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Mount Mayon and Bicol Philippines: how to get there – what to see

Mount Mayon in Bicol Philippines

Mount Mayon Legaspi Philippines
Flying to Legaspi or taking bus you will find one of the most spectacular sights in the Philippines. Mount Mayon is 2462 meters tall and is one of the most perfectly built volcanoes for taking pictures. The Volcano has the shape of a perfect cone.

During my trip to Philippines in April 2013 I had planned to visit Mount Mayon and Donsol. Maybe it was lucky I did not since this active volcano decided to erupt on May 7 2013. This was a deadly eruption killing a guide and his 4 guests from Germany who were out climbing the Volcano. However the last time the Volcano erupted was in 2009 so it is not common for an eruption to happen at Mount Mayon in Philippines. In “volcano language” this is actually a pretty active volcano having erupted 48 times since recording began.

It is possible to climb Mount Mayon but it is advisable to talk to the authorities Philvolcs (www.philvolcs.dost.gov.ph) before doing so. Backpackers can easily find a guide but remember the guide has commercial interest and it is interesting to hear what Philvolcs without the same kind of commercial interest has to say. The climb reaches two camps and you can sleep a night at each one if you like. However you can also start out early in the morning and finish the climb of Mount Mayon in one day. Camp two is located at an altitude of 1800 meters. This is as high up the authorities’ recommend you go. 2000 meters some guides might take you to but then you push it to the limit and will start to clearly feel the sulphurous gases on your body.

Mount Mayon Bicol Philippines

Mount Mayon erupted in 2009 where more than 10.000 people had to evacuate and the deadliest eruption was in  year 1814 where about 1200 people were killed and several towns where devastated. There is a safety zone around the volcano of 6 km (4 miles). This is to highlight the permanent danger that a small eruption can happen anytime but if you do not cross the zone you should be fine according to the Philippine authorities.

Being a backpacker travelling to Legaspi at the food of Mount Mayon you have plenty to do besides taking pictures. This is the Bicol coast where you have nice beaches, surfing options Catanduanes, hiking options at Mount Mayon, caves at Hoyop-Hoyopan cave or you can go diving for the famous Whale Sharks in Donsol or see the Manta Bowl diving below. The Manta Bowl is a “cleaning station” for some of the seas big fishes.

Whale Sharks Donsol Bicol Philippines

There are also two National Parks. Bulusan Volcano National Park where you can hike to the Crater Lake and swim in the nice Palogtoc Falls. Visiting the Caramoan Peninsula you will have a chance to visit Mount Isarog National Park. Mt Isarog is 1966 meters tall and is the second highest volcano in Bicol. This Volcano will besides a beautiful hike give you the Malabsay Falls where you can swim and also the Mt Isarog Hot Spring where you can try the 5 hot earth heated pools. Also you can in Caramoan Peninsula try and travel along the coastline a bit to see some amazing sceneries with limestone cliffs, lagoons, caves and beautiful white sandy beaches.

So to put it shortly if you want to explore and experience some of the natural wonders and powers of Philippines taking a tour down to Bicol is a good start. Here you will find a bit of everything and some amazing adventures.

For more information also read the diving and surfing sections of the  where to go in Philippines article.

 

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