Mayon Volcano makes it to UNESCO world heritage shortlist

Cagsawa Ruins
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Its natural beauty and ethnobotanical diversity makes it a prime candidate for conservation and protection.

Mayon Volcano, world-renowned for its perfect cone shape, made it to the shortlist of candidates for the World Heritage Site title of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

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Mayon Volcano

The church tower is what remains of the Cagsawa Ruins, which was buried by the 1814 eruption of Mayon Volcano. It withstood the damage done by Typhoon Durian (Reming) in 2006. Photo by Tomas Tam. Licensed under Attribution via Wikimedia Commons Mayon, designated as Mayon Volcano National Park, becomes the first location in Albay and the Bicol Region to be included in the UNESCO March 2015 list. In 2014, Albay Gov. Joey Salceda nominated Mayon, along with other areas in the province, to UNESCO’s list. “It is a commitment to protect Albay’s natural habitats, as seen in its increased forest cover of 88% from 26, 298 hectares in 2003 to 44, 891 hectares by 2010,” he said. “A UNESCO recognition entitles the area for more protection.”

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Perfect Cone of Mayon Volcano in Albay

Mayon Volcano in Albay, Philippines Photo by Tomas Tam. Licensed under Attribution via Wikimedia Commons With this nomination, the local government is hoping for an eventual inclusion after passing UNESCO’s stringent authenticity and integrity review process. The inclusion will help boost tourism and environmental protection campaigns in the province. Albay is among the fastest growing tourism destinations in the country. Many come to see Mayon Volcano – majestic and towering – and other destinations like the Cagsawa Ruins Park.

Beautiful Mayon Volcano
Mayon Volcano

Mayon Volcano is an iconic Philippine landform. Standing at over 2,400 meters above sea level, it is featured in several photographs and artwork for its symmetry, a perfectly conical shape. In its seasons of calm, adventurers dare to trek the volcano’s sandy slopes to get to its peak. It is the most active volcano in the country, and one of the most active in the world. It has erupted over 51 times in the past four hundred years. According to UNESCO, the 5,459 hectares of Mayon Volcano National Park is home to over 150 floral species belonging to 36 families. It also houses up to 83 species of trees, including near-threatened species from the rare Nepantheceae family, the pitcher plant Nepenthes ventricosa.

Mayon Volcano photo by IRRI
Mayon Volcano photo by IRRI

It is also abundant in ethno botanical biodiversity. Documented here are 71 woody species belonging to 49 genera and 33 families. Over a third of it are endemic while others are indigenous. Some vulnerable mammals cohabit the area, like the Philippine Warty Pig, the Philippine Brown Dear and the Giant Golden-Crowned Flying Fox. UNESCO said Mayon Volcano’s significance is in its protection, to biological diversity, including threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.

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