Daraga, Philippines

The town of Daraga on the island of Luzon in The Philippines was originally part of the nearby city of Legaspi, but is now a municipality in its own right. It is most famous for the Cagsawa ruins, a church that was buried during an eruption of the nearby volcano.

In 1814 Mount Mayon violently erupted and over 1,200 people sought sanctuary in the church of Cagsawa. Sadly, all perished as volcanic matter engulfed the church, sparing only its belfry which stands today as a grim reminder of Mount Mayon’s most deadly eruption in its violent history. Today visitors to the region flock to the ruins to take a photograph of the haunting remains of the church in the shadow of the volcano.

Mount Mayon, or the Mayon Volcano, is an active volcano which is renowned for having a ‘perfect cone’; an almost symmetrical cone shape which makes it resemble a children’s drawing of a volcano. The mountain, which is over 2,400 metres high and has a base of 10 kilometres, is protected and was declared a national park in the year 2000.

Its name is derived from the local word “Magayon” which means “beautiful”. It is the most active volcano in The Philippines with scientists recording 48 eruptions in the last 400 years. The first major eruption was witnessed and recorded by Dutch explorer Joris van Spilbergen during his circumnavigation of the globe in 1616; the last big one in 2006 when over 1,200 were killed by lahars (volcanic mudslides) that the Typhoon rains produced.

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