It was in February 1814 when Mt. Mayon erupted and killed 1,200 people, all of whom sought refuge in the nearby Cagsawa Church. Unfortunately, lava reached the church and everyone inside died. Only the belfry now remains -- a reminder of the sad past and at the same time, a symbol of strength of the people of Albay.
Today, the site of the Cagsawa ruins is now a park and is perhaps the most visited and most photographed site in all of Albay. It is managed by the municipal government of Daraga.
My friend Edeena and I visited the site in the morning. We were told that it is best to go there early because the volcano usually shows herself in the morning. And true enough, when we went back in the afternoon, Mt. Mayon was all covered in clouds.
There were very few people when we got there. Tourists started pouring in in the afternoon. It was absolutely worth waking up early on a summer day.
There are restaurants, stores, and hawkers inside the park. There are a lot of guides, too, willing to take your pictures or tell you the history of the ruins.
Rows of souvenir shops are located at the entrance of the park. You can find so many beautiful souvenir items and colorful handmade products made from indigenous materials.
How to get there:
From Manila: You can fly through Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and Zest Air.
Check out their websites for schedule.
Or you can take a ten-hour bus ride --
Cagsawa Travel & Tours Inc. (QC: 02 9131514 . Ermita: 02 5259756)
Philtranco (Legaspi City: 52 8202794)
RSL Transit (QC: 02 9137127)
From Legaspi City: Cagsawa Ruins is about 15-minutes by tricycle from Villa Amada Hotel where we stayed. We hired a tricycle to take us there and to two other places that day. If you decide to take a jeep from Legaspi Central Business District, take a jeep going to Camalig or Guinobatan or Ligao or Libon or Polangui or Oas. Go down at the junction of the highway and the road to Cagasawa in Barangay Busay. At the right side of the road, there's a big signage going to the ruins. It is about 8 kilometers from Legaspi City.
Things to bring and remember:
Bring your camera, enough cash, water. And remember, tread softly. This is not an amusement park. Many people died on this site.
On your way out grab some souvenir items and local products.
Grab some pili nuts, too!
That's me, happy and spellbound in equal proportion by Mt. Mayon.
. . . . .
For more information, please visit
Legaspi: Villa Amada Hotel
Legaspi: Small Talk Cafe
Legaspi: 1st Colonial Grill