It was a sleeping beauty then – in December 2017 when I was on tour with my relatives in Legazpi, Albay of the Bicol Region some 330 kilometers south of Manila, Philippines. Mayon Volcano, as in my other past visits, hid her face behind low cottony clouds. She is said to be bashful. My opinion is she’s veritably private, what with streams of visitors from various parts of the country and the world, eager to see her, waiting for the cloud cover to lift so they can view her alluring face.
Romantic legends tout Mayon as a timid maiden known as Maganda (meaning beautiful). Maganda captivates numerous suitors that lie frustrated on her slopes, because the elusive lady is imperious and difficult to please. And when she concedes to occasional outbursts, suiters scramble down her slopes away from the fuming maiden. Almost untouchable, but imperial in a mysterious way – poised proudly with a perfect cone magnificently pointed to the sky, and graceful slopes shaped by eruptions of the past, the latest of which was in 2013, and then now. And now, what audacious, impertinent prince kissed her that she is roused?
Mayon has been rumbling since January 13th of 2018. Her terrible mood spews hot lava and molten rock to a circumference of around nine kilometers, recent reports say. As of this writing, the danger warning level stands at 4, with 5 being the most dangerous and devastating. It is further predicted that her tantrums will sustain for several months. In her fury, the royal maiden shoots flames and debris into the air, affecting several towns and cities below. Spectacular photos have been floated by the media. But let not anyone be deceived by the eerie beauty of her wrath. In fact, she is taken very seriously. Those fascinated by her awesomeness watch from a safe distance. Just like Maganda’s legendary suiters, people are scrambling away. To date, around 75,000 residents have been evacuated. The ash fallout is felt by farther cities as in the province of Camarines Sur. The clutch of the fastidious queen is extending, and everyone wants her back to her prim and proper self.
We pray for those affected by her fury, and hope for their safety – and our gratitude to those that help and look after their safety and needs.
Maganda is at her best when she stands demure and pure, towering beneath clear blue skies, even as some ethereal clouds threaten to screen her elegance, like a veil that teasingly hides and unhides her beguiling features from myriads of admiring suitors. That is how we want Mayon to be, deep in her sleep. And let no prince rouse her.