CLOSE TO PERFECTION: MAJESTIC MAYON
by Jojie Alcantara
Mayon Volcano is the Philippines’ most active stratovolcano. It is considered to be the world’s most perfectly formed volcano for its symmetrical cone. A basaltic-andesitic volcano, the upper slopes are steep averaging 35-40 degrees and are capped by a small summit crater. Its sides are layers of lava and other volcanic material.
Mayon rises at 2,463 m (8,081 ft) and is the central feature of the Albay Province, of which Legazpi City is the capital, about 300-km southeast of Manila. It is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire.
Renowned as the “perfect cone” because of its almost symmetrically conical shape, Mayon forms the northern boundary of Legazpi City. Its last eruption was in December 2009. There is a research station (PHIVOLCS) located about one-third of the way up that is accessible by road and is the jump-off for climbers.
The majestic Mayon was a candidate of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2008 (did not make it to the top 25 and gave way to our Puerto Princesa’s Underground River) and is consider as the world’s most perfectly formed volcano.
Okay, having set all that wikipedia and internet info aside, I give you my two cents’ worth about coming to Legazpi City for the first time, just to see it. It is so mesmerizing as it provides a stunning backdrop to a beautiful city. Each day, I never got tired of gazing at it in awe.
When Misibis Aviation offered me a once in a lifetime opportunity to ride a four-seater chopper and be able to view it up close and personal, I swooned at the idea. More because an hour’s aerial tour costs a whooping P70,000.
The morning was simply perfect. We ascended to a height of 7,000 feet almost leveling up to its smoking crater. The smell of sulphur was unforgettable as much as the sight of something so powerfully majestic and stunning just within reach. It overwhelms the senses and makes one emotionally delirious.
The effect it had on me was inspirational. With two cameras in tow up there, i didn’t mind the chill. I just kept capturing piece after piece of beautiful imagery which I know will last me a lifetime of gratitude. It was a blessing and a humbling experience to be up there, so close to perfection.
Location: 8,000 feet on board a chopper, Legazpi City