Tag Archive: Mayon

That grand old dame has her moods.  Last time I visited, I only had a glimpse of her peak while cruising out of Legazpi City southbound for Donsol.   Oh, the frustration!  Imagine Cagsawa Ruins without Mayon.  Most of the time,  Mount Mayon hid behind clouds, peeking out for a few seconds or a full minute, only to hide again.



Not this time.  I must have repeated myself countless times that Mt. Mayon is not like what it has been the one week we were in Bicol.   But there she was.  In all her majesty.  Looking gloriously lovely, even on a cloudy day.  As if teasing the gods since Typhoon Signal #2 was declared in the area.   The clouds would pass, but the lady is set to make her appearance. She showed up from all the corners of Legazpi City, from Cagsawa Ruins to Daraga Church up on a hill. From Lignon Hills to halfway around Mayon Skyline.   She stood there.  Ever present.  Set to make her majestic appearance.   Like no one, no typhoon could stop her.


Taken from Mayon Skyline


The morning they declared Typhoon Signal #2, we looked out the window of Villa Amada Hotel where Mayon stood guard while our not so little ones were sound asleep.   Deciding to make it a lazy day,  we even managed a day trip to Mayon Skyline.   Zigzagging up, we passed many children waving hello to us.  Unlike my last visit when it was cold and foggy,  the entire lake and the top peak of Mayon were both visible.   We made it!   The children were frustrated the Planetarium was closed (despite the sign that says “Welcome. We are open.”) and that there wasn’t much to do at the halfway resthouse.  All that zigzagging, for nothing.   But it was well worth the trip especially for me who missed this panoramic vista the last time. Intensified seismic activity you say?  Oh ok.  We’re heading down now.   Thanks for the warning.


Hoyop Hoyopan Cave


In Camalig, Albay, we took a detour to visit Hoyop Hoyopan Cave. Hoyop means “to blow”. We spent the next half hour or so inside the cave, amazed to “shoot the breeze” inside while checking out the stalactites and stalagmites. We can imagine how the local rebels were made comfortable while hiding from the Japanese then as the cave has water sources and a pretty good ventilation even during summers.  Our guide led the way, and we were relieved to find cemented pathways and ample lighting.  Just the same, I was ready with my handy flashlight and headlight.  I finally got to use them!  🙂   But we weren’t prepared to find a dance floor INSIDE the cave.  Say what?  A dance floor.  Only in the Philippines! Well, we were reminded that the cave is a private property and the owners have actually held parties inside this cave.  That explains the dance floor. I wouldn’t be surprised to find a karaoke bar next time I visit.  Up and down, a few steps here and there, and we found the 4th exit out of the cave.  Mind the stalactites and stalagmites, though.  One can earn a monstrous bump on the forehead if one is not careful.  Outside, we found local boys playing a game of volleyball while a cow parked itself in an area meant for motor vehicles.


Cagsawa Ruins Without Mayon Volcano

Most postcards in Albay show Mayon Volcano in all its majesty framed by boulders and what remains of the Cagsawa Church. Over a thousand parishioners sought refuge in this Church in Mayon’s February 1814 eruption and all perished from the tragedy. The stone pillars were constructed using eggwhites to glue the stones together. Imagine how many eggs those parishioners brought to Sunday masses, and what baked goodies they concocted with the egg yolks too! We were soooo looking forward to visiting this place as we have always visualized Mayon Volcano with this scenery, with all its tragic history. Sadly, the majestic volcano with its near-perfect cone was too shy to make an appearance. Hiding behind the clouds, one can hardly recognize even its silhouette on this cloudy day. Oh well, you can’t win them all. For the moment, the postcard will do.

Daraga Church


Finally, we drove up to nearby Daraga Church. It is said that the parish transferred to this 18th century church after the 1814 eruption. This old church was obviously undergoing some repairs and repainting. We were disappointed with the fresh coat of white paint, and would have preferred that they left the stone structure in its “natural” state. There is charm in the “old and natural”, and a paint job does not serve to enhance the beauty of this ancient church.


Nearly back in Legazpi City, we passed by Lignon Hills for another unobstructed view of Mayon Volcano. It would have been an hour’s trek to get to the View Deck, but it was our last stopover and we all felt the day is almost over. In short, we had no energy left to do the trek! Perhaps another day. For sure, I’d make a return trip and by then, I should also be ready to go trekking, ziplining and even the lava trail using the All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) available for rent. Now, that’s a good reason to go back.


More photos can be found in my TravelBlog site.