Inside The Legend Of The Formation Of Mayon Volcano

The Philippines is home to 24 active volcanoes, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology. Among those is the Mayon Volcano, located on the island of Luzon, and it is one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines. It has erupted more than 30 times since 1616, and on more than one occasion, those eruptions resulted in the loss of thousands of lives (via Britannica).

The Mayon Volcano is popular because of how it looks. Simply put, it appears almost perfectly symmetrical, and for that reason, it attracts many visitors. With a circumference of 80 miles and reaching 8,077 feet into the air, it is a breathtaking sight to see. Enthusiasts can choose to hike one of the two trails that reach the summit, per Summit Post. The volcano is popular for another reason: how it formed. As it is with a lot of old geological formations on Earth, there is a legend attached to how Mayon Volcano came to be.

It begins with a love story

The legend of how the volcano formed is based on the story of Magayon, a maiden so beautiful that men would travel great distances to look at her. One of these men was a chief and warrior named Pagtuga, who tried to win Magayon's affection, but was unsuccessful (via Pili Ani).

One day while Magayon bathed near a river, she accidentally fell in. Unable to swim, she called for help, and a warrior named Pangaronon heard her cries and came to her rescue. This chance meeting was the beginning of their love story. Pangaronon eventually asked Magayon's father, chief Makusog, for his daughter's hand in marriage, and the chief approved. However, spurned Pagtuga did not approve. Apparently, he was so distraught about this union that he kidnapped Makusog. If Magayon did not marry him, Pagtuga said, he would kill Makusog. Of course, Magayon agreed to marry Pagtuga to spare her father's life (per Pili Ani).

The legend doesn't have a happy ending

Sadly, the wedding day did not go without a hitch. When Pangaronon got word of the wedding, he crashed it and ended up killing Pagtuga during a fight in the process. Afterward, as Pangaronon turned to embrace Magayon, one of Pagtuga's soldiers shot Magayon with a poisoned arrow. Shortly after that, another soldier fatally stabbed Pangaronon. Another version of the legend states that Pangaronon was killed first, and when Magayon realized this, she used his knife to kill herself (per the U.K. Express). 

In both versions of the legend, her father, Makusog, buried the two lovers together. As time passed, the land where their bodies rested began to rise and eventually produced lava, creating the Mayon Volcano (via Express). The legend goes on to say that when the volcano rumbles, it means Pagtuga is harassing Magayon, but when it is not active, Magayon is embracing Pangaronon. And when clouds form at the top of the volcano, it is a sign that the two lovers are kissing (via Pili Ani).