Thousands evacuated as Mayon volcano in the Philippine oozes lava

Approximately 13,000 people have been evacuated from the north-east of the Philippines as the country's most famous volcano, Mayon, continues to spew lava.

Using trucks and buffalo-drawn carriages, residents of the "permanent danger zone" or a radius of six kilometers fled to shelters. Last week, Mayon, known for its "perfect" conical shape, began spewing lava. However, evacuations did not begin until the weekend, after volcanic activity intensified and alerts were issued.

If Mayon's unrest intensifies in the coming days, more people may be evacuated, according to the country's chief volcanologist, Teresito Bacolcol. It is currently at the third-highest level of a five-tiered system that predicts the probability of a dangerous or explosive eruption. 

According to scientists, it is technically erupting, albeit at a slow rate, with lava oozing from the crater. Mayon is one of the country's most active volcanoes. It is located on the farming peninsula of Bicol. Recent weeks have witnessed an increase in the frequency of earthquakes and also crater-falling rocks. Bacolcol told local media that a fast-moving current of volcanic gases and rocks from the crater poses a threat and that it will be difficult to outrun those currents.

A volcanic eruption in 1814 killed 1,200 people and buried an entire town. However, the perimeter was declared off-limits, resulting in fewer casualties during the 2013 and 2018 eruptions.

As Mayon glowed a fiery red, tourists began camping on hilltops to observe the volcanic display. Mayon, which Guinness describes as the "most conical" volcano in the world, is a popular tourist destination. The local government has designated vantage points from which thrill-seekers can view the glowing crater. Monday's interview with Eugene Escobar, a disaster response official in the region, revealed that Mayon once again displayed lava flowing from its crater last night.

French tourist Philip Balselle told sources he felt fortunate that his trip to the Philippines this year coincided with the eruption of Mayon. Filipino tourist Joseph Palasigue from the capital Manila mentioned that it was the first time in his life that he saw Mayon and there was volcanic activity. The beauty of Mayon is part of popular Filipino folklore culture. It derives its name from the local term for beautiful woman, daragang mayon.

Catriona Gray, a Filipina beauty queen, won the 2018 Miss Universe competition in a gown inspired by lava flowing down the slopes of Mount Mayon. Her mother was born in the province of Albay, where the volcano is situated. Mayon is one among the Philippines' twenty-four active volcanoes. In recent days, Taal and Kanlaon have also been closely monitored for indications of unrest.

Recent eruptions have not directly resulted in many deaths, but in the past, powerful typhoons have triggered deadly volcanic mudflows. In 2006, Typhoon Durian washed debris from Mayon's slopes, burying villages and killing approximately 200 individuals. In 2020, at least ten people were killed by volcanic mudslides caused by Super Typhoon Goni.

A powerful typhoon from the Pacific Ocean missed the Mayon region over the weekend.