In these photographs taken on December 29 and 30 of 2009, the Mayon volcano is seen in activity from Lingñon Hill in Legazpi city, Albay province, central Philippines. (Photo credits: Tryfon Topalidis, File)
The 2,460-meter (8,070-foot) active volcano, which towers over the city of Legazpi, has shown “a noticeable escalation of unrest,” the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said in a bulletin late Monday. The agency warned that a “hazardous eruption” of Mount Mayon is possible within weeks. “Currently, the activity is just lava coming down,” said Renato Solidum, who heads the government’s volcano monitoring agency. The provincial disaster operations center reported Wednesday that nearly 24,000 people from villages within an 8-kilometer (5-mile) radius from the crater had been evacuated.
Mount Mayon, a popular tourist site known for its near-perfect cone, lies in coconut-producing Albay province, in Luzon Island, some 340 kilometers (210 miles) southeast of Manila. Considered as the most active volcano in the Philippines, Mt. Mayon has erupted over fifty times in the last 400 years, sometimes violently, endangering thousands of poor villagers who insist on living or farming in the danger zone. The first record of a major eruption was witnessed on February 1616 by Dutch explorer Joris van Spilbergen who recorded it on his log in his circumnavigation trip around the world. The volcano’s most devastating eruption took place on February 1, 1814, killing at least 1,200 people. On May 7, 2013, the volcano suddenly spewed ash, killing five climbers, including three Germans, who had ventured near the summit despite warnings of possible danger.