Mayon Volcano (also known as Mount Mayon) started 2018 with a bang – literally. Two lava collapses jolted the 8,028 ft (2,447 m) smoking stratovolcano back to life and gave way to a constant stream of lava spilling down the mountainside toward the villages below. Eruptions from Mayon are not new – the villages have dealt with eruptions and lahars every few years since the 1800’s. In 2008, the 20m high lava flows made it to within 1-2km of the villages.
Mayon is located in the Pacific Ring of Fire in the Philippines on the southern side of Luzon. If you want to visit, you’ll need to bring shit-load of patience and dust off the life insurance policy. Driving from Manila is a solid 10-12 hours and [honestly] one of the most mentally challenging journeys you’ll ever take. The Philippine infrastructure (outside of Manila) is mostly single-lane roadways that are riddled with very large potholes, dangerous curves and mountain roads/bridges with [literally] no guard rails.
Legazpi is on the Southern side of Mayon and is usually upwind of the volcanic gasses/ash. This side of the mountain is generally where the lava tends to fall towards and can easily be seen from anywhere in town. Catching a glimpse of the eruptions at night may be challenging as clouds do cover the summit and the goddamn’ pollution there makes all of your photos hazy.
Hiking to the lava fields on the southern slope of Mayon is a bad ass experience and one that just takes effort to get some bad ass selfies. You’ll need a GPS, solid hiking shoes and lots of water. The hike is roughly 2 mi (3 km) which doesn’t sound bad, except for the fact that you’re ascending ~600 ft (200 m) which makes every step extra cruel. The journey takes about 60 mins and finishes off with a shitty 60 ft (20 m) climb up the almost vertical face of the lava wall.
From the Mayon Helipad, you’ll get a 360 degree view of stunning the beauty of our tiny planet and you’ll be close enough to HEAR the eruptions. I can’t accurately describe what it sounds like – All I know is that it is a sound i’ll never forget.