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#64 Mayon Volcano

The most active volcano in the Philippines, Mayon in Albay is not only feared, but admired – for its near perfect symmetrical cone. Below it lay the town of Legazpi, a sleepy harbor town that upon my visit had some unexpected guests – whalesharks.

Mayon has erupted some 48 times in the last 400 years since first being witnessed in February 1616 by Dutch explorer Joris van Spilbergen. And while it can often be seen smoking today, with frequent eruptions in recent years, it is also a playground for off-road adventure.

The power of Mayon is best represented at the ruins of Cagsawa, a Franciscan church built in 1724 that was destroyed by an eruption in 1814. Now known as the Cagsawa ruins. A symbol of the danger of the beauty of nature, the church tower survived, while around 1,200 people perished.