shortened to Mayon.  This very active volcano is one of the worlds 7 wonders because of its most perfect cone. Bicolanos, as is true in most Philippine regions, speaks Bicol language, which means Legaspi tongue is different from Naga tongue, but understands each other.






Sources of Information:

Global Volcanism Network, 1993, Summary of recent volcanic activity: Bulletin  of Volcanology, v. 55, no. 4, p. 301.

McClelland, L., Simkin, T., Summers, M., Nielsen, E., and Stein, T.C., 1989,  Global Volcanism 1975-1985, Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 655 p.

Moore, J.G., and Melson, W.G., 1969, Nuee ardentes of the 1968 eruption of  Mayon volcano, Philippines: Bulletin of Volcanology, v. 33, p. 600-620.

Newhall, C.G., 1979, Temporal variations in the lavas of Mayon volcano,  Philippines: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 5, p. 61-84.

Simkin, T., and Siebert, L., 1994, Volcanoes of the World: Geoscience Press,  Tucson, AZ, 349 p.

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Malapascua Island 

Mount Mayon, Philippines

Visayan Sea, Cebu, Philippines,