The Mayon Volcano, which is famous for its almost perfect conical shape, is an active volcano located in the province of Albay in the Bicol region. Situated around 15 kilometers northwest of Legazpi City, Mayon is considered as the most active of all the volcanoes in the Philippines, with 47 eruptions in the past 400 years. It stands at 8,081 feet, or 2,462 meters above the gulf.
The most destructive eruption of the Mayon Volcano was on February 1, 1814. The volcano produced so much dark ash that the nearby town of Cagsawa was buried by tephra. The bell tower of the town’s church, which remained above the ashy surface, is just one of the ruins that serve as a reminder of the town’s former existence.
According to legend, there was a beautiful Bicolano princess named Daragang Magayon, who was courted by powerful men from different parts of the country. But the princess fell in love with a warrior named Handiong, who came from a rival tribe. Because their families are against their union, the lovers decided to elope. Their families found out about their elopement, which started a bloody war between their tribes. Magayon and Handiong were not able to handle the suffering caused by the war, so they committed suicide. They were buried separately by their families. After a few months, a volcano started to form where Magayon was buried. They named the volcano after the beautiful princess.
Tourists from other parts of the world have always heralded the majestic beauty of Mayon. In his book History and Conquest of the Philippines and Other Island Possessions, Alden March described the volcano as “the most beautiful volcano in the world. It is 8,223 feet high, its shape is a perfect cone and its crest is always fiery. It has indulged in several destructive eruptions. In 1814 many houses were destroyed and 2500 people were killed and wounded. At its base are famous springs of great medicinal value”.