Albay Essay Travel


By on December 31, 2009


The Mayon volcano, dubbed to be the volcano with the almost perfect cone, is said to erupt any day from now. It has now become a local news staple and has also earned itself a separate segment like the bored housewife’s useless serving of entertainment gossip. And much to the chagrin of the media outlets awaiting the volcano’s outburst, it has not yet erupted as of this writing. I only imagined the insensitive boredom of the news reporters though. But there is nothing to sensationalize about a natural disaster. You can not simply tell a tsunami to stop its course because your camera crew has not set-up at the best location to get a good perspective of the event.

I did see the volcano in its tame form last June. We missed it when we we are at Lingñon Hill, the best spot to view the volcano in all its glory. But when we went to the Cagsawa ruins later in the afternoon, the clouds parted for a few minutes, revealing the volcano’s perfect contour.

Bicol-mayon other photos

Except for the tourists recreating the illusion that they are pinching the tip of the volcano, it was exactly how it looks in the postcards. The Bicolanos are probably used to seeing it every day. But for me, it was a different experience seeing it for the first time, even for just a brief moment.

Its imminent eruption would probably cap the movie storyline that no Filipino would want to watch anymore. I thought that the Philippines had already its share of calamities this year. We saw how Ondoy sent highly urbanized cities to their knees. We lamented at the meaningless deaths of civilians and journalists in Southern Philippines. And very recently, we are shocked at the untimely collision of two ships on Christmas eve.

But in 2009, we also witnessed the indomitable spirit of the Filipino spirit amidst all the gloomy headlines. The world now would probably associate the Philippines with a fearless boxer, a groundbreaking filmmaker, a pushcart educator and two of the most sensational entertainers of this generation. But there are also faceless names and nameless faces who became heroes in their own right – the call center agent in Cebu who donated her used clothing for the typhoon victims in Manila and the soldier who dared to take the first photographs of the grim Maguindanao massacre.

Bicol-at lignon hill

I cannot say the same pattern of heroism, tragedy, victory and defeat would show up in the coming year. It could get worse. And it could also get very boring. I can only hope that we would now look at every monumental loss with maturity and resilience. I also hope that we would also look at every triumphant breakthrough with sobriety and gratitude.

For those in the evacuation centers right now in Albay, may I somehow assure you that you are not alone in your prayers. You have an unpredictable yet majestic volcano which has been a mute witness to everything you and the previous generations have undergone. Just hold on to every hope left in your hearts, for that may be more than enough for you to face 2010 without any fear and reservation.

  1. Reply

    Dbd :)

    January 13, 2010

    ey kuya bren.. 🙂
    sunod-sunod ko nimo hah?

    ignore me lang as I read the hottest chismis about you and your career (whatever that may be XD)..


  2. Reply


    January 14, 2010

    Ei Debbie.

    I've had enough online stalkers. But I know you will never belong to that category. 😉

    I'm glad to know that you also have a blog – and a promising one at that.

    rock on,

  3. Reply


    January 21, 2010

    Guess you are one of the lucky few to have seen Mt. Mayon sleeping.

    The world is full of tragedies but we hope to survive every one of it.

    Hope you have a fruitful 2010 Bren. 🙂

  4. Reply


    January 27, 2010

    same to you Kim.

    and you're off the hook already. 11 months more for me!

  5. Reply


    February 25, 2010

    what's 11 months kuya bren… 🙂


  6. Reply


    March 3, 2010


    indeed. 🙂


Brennan Mercado
The Philippines

Brennan is an electronics engineer by profession. From time to time, he gets to travel beyond his office cubicle, try new restaurants or catch up with his terribly long list of unread books. He likes museums, spicy food and talking with habal-habal drivers. For now, he's still deciding on whether to play Pokémon GO or not.

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