Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Wonders of Mount Mayon

There are as many great wonders in the Philippines as it is seven thousand one hundred seven islands. This tropical country is famous for its powdery beaches, lush green mountains, clear falls and rivers, sparkling cities and hospitable people. The Philippines has a colorful history and culture - hundreds of years of trade and colonization has made this country a melting pot of traditions. Albay is a province in the island of Luzon that is home to many of nature's wonders.

The province of Albay is home to Mayon Volcano, known for its perfect cone shape. The word "mayon" is derived from the local Bicolano "magayon", which means beautiful. Standing with pride at over 8,000 feet, Mount Mayon has already erupted 49 times since the 1600's. It is in fact, one of the most active volcanoes in the country. The longest eruption was in 1897, descibed as an eruption of "raining fire for seven days". Towns and villages as far as seven miles away under 15 meters of lava. four hundred people were killed in this eruption. The 1814 eruption is said to be the worst, when some 1,200 people died. The locals sought refuge in the church of Cagsawa, but the lava reached the church, killing the evacuees and burying the church. Today, the Cagsawa Ruins shows only the church's bell tower and has become an icon of Albay and the Philippines.

If you want to get close to Mayon Volcano, visit the Mayon Skyline, or the old Mayon Resthouse. The resthouse is located two thousand five hundred feet above sea level. Initially constructed as a hotel, it has been turned into a tourist attraction by the local government and has put a planetarium and film showing on eruptions of volcanoes. To get here, you will drive up the zigzag roads on the eastern slope of the volcano. You will find the view breathtaking. You can also have picnic lunch at the resthouse.

If you want to see an aerial view of Mayon Volcano, visit Lignon Hill, also located in the area. Lignon Hill gives you a beautiful view of the Albay Gulf, Mount Mayon and the city below. There is no entrance fee, but there is a zipline for five dollars per person.

If you have extra time in your hands, the cities at the foot of the volcano are also worth visiting. Legaspi and Tabacco are cities with beautiful, well-preserved architecture from the Spanish Era. Houses and churches serve as beautful backdrops for photographs. One of the most gorgeous churches in this area that is worth visiting is the Sto. Domingo Church. The church dates back to 1820, and built from stone walls and has no pillars. Narrow stair cases lead to the two belfries.

There are daily international flights to Manila, the Philippines' capital. From Manila, you can take another forty five minute flight to the city of Legaspi, in Albay province. If you prefer to travel by land, there are daily trips by bus from Manila to Legaspi. You can also take a private car and brave the roads to the southern part of Luzon for ten to twelve hours. In the city, you can take the local Jeepneys to take you from one place to another. There are many rent-a-cars as well in the area.

Post supplied by Steve at Explore Earth, they are currently looking for guest contributors


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