The Mount Mayon Volcano: A Love Story of Explosive Proportions

Shrouded in mystery, legend, and folklore, the stunningly symmetrical Mount Mayon volcano in the Albay province on the large island of Luzon in the Philippines is not only the most active, but arguably the most intriguing and beautiful as well. The distinctive, remote wonder towers above the Albay Gulf in the Bicol region of the Philippines at a staggering 2,462 meters.

Its name comes from magayon, a Bicolano word that means beautiful, and what an appropriate designation it is.

The Legend

Legend has it that a sweet, beautiful woman named Daragang Magayon, or Lady Beautiful, from a ruling tribal family of Bicol fell in love with a prince called Panganoron. The fruits of their love bore the most beautiful sight.

Magayon was the only daughter of chief Makusog of the Rawis people. Her astounding beauty and delicate nature had all the young men of the land vying for her affections. Even Pagtuga, a handsome and powerful chief of the Iniga people, who showered her with attention and gifts, didn’t excite young Magayon. She declined his advances time and time again.

Magayon was bathing in the Yawa River one day when she slipped and fell into deeper waters. As she struggled for her own life, Panganoron, from the Tagalog region, spotted her from afar and dashed to save her. Bonded by this experience, the two became friends, and then lovers soon after. Panganoron asked for Makusog’s blessing to propose. Magayon, full of love and hope, accepted.

Upon learning about Panganoron and Magayon’s engagement, Pagtuga was enraged. He captured Magayon’s father and held him hostage, demanding that she marry Pagtuga instead. In an effort to save his bride and Makusog, Panganoron and his warriors led a war against Pagtuga. After a brutal and bloody battle, Panganoron defeated his rival and killed Pagtuga.

Magayon, who watched the spectacle in fear, ran into her lover’s arms for a kiss. As they embraced, one of Pagtuga’s warriors shot a final arrow into the heart of Panganoron, killing him instantly. In a Shakespearean twist, Magayon thrust a knife from Panganoron’s belt into her own heart, calling out his name in her last words.

To honor their love and their legacy, Makusog buried the young couple together. From their grave, a beautiful mountain grew, with fire inside. The volcano is as beautiful as Daragang Magayon, its namesake, and it’s said that the surrounding clouds are Panganoron.

Ancient Lovers Reunite

Magayon and Panganoron seemingly came to life this past January when Mount Mayon started erupting. Many believe that in this image taken during the eruption, the lovers can be seen in their final embrace. There have been over 30 volcanic eruptions recorded since 1616.

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