In the town of Daraga, in the province of Albay in the Bicol Region, lays the most beautiful volcano in the Philippines- Mayon volcano. Its picturesque view may have been what inspired the natives to come up with one of the most exceptional Philippine alamats – the legend of “Daragang Magayon” of the Bicolanos, or “Dalagang Maganda” (beautiful maiden) in Tagalog.
Long ago, along the streams of Yawa river lays a kingdom named Rawis. It is reigned by a very generous and intelligent king – King Makusog. His only daughter was called “Daragang Magayon” (beautiful maiden) because of the exceptional beauty that she possesses. Because of this beauty, all the men in their kingdom, as well as in the neighboring kingdoms, dream to have her heart.
It has been a hobby of Daragang Magayon to secretly take a bath in the Yawa River every morning at the break of dawn. It was one morning when a traveler from the faraway kingdom of Laguna accidentally saw her secret ritual. He was a young lad named Ulap (cloud). Upon seeing the beautiful maiden, Ulap was instantly hypnotized by her beauty.
In the many journeys of Ulap, it was only then that a maiden has successfully captured his heart. Every morning since then, he would secretly watch behind the bamboo groves as Daragang Magayon takes a bath in the Yawa River. He was not contented in being a secret admirer so he eventually decided to come out of his hiding place and introduce himself to the maiden.
Daragang Magayon, startled by this revelation , started to come to her feet and run away, but as fate may have dictated it, she was tripped by a mossy stone and was about to be drawn away by the river current when Ulap grabbed her arm. In that instant, she too was hypnotized by the lad’s stance and charming eyes that she failed to turn her back from him and run away.
Not for long, the two became inseparable lovers and their relationship was happily blessed by King Makusog. Ulap asked permission from his lady love to go home to Laguna and fetch his relatives for the pamamanhikan (prenuptial get together). He was away for two months.
Meanwhile, the news of the soon-to-be wedding spread like fire in the nearby kingdoms including the Kingdom of Iraya which is reigned by Patugo. This news enraged him and brought back the pain incurred by Daragang Magayon’s refusal of his love proposal.
He convinced his people to set a battle against the Kingdom of Rawin by telling them that Daragang Magayon’s marriage to a foreign man is an insult to their maleness. They agreed to capture King Makusog and ask for Daragang Magayon as a ransom.
Meanwhile, the Kingdom of Rawis is busy in the preparation for the arrival of the people from Laguna. This was used by Patugo and his army as an opportunity to attack them. The people of Rawis was so stunned by this sudden attack that the king was effortlessly captured. The festive mood was instantly replaced with doom. Daragang Magayon offered herself as a ransom for the freedom of his father even if this was against her will. Just then, their expecting visitors, Ulap and his clan from Laguna, arrived and helped in fighting the enemies. “If you are real men, fight with men! Do not waste your power in terrorizing ladies and old men!”, Ulap exclaimed. With this, the battle heated up and there was bloodshed. Under the heat of the sun, behind the dusty wind, swords and bolos were ravagely swished against each other. Daragang Magayon’s heart beated outrageously because of the suspense brought about by the battle. A bloody body fell on the ground, and the maiden’s heart skipped a beat thinking that this might be his lover’s. She ran closer and reveled when she saw that instead of Ulap, the lifeless body belongs to Patugo. She turned around and saw Ulap with his arms wide open. She joyfully ran towards the waiting arms of her lover. As the two passionately embraced each other, a deadly arrow came flying from one of the enemies and struck their entwined bodies. The sky was covered with gloom as the two lovers slowly fell on the ground.
The whole Kingdom of Rawis grieved upon their loss. King Makusog proclaimed that the two shall be buried together since it is not right to separate what death has united as one.
As they say, true love is hard to bury. Like a strong current, it will eventually struggle and resurface. Daragang Magayon’s love is as such. It is said that because of the strong love of Daragang Magayon for Ulap, her grave mounted into a towering mass of volcano as if an emblem of her undying love. Raging lava even came out of it as a symbol of her overflowing affection. This volcano which surfaced from the grave of Daragang Magayon is now known as the Mayon volcano. Daragang Magayon is what they claim as the Mayon.
They say that if you want to see the best of Mt. Mayon, you should wake up very early in the morning just about the crack of dawn. By then, you will see clearly the perfect shape of the volcano but as the time passes, clouds will then cover the slopes from the view. These clouds are represented by the jealous Ulap who is not comfortable with the numerous eyes laying upon his beloved Magayon.
Sanchez Geisha, translator. Rene Alba’s “Mga Alamat Pilipino (Para sa Mag-aaral)”, published 1914 by Century Publications.