Mayon trekkers arrested

LEGAZPI CITY --- With a lenticular cloud appearing at Mount Mayon summit, residents as well as visitors stare with awe the volcano’s pristine beauty when the sun rises as well as during sunset.

Ariel Samudio, local weather forecaster, said lenticular clouds are a lens-shape cloud that normally appears in mountain ranges and volcanoes.

He said lenticular clouds develop during good weather as it floats and creates a series of oscillating waves as it flows over the volcano.

Samudio in a phone interview, however, said that airline pilots are cautious and avoid lenticular clouds as this indicate air turbulence in the atmosphere due to sudden changes in the wind speed.

Dorothy Colle, Albay Tourism and Cultural Office chief in an interview said the cloud formation on the summit of 2,463 meters high Mayon volcano was a “value-added” attraction to tourists visiting the province. The volcano aside from its beauty has been included among the wonders of world due to its nearly perfect cone summit, she said.

But the beauteous Mayon volcano could be dangerous though when it erupts sending thousands of residents in various evacuation camps, Colle said.

Mayon Volcano erupted January last year, currently, scientist has categorized the volcano’s alert status to level 2 (moderate unrest).

As this developed, a group of 11 mountain climbers was held on Sunday by local authorities after trekking the volcano without securing a permit from the provincial government and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Colle said eight of climbers were from Cavite, Laguna, Taguig, Quezon City and Sorsogon while three others were local guides from Bacacay town.

Arrested were Jefferson Belen, Asero Senagan both of Cavite, Mark Wilson of Laguna, Jayson Cruz, Michael Sanchez, Jessa Tumabini all from Quezon City, and Menchie Napay of Taguig City and Van Wilder of Sogsogon City. While the local guides were Michael Bijoc, Jay Mark, and John Rick surnamed Barogo all from Bacacay town.

According to Colle the group violated a provincial ordinance banning mountain climbing at the 6-km permanent danger zone (PDZ) specifically Mayon’s Camp 1 (Mayon mid-section) and 2 (Mayon summit) while in Alert Level 2 status, “crater climbing is strictly prohibited if its Alert 2 in Mayon,” she added.

The group of Mayon trekkers according to Colle has trekked the volcano via the Bonga trail in Bacacay town on Saturday and stayed overnight at Camp 2 until Sunday.

The group were given citation tickets amounting to P5,000 each for violating the provincial ordinance, their failure to pay the citation would be reported to the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for clearance purposes.