In my recent trip to Bicol going to Cagsawa Ruins, I witnessed the mudflow which devastated the town of Daraga, a province of Albay. Typhoon Reming hit the province late last year. A few houses still stood there but half buried in the mud slide. A small river made Cagsawa Ruins accessible only by foot. One has to cross a wooden improvised bridge to get to the other side.
As dirty as it gets. I thought we were in the middle of a quarry. Mud flow devastated this once beautiful greenery. Can you even imagine that?
Walking to the ruins, a couple of young boys and a young girl followed us offering some photos of Mayon Volcano. They also serve as tourist guides for people visiting the place. I was surprised with the extent of knowledge they have about Cagsawa considering their ages - maybe 14 to 15 year olds. One can't help but listen to them as they articulate the history of the place. Obviously they have been well trained but the way they spoke matter-of-factly makes one give time to listen to the statistics they site - how many houses and bodies are buried where, how a number of families were miraculously saved seeking refuge at the nearby museum. At least their efforts are commendable.
The children also offers their services as your official photographer. They are well versed in using digital cameras and how to create an illusion that you are holding a big rock, embracing the church and giving you a triple background of the church, of Mayon Volcano and the religious statue near the entrance. We had fun taking pictures. I did not actually buy any of their photos but gave them a tip for being such great hosts. One even accompanied me to buy souvenir shirts and helped me in asking for a discount. ;)
The Stone Carver
The children also introduced us to a stone carver. Enteng Bato (Enteng, The Rock), as this man is called, now earns a living by doing some sculptures from stones spewed by Mayon Volcano. I learned that his first sculpture was an image of Jesus Christ which unfortunately was washed away by a flash flood.
I was hoping to take a picture of Mayon Volcano which earned the title The World's Most Perfect Cone. But the clouds did not cooperate. Folk lore has it that Mayon Volcano breathe life, that even after more than forty eruptions to date, it goes back to its original perfect shape. It regenerates.
Based on history books, when the volcano erupted in 1814, more than a thousand people run towards the church to escape the lava flow. Unfortunately, the fiery flow buried and engulfed the church. Only the bell tower remained which is shown in the picture above. To this day, it stands as one of the main tourist attractions of the Bicol region.
I'll be out this afternoon. I'll be back later to continue my usual rounds of photo hunters. Am always excited to check on others' take on the theme.