Here in my home province of Bicol in Southern Luzon Philippines, we are proud to have a majestic and picture book landmark called Mt. Mayon. She is renowned for having the most perfect cone in the world.
Actually, Mt. Mayon has been and still is an active volcano. During the 1800’s, its devastating eruption burried a whole town situated near its slopes. To this day you can still see the only remaining evidence of its deadly destruction. Thousands of lives were lost then. Buried beneath the deep layers of lahar, only the top most portion of the ancient church belfry remains standing on todays’ grounds. It is called the Cagsawa Ruins of Albay Town.
On a clear day, one can occassionally see smoke billowing out of its crater. However, us Bicolanos are used to this ordinary occurence. It is part of our daily lives. A year ago a warning alert was raised for a possible eruption. There were quite a few weak tremors but they did not last long. Many mountaineers, both local and foreign, enjoy the safe but rigorous and challenging climb to designated portions of Mayon. Professional photographers and hobbyist flock to Bicol to capture in film the regal and picturesque Mt. Mayon together with its grandeur landscape. During those recent minor eruptions, multitudes upon multitudes of tourists nationwide trooped to Bicol just to witness the spectacular fiery display of molten lava spewing out of her crater particularly at night. Hotels were fully booked then and live media coverage went international. She bolstered our local tourism tenfold and earned so much revenue for our province. Mt. Mayon has been and always will be a major tourist attraction for many many years to come. She may act up a little bit but I am sure she will always remain the gentle giant that she is. At least, in my life time.
[Originally published in PersonaPaper 2015]