Albayanos remember 204th anniversary of Mount Mayon's deadliest eruption

ALBAY, Philippines – Mount Mayon spewed ash as the people of Albay commemorated the 204th anniversary of the volcano's deadliest eruption.

Albay Second District Representative Joey Salceda led the commemoration ceremony to reminisce about "the resiliency of our ancestors, to honor and pray for the lives lost due to the disaster, which decimated an entire village."

“As a people, Albayanos are conscious that each day we decide to live, [it is] constantly within the shadow of a beautiful yet dangerous volcano. This day is also a reminder of our commitment to disaster risk reduction as a way of life if we are to achieve our goals of development for all,” the lawmaker said.

Yearly, the people of Daraga remember Mayon volcano's 1814 eruption, described as several rivers of fire, of thick smoke and ash, and of people shaken by violent earthquakes.

Father Francisco Aragoneses’ account narrated some facts of the 1814 eruption.

On February 1, 1814, at 8 am, Mayon volcano began throwing out a dense column of rocks, stones, sand, and ash with a great velocity that reached up into the upper levels of the atmosphere." It was followed by a great river of fire.

The 1814 event is one of the two strongest historical eruptions of Mayon.

CAGSAWA AND MAYON. Mayon Volcano and the Cagsawa ruins. Photo by Rhaydz B. Barcia

CAGSAWA AND MAYON. Mayon Volcano and the Cagsawa ruins. Photo by Rhaydz B.

Barcia

Explosions were heard as far as Laoang, Samar. The lahar from the eruption buried villages, including Cagsawa Church and about 1,200 people taking shelter within.

Subsequent eruptions further covered the church until only the bell tower remained aboveground. The belfry has become one of Albay’s most famous landmarks and is one of its most popular tourist attractions today.

The eruption that buried Cagsawa Church was the fifth and the strongest, based on accounts of recorded previous eruptions since 1616.

Aside from Cagsawa, the neighboring town of Budiao was also laid to waste to by Mayon’s fury. Only the walls of Budiao’s church remain today. Three other towns – Camalig, Guinobatan, and Ligao – also experienced death and destruction.

The National Museum of the Philippines declared Cagsawa Ruins a national cultural treasure in December 2015. Meanwhile, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines also considers Cagsawa Ruins a protected area due to its significance in the cultural history of Albay. – Rappler.com