I was unsuccessful the first time I was in Bicol to visit Mount Mayon. From Naga City, I took the bus to Legazpi City. What greeted me were thick gray clouds and a fine rain accompanied me to a site where there’s a great view of the famous volcano. As expected, it was nowhere in sight when I got there. So it was a total disappointment for my Nikon FM10. (That was more than 5 years ago… I have yet to own a DSLR.)
Two weeks ago I got the chance to revisit the majestic Mt. Mayon, also known as Mayon Volcano: I was in Naga City with some friends for three days. On our second day, with the sun was glowing in a crisp blue sky, we found nothing to do around the city. So after having our lunch, my friend Bob and I decided to embark on a journey and took a two-hour drive to Cagsawa Ruins where the best view of the volcano can be seen. We passed ten towns and railroads to get there. Halfway through the drive there’s already a breathtaking view of the whole volcano that would make any conscious rider astonished. After some more minutes before the town of Camalig, where the Cagsawa Park is located, drops of rain started to fill Bob’s windshield and the gray clouds ahead of us seem to be mocking me once more. In this kind of situation I need all the optimism I could extract from deep within me – as driving Bob tried to talk and sway the clouds away, I tried to keep silent and prayed. And gladly, when we reached the site, the sun together with blue sky brightly welcomed us with a rainbow display.
It’s a few meters walk going to the park. There’s a wide river to be crossed, but only a small amount of water runs through it – it consists mostly of black sands and rocks that most probably belched out by the, more than once, furious volcano. To pass over the river is a narrow bridge made from a file of coco lumber and braced by bamboos and trunks of kakawate (madre de cacao). Underneath that small bridge are remnants of what was once a concrete bridge. Inside and outside of the park, a lot of souvenir shops and eateries can be found. As we enter the park I knew for sure that seeing the whole majesticity of Mt. Mayon is not going to happen on this day; a bulk of clouds hovers over its peak. Still, we waited and hoped for the clouds to move away, we even tried whistling to call on to the wind and wipe them off – just show us the peak… let us have a peek of it’s peak.
While waiting, I looked around and wondered how this place looks like centuries ago. Staring at the Cagsawa belfry, I simply can’t imagine the enormous amount of lava that the Mt. Mayon spitted out and buried the church including it’s town and the many towns nearby. History has it that it was during the most destructive eruption of the volcano on February 1, 1814 that the church was destroyed and took more than a thousand lives. It is true that once nature decides, life will cease to exist in a snap, just like that. Ironically, it was these eruptions that beautified Mt. Mayon. Singled-out worldwide for having the most perfect cone – which experts said was formed through layers of pyroclastic and lava flows from past eruptions and erosion. The Philippines truly pride itself with this most active volcano. Though I have yet to see up close (and personal) it’s whole perfectly symmetric conical shape, I’m gratified to have seen its’ peak that day. Yes, the clouds were finally uncloaked and revealed to us, in about 30 seconds, Mayon’s most anticipated peak.
Back in Naga City, we were told that Mt. Mayon is really shy and rarely show it’s whole beauty and that it’s pure luck to see it cloudless and clear. Well I’m going to be lucky; when I go back and capture it… someday.