Phivolcs warns ATV riders, trekkers of Mayon activity
By Cet Dematera
THE Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) monitoring station here has cautioned all-terrain vehicles (ATV) riders and trekkers at the slopes of Mayon Volcano against sudden phreatic explosions as Legazpi City has already officially re-opened the city to tourists.
Paul Alanis, Phivolcs resident volcanologist at its Lignon Hill Observatory, said that these riders must not go beyond the six-kilometer radius permanent danger zone (PDZ), while trekkers are only allowed up to Camp One, or at around 2,500-foot elevation.
“Well, if they go beyond the prohibited zones, they are doing it at their own risks,” Alanis told Bicol Mail.
Alanis even recalled the tragic event when four foreigners and a Filipino tour guide died when hit by smothering stones when the volcano suddenly erupted, while the victims were at the upper slopes of the volcano on May 7, 2013.
“Considering the condition of Mayon, which is still abnormal (alert level 1) and its erratic characteristics of suddenly having phreatic explosions, these people would be taking high risk should they go beyond the prohibited areas,” Alanis said.
As to those visiting the “black lava” which is found inside the six- kilometer PDZ, Alanis said that they could not demand rescue should any untoward incident take place.
“Going there in the black lava means doing it at your own risk,” Alanis added.
Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal officially re-opened the city to tourists last week on condition that they would observe all the health and safety protocols.
But Rosal has quickly clarified that foreign tourists who are allowed to visit Legazpi are only those who are already residing in the Philippines prior to the break out of the pandemic, and with ages between 15 and 65 years old.
Rosal was optimistic that the re-opening would attract visitors into the city’s popular tourist spots and activities, particularly the thrill-packed ATV adventurous rides to the rocky and bumpy roads leading to the black lava ejected during Mayon’s past eruption episodes.
“Even prior to the re-opening, we are already getting words of foreign and domestic visitors expressing interest and willingness to visit Legazpi and enjoy its tourist adventures, such us ATV rides and strolling beside the Legazpi City Boulevard, while savoring the sea breeze coming from the Albay Gulf that is facing the towering and majestic Mayon Volcano,” Rosal told Bicol Mail.
He said that the re-opening of the tourism activities in this city serves also as a green-light signal for hotels and restaurants and other businesses connected with the tourism industry including transport sector to resume their operations.