Mayon Rest House: Into the Danger Zone

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Nestled halfway on the slope of Mount Mayon is the famed Mayon Skyline View Deck also known as Mayon Rest House. Formerly the bustling Mayon Skyline Hotel, its business operations have been halted due to the unpredictable outbursts of Mt. Mayon in recent decades, but the place has been preserved and converted into a lovely nature park. It has a multi-purpose hall used for receptions and parties and some recreational facilities.

The park  is a favorite place for picnics and field trips due to its cool temperature reminiscent of Tagaytay’s People Sky Park, and its panoramic views of the surrounding towns, ocean and mountains. Adjacent to the park’s multi-purpose hall is Mayon Planetarium and Science Park where photo exhibits and documentaries about volcanoes are shown. It  has become one of the top destinations in Albay and is the best place to go to get up close and personal with the beautiful but dangerous volcano.

 

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Located on the eastern slope of the volcano, the rest house is easily accessible via Tabaco City, about half an hour drive from the city proper. There is no public transport that goes directly there but motorcycles, jeepneys or vans can be rented to reach it. The journey to the top is a scenic drive through verdant vegetation with stunning vistas of blue waters and mountains from afar unfolding the further you drive.

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The 15 Mysteries of the rosary are depicted in life-size statues along the slope of the steep mountain. Unfortunately, the typhoon (Reming) in 2006 toppled the huge cross over the roof of the small chapel.

The Holy Rosary Mountain

Local produce harvested from the fertile soil around the volcano are sold along the road. Despite of the constant danger posed by the volcano, the villagers who live on the slope of the mountain choose to remain within the declared danger zone as the area around Mt Mayon is their livelihood. The road on the way up is also dotted with white concrete crosses about 1 kilometer away from each other. It is a popular place for Stations of the Cross during the Holy Week.

 

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Mayon Planetarium and Science Park


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We were right on time for lunch when we got to the park coming all the way from Busay Falls. Even at the peak of the midday sun, the temperature was cool and refreshing and the place was covered with misty fog. Mt. Mayon had been elusive lately and during our visit, its peak was veiled with white fleeting clouds. It was both a blessing and a curse. The cold atmosphere was a respite from the hot temperature on the lowlands, but the mist and fog had obscured our view of the peak and the breathtaking vista around Albay.

 

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Bonsai vendor at the park

While waiting for the sky to clear up, each of us went on exploring around the park. Nothing much has changed since my last visit two years ago. The zip line and wall climbing facilities weren’t operational again or perhaps it was only during my visits. The big cross at the Holy Rosary Mountain was still down. It was toppled by typhoon Reming in 2006. Luckily, the Planetarium and the café were open. I went inside the Planetarium again since the entrance fee was only 10 pesos and there was nothing much to do. After watching the documentary, I joined my aunt who was checking out the bonsais and other decorative plants that were for sale.

 

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The Picnic Area


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Wall Climbing facility


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At the Platform of the Zip Glide

Luckily, after waiting for two hours, a sudden gust of wind exposed Mayon to us in all its glory. I ran to an unobstructed spot and started clicking my shutter. Everyone in the park, simultaneously halted what they were doing, excitedly took pictures and just stood there staring at the imposing work of Mother Nature. I was glad I didn’t waste any time because after a few minutes it went hiding again behind the clouds. I forgot what it was like to be this close to its peak. I could see closely the hot smoke coming out from its gray and bald crater and the path of lava flows. It was so dangerously beautiful indeed.

 

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I saw Mayon on a daily basis when I was young but it was usually covered with clouds and not this intimate. It was well worth it coming back to this place. Never mind that they haven’t upgraded the facilities yet even though it is in dire need of a make-over. There are other places to zip line, wall climb, eat good food and be entertained. The Mayon Rest House is about Mayon. It is the star and the entertainment itself. Unless you’re adventurous enough to trek all the way to the top, this is the closest you’ll get to the most active volcano in the Philippines.

 

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My aunt, her fiancee Marc and my cousin

 

Bits and Info

Mayon Planetarium and Science Park Fee
Parking Fee – Php 10
Planetarium Fee – Php 10
Toilet Fee – Php 6
Wall Climbing – Php 50/hour
Zip Slide – Php 100