The Mayon Volcano was finally clearing up and just in time for sunset! I rushed to the Cagsawa ruins in Daraga, Albay to get the famous shot of Mayon showing off the ruined bell tower of the ill-fated Cagsawa Church. From the Daraga town proper, I hailed a jeep and dropped off at the highway intersection going to the Cagsawa Ruins (there’s another jeepney route, which goes the other way to Ligñon Hill, so better inform the driver where your headed). There were a lot of tricycles parked at the drop-off point but I chose to walk the way to the Cagsawa ruins since I wanted to take photos along the way. Great thing I did because I wanted to take photos of the Mayon Volcano with Albay’s natural countryside scenery.

A carabao grazing at the grasslands surrounding the iconic Mayon Volcano.

I spotted this carabao along the way and I just had to stop for a photo-op. It was minding its own business, grazing mindlessly on the field, but I wanted it to look at the camera. So I waived my sarong to catch its attention … consequentially, it did look at my direction and also started walking hastily towards me. I must have irritated the poor thing.

Cagsawa Church Bell Tower Ruins

Moving on, it took me around 15 minutes walk from the highway to the entrance of the Cagsawa Ruins. Entrance fee was minimal at P10. The bare structure of the bell tower is among the remnants of the ruined Cagsawa Church, which was destroyed during the violent eruption of Mayon on February 1, 1814. I can’t imagine how the people of Cagsawa could’ve felt when they trooped to the church for refuge that fateful day. According to local stories, 1,200 people died within the confines of the church alone. They were hoping for a miracle, that a divine intervention was prepared to spare the Cagsawa Church from the devastation.

There were open rice fields at the edge of the Cagsawa church grounds. I loved the lushness of the palay (rice plant), soft colors of dusk, and most of all, the clear view of the Mayon Volcano. Everything was finally falling into place. I just had to set-up my tripod for a souvenir photo with Mayon.

I love the faint “poof” of smoke coming out from Mayon’s crater