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A silent testament to Mayon's fury
In February 1, 1814, Mt. Mayon began its most violent and deadly eruption to date. During the eruption, some 1,200 people took refuge in the stone church of Cagsawa. Unfortunately, all perished when lahar and pyroclastic flows engulfed the church. Only the belfry of the Cagsawa church remains as a grim and silent reminder of that fateful day. For almost two hundred years, it has withstood the test of time and the elements to become one of the most recognizable landmarks of Albay Province.
Today, the site of the Cagsawa ruins is now a park managed by the municipal government of Daraga. It is actually the most visited tourist spot in the town. Visitors can enjoy the classic postcard view of Mayon Volcano with the Cagsawa belfry in front. Aside from the ruined belfry and the huge volcanic boulders around the area, visitors can also find several souvenir shops offering a colorful assortment of native products such as handbags, mats, shirts and handicraft made from indigenous materials like abaca. Exotic flowers and orchids are also on sale.
One can also find young vendors selling postcard-perfect pictures of Mayon Volcano for P25 a piece. Some even provide informational guided tours of the area, which is quite amusing since most of them are still very young. The fee for the guided tour depends entirely on the generosity of the tourist.
A visit to Albay would not be complete without a stopover at Cagsawa. The town of Daraga is committed to keeping Cagsawa in the itinerary of all visitors to the province. In fact, the municipal government will rehabilitate the area around the ruins, which were heavily damaged during the recent typhoons.
From Legazpi City: Cagsawa is approximately eight kilometers away from the Legazpi central business district. Take a jeepney (preferably the ones going to the third district (Camalig, Guinobatan, Ligao, Libon, Polangui, Oas) and ask the driver to drop you off at the junction of the highway and the road going to Cagsawa in Barangay Busay, Daraga. Look for the large Cagsawa signage at the right side of the road.
View Cagsawa Ruins in a larger map