The Legend of Mayon Volcano
At the heart of Pili Ani is the “Giving Tree” or Pili Tree, an amazing feat of nature that grows in the shadow of the Mayon Volcano. Located in the Albay Province of the Bicol region, Mayon is the most active volcano in the Philippines. It is renowned for its perfect cone shape but holds a very sacred place in Philippine mythology. The myth of the creation of Mayon is a story of star-crossed lovers with a tragic ending that led to the rise of the volcano.
Legend has it that a beautiful maiden, Magayon, lived in a place called Ibalon. She was the daughter of Makusog, the chief of the tribe. Magayon was so beautiful that men from all over visited Ibalon just to get a glimpse of her beauty. One of those suitors was Pagtuga, a warrior and the chief of Iraga. In an attempt to win her heart, Pagtuga brought Magayon many precious gifts like gold and jewels, but Magayon was not impressed by Pagtuga’s gestures. Her heart belonged to someone else.
As a young maiden, Magayon enjoyed bathing in the Yawa river. One day, she slipped on the rocks and fell in. Not knowing how to swim, she shouted for help. At that moment, a warrior named Pangaronon was passing by, heard her screams for help and saved her from drowning. This was the start of their relationship which grew into love and eventually led to Pangaronon asking Chief Makusog for his daughter’s hand in marriage.
Wanting nothing but happiness for his daughter, Makusog approved of the union. When news of the wedding reached Pagtuga, he kidnapped Chief Makusog and told Magayon that he would kill him if she didn’t agree to marry him instead. To save her father, Magayon agreed to marry Pagtuga.
On the day of the wedding, Pangaronon showed up to fight for Magayon and take her away from Pagtuga. A battle between the two men took place and Pangaronon fatally struck Pagtuga. Finally, Pangaronon and Magayon could be together but just as they were about to embrace, a poisoned arrow struck Magayon. Then, as Pangaronon was kneeling over his dying Magayon, one of Pagtuga's soldier stabbed him. To honor their bond, Chief Makusog decided to bury his daughter and her true love together.
As the years passed, people noticed that the land where Magayon and Pangaronon were buried started to rise higher and higher. The mountain that grew from the burial grounds of the star-crossed lovers is now known as the Mayon Volcano.
Today, people still believe in the legend of the Mayon Volcano. When it is rumbling and on the verge of erupting, it is said that Magayon is being bothered by Pagtuga. When it is calm, Pangaronon is embracing Magayon. And when clouds meet at the top of the volcano, that is when Pangaronon is kissing Magayon.
A recent photo of the ash cloud formations around Mayon piqued the interest of the internet for its supposed similarity to the volcano's tragic myth. On the left side of the photo was a grouping of ash clouds which some people think looks like shape of two people embracing. Those who have seen the photo were reminded of the tragic story of Magayon and Pangaronon who chose to fight for their love to the very end.