The 2460m high Mayon Volcano, on the Philippine island of Luzon, has started to erupt, with lava flows down the slopes of the mountain visible at night. More than 12,000 people in the immediate danger zone have evacuated and many more in the area are on alert. A more powerful eruption with stronger lava flows, ash clouds and rock falls is possible and the government has continued to increase the size of the danger zone.
Mayon Volcano is known for its perfect cone and I visited it some time ago. It’s an amazing sight to see the cone against the blue sky, often surrounded by clouds. It’s popular with hikers and it’s hard to take a photo in the area without the volcano in it.
Mayon Volcano has a history of violent eruptions, with the most catastrophic event in 1841 when 1,200 people were killed and the most recent in 2014 when lava flowed down the slopes!
While it might sound obvious, I’d not recommend to travel to Mayon Volcano for tourism purposes at this time or to hike the mountain. Four foreign tourists and their local guide died in an eruption in 2013 – the lava flows can be extremely fast, so you don’t want to be anywhere on the slopes right now.
The provincial capital Legazpi and the next airport are approximately 15km away and currently outside the danger zone, but I’d avoid leisure travel there.
For travelers to the Philippines, this should have limited impact. Based on the prevailing winds, there should be no impact on flights to the capital Manila (more than 200 miles to the North West), Cebu or Borracay and other popular beach destinations in the South. Different from the Bali eruptions last year, air travel should be uninterrupted.
My thoughts are going out to the locals living in the area who are directly impacted by the eruption. I will update this post as the situation develops.
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