Holy smoke! Ash cloud recalls erupting volcano’s tragic creation myth

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ash cloud
A depiction of the creation myth of Mount Mayon by Filipino illustrator Kerby Rosanes and, inset, a photograph of an ash cloud captured today by Ciriaco Santiago. Both images via Facebook.

An ash cloud rising from Mount Mayon has provided an uncanny reminder of the volcano’s tragic creation myth.

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The image, captured by freelance photojournalist Ciriaco Santiago, closely resembles two people embracing and calls to mind the tale of Daragang Magayon [beautiful maiden].

The story goes that Magayon was pursued by many suitors in her tribe, including the handsome but arrogant Pagtuga [eruption].

However, one day, while bathing in the Yawa river, she fell into deep water and, not being able to swim, sunk into the depths.

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Luckily, a warrior from another tribe, Panganoron [cloud], saw her plight and rescued her. They then — of course — fell in love at first sight.

Angered, Pagtuga kidnapped Magayon’s father, and threatened to kill him unless the fair maiden was returned to him.

Holy smoke! Ash cloud recalls erupting volcano's tragic creation myth

Versions of the myth differ, but the two warriors end up leading a great battle, in which both die. Cradling her lover, Magayon then takes his knife and commits suicide.

After the pair were buried, the story goes, the ground began to swell and eventually became the beautiful, symmetrical form we know today.

And, as we are currently witnessing, clouds often embrace its smooth slopes — but fierce eruptions can also return to cause deadly strife.

In a modern twist, that could disrupt the dynamics of this mythical love triangle, we reported on Tuesday (January 16) that erupting lava is effectively treating the volcano to a free face-lift.

Renato Solidum, director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), said: “That’s the beauty of what is happening in Mayon. This could act as a facelift to repair damage from former lava flows.”

However, many netizens are adamant that the cloud formation actually looks more like Mary cradling Christ.

Others, more prosaically, believe it looks like an enormous warning sign, saying: “Steer clear!”

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