The Perfect Cone

Shot from the Plane

Majestic, enthralling, captivating, mysterious – that’s how I describe the most visited volcano in the Philippines, Mt. Mayon!  Rising 2,462 ft from the shores of the Gulf of Albay about 10 kilometers away, the volcano is geographically shared by the cities and municipalities of Legazpi, Daraga, Camalig, Guinobatan, Ligao, Tabaco, Malilipot, and Santo Domingo. (www.wikipedia.com)

At the Airport
At the Airport

Upon arrival at Coastal View Resort in Santo Domingo where I first checked-in, a certain local asked me whether I saw Mt. Mayon or not while landing.  I said a very proud and big “yes” that made her grin and whispered to me, “so you’re still a virgin”.  I was shocked by her statement and found out that it’s part of Bicol’s wide array of superstitious beliefs that when a first-timer comes to the place and Mt. Mayon reveals herself right at that instant, that first-timer is believed to be never been touched since birth.  So I just smiled back and halfly shy of “still” being a virgin given that I’m the only one left in the boat…..

Shot from the Moving Bus
Shot from the Moving Bus

Then I asked, what’s the connection?  The pretty and petite local told me that Mt. Mayon is a lady. So I got to review my Filipino literature about the legend of Mt. Mayon.

Once upon a time, there was this distinct group of people composed of beautiful women and sturdy warriors in Kabikolan.  This region in the Philippines was so strict that suitors from other places are not welcome to court nor marry its daragas (maidens) so as to secure the place from invaders.

Shot from Legazpi City Hall
Shot from Legazpi City Hall

Of all the beautiful women, there was this more winsome damsel named Daragang Magayon. She had a constant suitor of her tribe named Paratuga.  The warrior was so wealthy that he often offered Magayon presents of pearls, diamonds, and gold.  But Magayon never saw him the way he wanted her to be.

One night, Magayon confessed to her father, Tiong Makusog that she had fallen in love with someone else.  She told him that while she was bathing in the river, her feet suddenly slipped on the rock when a brave man caught her and saved her from drowning.  Unfortunately, the man was from another region Katagalogan which is a very big no-no for their tribe.

At Daraga Church
At Daraga Church

Meanwhile, Paratuga already got impatient with Magayon‘s answer that led him to order his men to abduct Tiong Makusog.  He sent a cruel message to the poor lady that he will kill his father not unless she would marry him.  So Magayon hurried to grant Paratuga‘s request.

With the flash of the news about his sweetheart’s shotgun wedding, Panganoron gathered his men to attack the village.  In the midst of the wedding ceremony, they arrived like savages enraged for battle.  Paratuga was the first to die at the hands of Panganoron.  Upon seeing her lover, Magayon rushed to him but a stray arrow hit her!  In his effort to lift the weakening body of his sweetheart, Panganoron was unnoticeably attacked from behind.  Then the two lovers unfortunately died at that mournful moment.

On the Road to Mayon Resthouse
On the Road to Mayon Resthouse

A tragic ending indeed.  Tiong Makusog buried her daughter beside the sea and a week after the burial, the inhabitants were surprised to find the grave of Daragang Magayon steadily rising into a hill.  And it had kept on growing until it was transformed into a high mountain, with its top almost piercing the clouds – developing into aperfect cone.  See the flock of white clouds floating over the volcano in these pictures?That’s Panganoron (clouds) who constantly hovers and kisses Magayon, an evidence of love eternal and love everlasting!

mayon volcano albay6
At Cagsawa Ruins

Nowadays, there are some unfortunate people who visit Albay to see Mt. Mayon but Magayon never reveals herself to them.  For two days, three days to a week, Mt. Mayon doesn’t show up!  Moody as a woman, she chooses those people whom she wants to be seen.  Virgin or not, that’s not the real deal.  Because for me, it’s just the matter of a pure heart of good intentions and a heart of faith in true love that you can see clearly right through anything!:)

Visit the province of Albay and see the grandiose Mt. Mayon!  Magayon Festival is being celebrated the whole month of April every year!

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