The Cagsawa Ruins is located at the town of Daraga, Albay near Mayon Volcano, the most beautiful volcano in the Philippines. This remnant church is one of the most popular destinations in Albay and a favorite stopover of tourists when traveling to Bicol. It is under the protection of the municipal government of Daraga.
After 1724, the ornate church of Cagsawa was built by Franciscan friars under Fray Francisco Blanco. During the Spanish colonial era of the Philippines, the name Cagsawa was spelled out as Cagsaua. In the year 1814, Mount Mayon had its deadliest and most violent eruption. Lava flowed and spilled out to the historical Cagsawa Church.
A snippet of the past: the Cagsawa Church before it was buried in ashes
During the eruption, this church was the asylum of some 1,200 people in the town who thought that they were safe from the rage of Mayon Volcano, but all of a sudden molten rocks and pyroclastic flows engulfed the church. Only the belfry remained standing as a taciturn indication of the disaster. All people who took shelter in the church died in this terrible tragedy and their last moments were spent praying to God. A hundred million cubic meters of ash was created. The remaining survivors of this eruption settled in the nearby town of Daraga. They decided to merge the two towns – the destroyed Cagsawa and the barrio of Daraga.
Almost two hundred years after it happened, the church of Cagsawa, more commonly known as Cagsawa Ruins has now become one of the most famous landmarks in Albay.
Nowadays, the Cagsawa Ruins is the centerpiece of the Cagsawa Ruins Park, where tourists can enjoy the scenic view of Mayon Volcano with the Cagsawa belfry in front. There are also various souvenir shops here that offer different colorful collection of local stuff such as handbags, mats, shirts and handiwork made in native materials like abaca. Different kinds of flowers can also be bought here, with orchirds as the most precious of all. Also, postcards of Mayon Volcano are available for only 25 pesos per piece. There are also a lot of tour guides around the park and they can give detailed information about the history of the place.
The Cagsawa National Museum is the third largest branch of the National Museum. It was inaugurated on October 30, 1992 and was donated by the government of Daraga. This museum contains photographs of Mount Mayon during its volcanic eruptions as well as geological and archeological exhibits.
People might consider volcanic eruptions as a really terrible disaster but for the locals of Cagsawa, the eruptions of Mount Mayon added to the fertility of their lands. Legaspi City is still a blessed place to have such a beautiful volcano and amazing landscapes surrounding it.
For more information, visit Cagsawa Ruins fb account at
How to get there
Getting to Mount Mayon is through air from Manila to Albay (Lagazpi Airport), which worth around 1,500php – 2,000php or you can travel by riding a bus from Manila to Legazpi which will last for 11-12 hours travel time. The terminals are located near the Cultural Center of the Philippines at Araneta Center in Cubao and in Ermita.