The majestic Mt Mayon looms ahead. Dramatically lit on the side as the afternoon sun illuminates its almost perfect cone shape. I revved-up my all terrain vehicle’s engine as we excitedly approach the final stretch of the Mayon Black Lava Trail. It’s my second time in a month to take on this trail. Fortunately second time around, we got better weather to enjoy the amazing views along the trail. But that’s not to say the rain isn’t good. It actually offers a different exhilarating experience altogether.
Mayon ATV Adventure
We arrived at Your Brother Travel and Tour base at Pawa, Legazpi City mid-afternoon. They have been operating the ATV tours here since 2006. The group watched a short video and got oriented inside their shipping container turned office and visitor reception area. Some basic rules to remember:
- It’s not a race and stick to the line.
- No overtaking unless it is necessary. Helmets are provided after.
There are two types of all terrain vehicles (ATV) available for guests to use. A single seater or a double seater ATV with engines ranging from 150CC to 450CC. Strong enough to tackle a variety of trails yet not overpowering to the average user. I’ve tried both 150CC and 250CC single seaters on two separate occasions. Operation is pretty straight forward. Gas shifter is on the right, both handles have brakes and there’s the gear lever on the seat side to run and reverse. There’s a practice area for riders to get used to the controls. But if you’re really not up to it, one can always piggyback on a double seater.
Mayon Black Lava Trail
Your Brother offers a number of trail packages depending on budget and time available. The most popular is the Mayon Black Lava Trail. It is at least 2 hours trail which combines the other trails Budget Trail, Green Wood Trail and Legazpi Gulley Trail. The Mayon Black Lava Trail goes even further to the foothills of Mt Mayon with a little hike up the black lava wall.
For the more adventurous with time to spare, the Unique Trail (Mayon ATV Summit) offers a longer trail leading up to 3,500 MASL along the slopes of Mt Mayon. This includes an added hour ride and a hike to this elevation.
Sunset Ride to Mt Mayon
It was already 4PM when we started on the Mayon Black Lava Trail. Going off-road to a dirt path where we had a feel of the trail. Tugged and feeling the vibration of the engine as we rolled over rocks and dirt paths. Then we were traversing streams and riverbeds. We crossed a few highways and entered the Agoho Stream of mild river currents. Views started to get interesting as we entered the Legazpi Gulley trail where there were large boulder rocks and deeper streams we had to navigate through. Mt Mayon already teasing us at the horizon.
We finally arrived at the rest stop at the foot of Mt Mayon. There’s a pavilion-hut and a rotonda where we parked our ATVS. Since it was quite late, we hurriedly made our short hike up the lava wall. The rocky landscape was out of this world. A testament to Mayon volcano’s natural power. Our short hike ended on a helipad overlooking Mt Mayon bathed in the last evening light. There is a zip-line option to descend but it wasn’t operational at that time.
It was dark when we headed back to Your Brother Base. Unfortunately for this trip, the headlights of my ATV was broken. Good thing I always bring a flash light with me. They should have this checked next time. I had no problem operating the ATV with one hand since I was holding on to my action camera stick most of the time. Holding on to a flash light wasn’t a problem.
Rainy and Splashy Ride
I thoroughly enjoyed the ATV trail ride. It wasn’t really adrenaline pumping as I like since the speed we could go through is limited and we have to go by the group pace. I enjoyed the view and some rough trails though. The first time I tried this ATV adventure, rain was pouring. The trail was more splashy and it was kinda fun. It wasn’t dusty as well but the view of Mayon was concealed by rain and clouds. And it can get quite cold.
It doesn’t matter if it rains or shine, the ATV ride at Mayon Black Lava Trail is enjoyable. It’s a great way to enjoy the view of Mt Mayon and get up close to this majestic natural wonder.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.