Mayon Volcano is one of the most popular active volcanoes in the world because of its almost symmetric conical shape. It has become a main tourist attraction in Albay Province. Rising at 2,462 meters (8,077 ft), its world renowned summit is visible from nearly all cities and towns in the province, during clear cloudless days. Because of its beauty, Mayon Volcano has also been dubbed as one of the natural wonders of the world.
The volcano covers a base circumference of 62.8km (40mi) and is shared by the cities and municipalities of Legazpi City, Daraga, Camalig, Guinobatan, Ligao City, Tabaco City, Malilipot, and Santo Domingo, very much like slices of a pie when viewed from above.
The name Mayon is derived from the Bicolano word magayon, which means "beautiful." According to local folklore, the volcano is the grave of the legendary heroine Daragang Magayon and her lover Panganoron who both died during battle in a war waged by another jealous suitor, Pagtuga. The lovers were buried in the same grave which slowly rose to form the majestic symmetrical cone it is today.
Mount Mayon is one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines. There are a total of 49 recorded eruptions since the first documented activity in 1616. The most destructive eruption occurred on February 1, 1814 when the entire village of Cagsawa was buried in lava and wiped out from the map. Some 1,200 people perished, most of whom took refuge inside the church. Only the bell tower of the church now stands to bear witness to the volcano's burning fury.
Currently known as the Cagsawa Ruins, the spot upon the bell tower stands, as well as the area surrounding it, is now a protected park and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Albay.
The park is also the site of the Cagsawa Branch of the National Museum of the Philippines (also known simply as the Cagsawa National Museum) which features photographs of the volcanic eruptions of Mount Mayon as well as geological and archeological exhibits.