Mount Mayon is both a stunner and a killer—renowned for its beauty as it is feared for its destructiveness. Admired for its majestic beauty, Mayon Volcano Natural Park, a famous landmark in the Philippines, never fails to attract travelers across the world.
The country’s most active volcano is named after a mythological fairy. Its symmetry and perfect cone shape draws attention across the world but what lies beyond its beauty is its deadly nature: an enormous chamber, churning with molten rock and toxic gas that could blow anytime.
It has erupted over 51 times in the past four centuries, the most destructive of which is in 1814. Nevertheless, it has developed a culture of resiliency among the inhabitants of its vicinity, who always rebuilt their towns and cultivated their fields after each destructive eruption.
The Mayon Volcano is situated in the southern part of the main island of Luzon, Albay Province. Towering at a height of 8,077 feet above sea level, it is known for its perfectly conical shape whose natural beauty has inspired a number of legends and art.
The Mayon Volcano Natural Park is among the 17 protected areas in the Bicol Region. According to UNESCO, the Mayon Volcano Natural Park is home to 156 floral species belonging to 36 families and 83 species of trees that include the single dipterocarp found in the area (Hopea philippinensis) and one near-threatened species from the rare family Nepentheceae, the pitcher plant Nepenthes ventricosa. The ethnobotanical plant biodiversity composed of 71 woody species belonging to 49 genera and 33 families has been recorded. Many are endemic while others are indigenous.
It is also a habitat for 104 species of land vertebrates, including 57 species of birds, 10 species of amphibians, 24 species of reptiles, and 13 species of mammals. Of the 13 mammal species, 7 are endemic of which 3 are listed as vulnerable: the Philippine Brown Deer, Philippine Warty Pig, and Giant Golden-Crowned Flying Fox. The bird fauna includes 37 endemic species with 3 species listed in the IUCN red list: the nearly-threatened Luzon Bleeding Heart, vulnerable Philippine Eagle-Owl and critically-endangered Philippine Cockatoo. The 10 amphibian fauna are all endemic frog species with 4 listed in the IUCN red list: the nearly-threatened Luzon Fanged Frog, Luzon Forest Ground Frog and Guenther’s Forest Frog; and the vulnerable Banded Pigmy Tree Frog. The Mayon Volcano Natural Park also houses 1 endemic butterfly, 7 endemic stick-insects and 9 endemic spiders in the registered insect and arachnid fauna.
Things to do in Mayon Volcano Natural Park
The natural park offers a variety of ecotourism activities:
1. Ecological tour – Explore the sights of Albay by joining an ecological tour. Some sites you can visit for the day tour are: Kapuntukan Hills, Cagsawa Ruins, Daraga Church, and Ligñon Hill Nature Park where you can see a 360 degree view of the area. You can also try the 320-meter long zip line, and go to the hanging bridge.
2. Hiking – Seeing Mayon Volcano in person is an amazing feeling but seeing it closely, that’s different! If you’re up for an adventure, you can hike and trek the Mayon Volcano to see it closely. There are two trails you can take: Buyuhan trail and Buang trail. And take note, the hike could take about two days. But before you hike this mountain, you should first contact the Department of Tourism office in Legazpi City.
3. Camping – Since hiking Mayon Volcano could take about two days, hikers usually camp in the area. You can pitch your tent there and enjoy a camp meal together with your buddies.
4. ATV riding – If you’re looking for the most exhilarating way to explore the foothills, ruins, rice fields, rivers, and mud trails filled with thousands of volcanic rocks, try the adrenaline-kicking ATV ride in Legazpi. Drive an ATV to the Lava Wall of Mayon Volcano. This ultimate adventure rush takes you through gullies, rivers, and fallen rock.
How to reach Mayon Natural Park
There are more ways than one to get to Albay, but not via sea travel as it is located far from any coast. Some of your options include:
There are available direct flights to Legazpi, Albay offered by the airline companies in the Philippines. The trip would normally last up to one hour.
If you want a budgeted option on how to reach Mayon Natural Park, consider traveling by bus. From Manila, there are many bus lines that offer routes going to Bicol. But be prepared for a long hour ride as the travel time takes about at least 12 hours depending on the traffic.
Aside from the plane and bus, you can also reach Bicol by train from Manila. Bicol Express operated by the Philippine National Railways (PNR) offered trips daily from Tutuban, Manila to Naga City at 6:30pm. Because the travel would usually last up to 12 hours, the return trip also leaves at 6:30 pm. As of this writing though, the operation of the Bicol Express is still suspended due to ongoing repairs. According to their statement, they are targeting to launch its partial operations by 2021.
When looking for a place to stay, make sure to only book the best and trusted budget hotel in Albay. ZEN Rooms offers quality accommodation at a very affordable price!