Mayon: the world's most dangerous tourist attraction
A C Grayling
A. C. Grayling is an English philosopher and founder of independent undergraduate college, New College of the Humanities. He is the author of several books including The Refutation of Scepticism (1985), The Meaning of Things (2001) and The Good Book (2011).
Thursday 31 December 2009
When one of the world's most active volcanoes blows its top, the obvious course of action is to give it a wide berth. Not so in the Philippines, where thousands of tourists are risking their lives to get close to the spectacular flow of lava.
The Mayon volcano, famed for its near-perfect cone, began slowly erupting two weeks ago. Tens of thousands of villagers living in its foothills have been evacuated – but tourists have been flooding in, and hotels in the area are booked out.
Joey Salceda, the governor of Albay province, which includes Mayon, said yesterday that some visitors were evading security patrols to enter the 8km danger zone for a close look. "There are enough thrill-seekers, and when you combine them with some enterprising local guides, they find their way in," he said.
Mr Salceda said that although the lava was advancing slowly, volcanic ash could combine with rainwater to form a lethal, fast-moving mud-flow. "At the moment of the eruption, the local guides will have a better chance of getting out. The hapless tourist will be left behind."
An estimated 2,400 visitors are heading daily to Mayon, with most staying overnight to watch the crimson lava oozing from the crater in the dark. "It's like a slow-moving meteor show," Mr Salceda said.
The volcano, 200 miles south-east of Manila, has erupted 48 times since 1616, most destructively in 1814, when an entire town was buried and 2,200 people died.
- 1 James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – and warns Obama of more to come
- 2 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns aged 27
- 3 Cilla Black defends Cliff Richard: 'I am positive that the allegations are without foundation'
- 4 Nicki Minaj finally releases predictable 'Anaconda' video
- 5 James Foley 'beheading': Met police warn public watching murder video could be criminal offence
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Crisis? What crisis? A visiting US doctor gives the NHS a rave review
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish Independence Referendum: Salmond described as 'arrogant, ambitious and dishonest' by Scottish women
£45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, ...
Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Per...
Negotiable: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB...
£40000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...