During my last visit to Bicol, we (from left, that’s Pare Dante, Pare Amor, me and Joey) dropped by the Cagsaua church ruins where I bought a night photo of Mayon Volcano in action. The photo is selling not because of the spectacular eruption view but the image created by the lava flow of the Virgin Mary which, the vendor told me, always shows up to warn of impending volcano-related disasters. Perhaps she did this year because Mayon has been active lately triggering a massive evacuation of villages within its danger zone and generating a chain reaction from Mt. Bulusan and Mt. Irosin in the Bicol volcano belt. Two super typhoons also wreaked havoc in the area the most devastating of which is “Reming” during the last days of November 2006. It dumped rain that triggered an avalanche of volcanic debris from the slopes of Mayon burying entire villages and killing hundreds of people.
The interpretation of the image in the photo and the reason for it being there illustrates the continuing strong belief of Filipinos in the babaylan and its power as reincarnated in the Virgin Mary who might actually be Daragang Magayon coming out to exact revenge and protect her jewels from Paratuga.