Lava Rock Pickers

Albay artist Vicente Ajero may not be too happy each time Mayon Volcano, the Philippines’ most active, blows up. He’s got no rocks in his head. But when the lava starts rolling down, it’s always a delight to them volcanic rock sculptors. Volcano materials, lava or feather rocks are, after all, easy to work with and are mediums of interest to the local Donatellos down here.

Volcanic rock carving at the Camp Simeon Ola, Legazpi City

Today we are on a mighty long spin around the near-perfect-coned-spewer. That’s from Guinobatan to Legazpi to Tabaco City and back. We’re rockin’ around the vent to see how the oragon artisans “turn stones to bread.”

First order of battle — the mossy sculptures at Camp Simeon Ola in Daraga, Albay.

Sculpture at Camp Simeon Ola, Daraga, Albay

Stone dead

Naturally, volcanic rock crafts flourish along the towns surrounding Mayon. And those who are up for Vicente Ajero’s carvings, he is based in Albay’s most popular tourist destination, the Cagsawa Ruins.

Don’t expect rock-bottom prices.

Buang Bridge, Tabaco City

Here’s where the journey ends. Collecting volcano materials together with CamSur sculpture Alfonso Oliva, along the thirsty tributary of Barangay Buang, Tabaco City.

Could be the volcanic rock craftsmen’s mecca.

Leaving no stone unturned

Mayon's debris litter the dry riverbed of Buang

Rolling Stones

Picking the crème de la crème

Mount Masaraga, Ligao, Albay

Not really a very classic day for picking volcanic debris. Maybe we’ll have to stick around awhile till the next eruption. For now we could use a whiskey and soda on the rocks!

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