Albay: The ultimate Mayon adventure

THE moment I arrived at Legazpi International Airport in Legazpi City in Albay province, I got my first glimpse of the Philippines’ most prized Mayon Volcano, known around the world for its perfect inverted conical shape.

And I immediately realized that the Mayon (derived from the Bikolano word magayon which translates to beautiful in English) was majestic and imposing than all its pictures I had ever seen. I never imagined it to be that beautiful and big as it sits right in the middle of Albay’s three cities and 15 municipalities and towers at almost 8,000 feet above sea level.

However, within my two days spent at Albay, Mayon seemed to enjoy teasing me as there were always clouds surrounding her, sometimes at the base but most of the times at its crater.

The tease that is Mayon is always hiding its peak
Thus, I couldn’t wait to see Mayon in its full grandeur!

Finally after the long wait–that included the Daragang Magayon beauty pageant’s coronation night in

Legazpi capital and a day tour of Camalig town–I finally got my fill of Mayon in an adventure beyond my wildest imagination.

Thanks to the Department of Tourism by allowing the media junket I was part in to take the ATV ride to Mayon Volcano offered by Bicol Adventure, found in the town of Daraga.

Bicol Adventure ATV has four kinds of ATV and four different trails to choose from
Arriving late in the afternoon, Bicol Adventure assistant manager and trail master and designer John Morales immediately welcomed us and assisted us in taking initial ATV driving lessons.

As a first-timer aware of ATV horror stories, I bravely took on a single ATV! Thankfully, Bicol Adventure drivers/guides/instructors handled us professionally and carefully. I finished the beginner’s practice lane which included going uphill and downhill, as well as a rocky stream.

 A montage of photos taken from a high point in Mt. Mayon
After that quick trial, the whole group through the recommendation of Sir John decided to ride with Bicol Adventure’s drivers so that we could catch the sunset at Mayon’s Green Lava Trail 3 that is approximately 11 kilometers from base and 3,000 feet above sea level!

Riding with our separate trail guides, the Manila media group left at approximately 5 p.m. After passing by all kinds of terrain: river where lava flows, small streams rugged by volcanic rocks, flat roads filled with volcanic ash, communities and mountain vegetation, we finally arrived at our destination, the drive took about 45 minutes.

And although we weren’t prepared physically (not only from the bumpy ride but also from bathing in and breathing dust), the view was worth it.

At 360 degrees, I savored the majestic Mayon, which by then came out in full; the Albay Gulf, which faces the province of Sorsogon and according to my guide Lhanz, we were lucky also because clouds cleared and also showed Mt. Bulusan, an active volcano just like Mayon; the rest of Daraga and Legazpi City; and finally the beautiful setting sun.

Everything just took my breath away.

According to my trail guide Lhanz Asuncion, Green Lava 3 is the highest trail offered via ATV in Albay. Bicol Adventure’s two competitors only traverse the Black Lava trail which reaches only the lava wall at 900 feet above sea level.

Besides being informative, Lhanz is also a success story thanks to Albay’s teeming tourism. After doing odd jobs in Manila, Lhanz returned home and found a job he is passionate about: riding while sharing the beauty of his land’s treasure, the Mayon.

At approximately 3,000 ft of Mayon Volcano, membees of the Department of Tourism’s media junket beams with joy

On the way back, it was getting dark already and where better to pass than a ghost town? My trail guide and driver Lhanz ably noted the old community that was ruined by the powerful 18th century Mayon eruption that also buried the Cagsawa village (the church bell tower a visual reminder). Left behind were houses, a school and the church now part of the six-kilometer radius permanent danger zone.

Nevertheless, this only added to the thrill!

So ultimately, ATV ride at Mayon Volcano is something I would love to do again. See you Albay!

Lhanz Asuncion (right) with a fellow trail guide


Visit Bicol Adventure to know their complete list of services and rates. You can also contact John Morales at 0948-9542702, or Lhanz Asuncion at 0927-5022991


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