Whenever I go home for a short vacation to our province, I always allocate time for family bonding. Walking on a rice field, romping in the sala, going to the market are only some of my ways to bond with my son and wife. The pictures have been like that for three years since my little boy was born. So, I thought it would be a great idea to give them a different kind of family bonding the next time around.
There’s no better time to realize that plan when we went home on the third week of August this year to commemorate my father-in-law’s death anniversary. We stayed there for five days from August 17 to 21 and it was on the last, rainy day of that short vacation that I decided to introduce my son to hiking. And the perfect place is the Lignon Hill Nature Park in Legazpi City, Albay. The byproduct was to take a peek at Mayon Volcano’s Perfect Cone. There’s an emphasis to my son because my wife was already once a hiker back in college until she suffered from that malady almost a couple of years ago, which made her refrain from doing strenuous physical activities. That’s the reason why I chose just a hill, whose summit is achievable by 2, 625 steps from the park’s entrance for Brad’s “initiation”, over a mountain.
I already read that one of the best places that offer a decent view of Mayon Volcano’s perfect cone is the Lignon Hill Nature Park. I targeted this hill instead of a flat grassy plain since my main goal for this family bonding/nature tripping is to introduce my little boy to hiking. Furthermore, the elevation of the hill suggests a far more thrilling hike than the latter.
It was raining hard when we left the house for Legazpi City at seven o’clock in the morning on 21 August 2011 howbeit my faith with this plan remained intact. Before leaving, I prayed that may the weeping skies calm down by the time we’re at the destination. Believing in it firmly attracted the universe to conspire and grant my little prayer.
It took us two and a half hours from Naga City, Camarines Sur to Legazpi City, Albay. The mourning skies did stop from crying when we reached the city. I think that’s more than enough of what I’ve asked for. I was already at the brink of doing another supplication because the grey skies would affect the quality of photos I will be taking but I stopped. That’s when the spirit of resourcefulness showed up and told me that he will help at enhancing my photos.
I could see my son burning with eagerness to walk by the time we alighted from the bus. He must have digested the things I discussed with him on our way to this place. I tried hard to explain the things he should know and do before we boarded the bus. It made me convivial because that’s exactly what I wanted to happen.
Lignon Hill Nature Park is a prominent landform found behind the Legazpi Airport Tower in Legazpi City, Albay. This hill, like I said, gives a nice view of Mayon Volcano because the latter rises imperially behind the hill.
The crest is attainable through a panoramic cemented road that winds up the hill offering a challenging 20-30 minute trek. No wonder this hill became a favorite exercise area for local fitness buffs most especially runners.
In fairness to my newest recruit, he only begged for a lift halfway up the summit. I think that’s remarkable for a two-year (and 9 months) old!
However, I was surprised that the carry-me–Papa moment, which I was expecting to keep on until we reach the summit, didn’t last for long because after only about four minutes, he told me he wanted to trek again.
He made it through the summit without asking for another lift. That put me on cloud nine because he exceeded my expectations. I think he needs to hit the mountain trails sooner I must say. Excellent job, son!
Here are some of the things that one could see at the summit excluding for the meantime the highlight, which is Mayon Volcano’s Perfect Cone:
The reason for making the view of Mayon Volcano’s Perfect Cone as this post’s highlight aside from the title is, I really struggled in capturing the volcano’s almost naked glory. Clouds were so cruel that day. We made it to the hilltop for only 25 minutes yet photographing the Perfect Cone took hours to fulfill.
That’s why I was constrained to say a little prayer at this point–again–for the mighty sun to disperse the clouds. After four grueling hours of waiting, the clouds remained uncooperative. I looked at my watch and learned that it’s only four thirty in the afternoon. Still, the virtue of patience was with me so while still waiting for the clouds to set the cone free, I thought of window shopping at the kaleidoscopic Souvenir Store standing at the summit’s center after having my lunch. The volcano’s cone is obviously more interesting and overpowering that the store turned less appealing despite its vibrancy.
To be honest, I really like burloloys (the Filipino term for stuff like the ones on the photo above) so it goes without saying I bought one for my ankle. One of the signature accessories of mountaineers in the country is an anklet; hence, it’s a must for my wandering feet to have one.
It was already six o’clock when I noticed the clouds vanishing from Mayon Volcano’s cone–almost but not quite. I had to take advantage as it was already impossible, considering the time and weather, to get a nicer view of the volcano’s perfect cone than the ones on the photo below.
Mayon Volcano, also known as Mount Mayon, is an active volcano in the province of Albay, on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. Renowned as the “perfect cone” because of its almost symmetric conical shape, Mayon forms the northern boundary of Legazpi City, the largest city in terms of population in the Bicol Region. The mountain is a national park and a protected landscape in the country proclaimed as as Mayon Volcano Natural Park in the year 2000 (wikipedia).
Mayon Volcano is the main landmark of Albay Province, Philippines, rising 2,462 metres (8,077 ft) from the shores of the Gulf of Albay about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) away. The volcano is geographically shared by the cities and municipalities of Legazpi City, Daraga, Camalig, Guinobatan, Ligao City, Tabaco City, Malilipot, and Santo Domingo (clockwise from Legazpi) which divide the cone like slices of a pie when viewed from above(wikipedia).
Mayon is a classic stratovolcano type of volcano capped by a small central summit crater. The cone is considered to be the world’s most perfectly-formed volcano for its symmetry, which was formed through layers of pyroclastic and lava flows from past eruptions and erosion. The upper slopes of the basaltic-andesitic volcano are steep averaging 35-40 degrees. Like other volcanoes located around Pacific Ocean, Mayon is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. It is located on the eastern side of Luzon, near the Philippine Trench which is the convergent boundary where the Philippine Sea Plate is driven under the Philippine Mobile Belt. When a continental plate or belt of continental fragments meets an oceanic plate, the lighter continental material overrides the oceanic plate, forcing it down into the Earth’s mantle. Magma may be forced through weaknesses in the continental crust caused by the collision of the tectonic plates. One such exit point is Mayon (wikipedia).
I admit I wasn’t satisfied with my pictures because the most fundamental aspect of photography–which is the right amount of light– was no-show that day. Then again, there’s no reason to feel disappointed because I am undoubtedly blessed with this opportunity alone to see one of the country’s most stunning landmarks. Not everybody can set foot on the summit of Lignon Hill where I, my son, and wife savored these breathtaking views. Moreover, the exhilarating joy the three of us shared out of this family bonding.
For more information about the Majestic Mayon and Lignon Hill Nature Park (how to get to these places, where to stay, maps, stories, other activities, etc.), please click this website: wowlegazpi.com.
Trivia: Mayon Volcano was once nominated for the New Seven Wonders of Nature in 2008.
- Daragang Magayon: Mother Nature at it’s Pristine Best (sincerelymheg.wordpress.com)
- Family Bonding and Mayon Volcano’s Perfect Cone (filipinofestival.wordpress.com)
- Sunday Post: Colorful (yobynos.wordpress.com)
- Bikol Express & The Romanticism Of The Mayon Volcano (ishitaunblogged.com)
- Nothing Feels Like Home (theabundancematrix.wordpress.com)
- a tug in my heart that hopefully tugs yours … (alwaysbobswife.wordpress.com)