Foreword from Chris Newhall

We began this film with the idea to document how scientists try to keep people safe from volcanic hazards. But too much talk from scientists can be boring! So we aimed instead to let village people, officials, and scientists tell the stories. Though they have different roles in a crisis, they are unified by a common dilemma - knowing when it is time to step back from a volcano - knowing when to go or to say go. If too early? People get frustrated and officials and scientists lose credibility. If too late? Lives and property are lost. Stories of villagers who have lost family members or homes are especially powerful.

The lessons from this film - all from voices of experience - apply not only at Mayon but at volcanoes everywhere, and even to other natural hazards like typhoons, storm surges, and tsunamis. In an even broader context, this is a story of pitting livelihood versus safety. We hear voices that deeply respect both the bounty and the potential dangers of Nature. We also hear voices of people who are working together and continually teaching each other how to accept, adapt, and live with Nature.

Chris Newhall
Volcano Group Leader, EOS

Foreword from Isaac Kerlow

What a fascinating experience it was to make a documentary about the people who live in the face of constant danger around the Mayon volcano. These communities can survive and continue to live in their ancestral lands, but only if they understand the signs of danger and are ready to react quickly. Theirs is a humbling testimony of the resilience of humanity.

Isaac Kerlow
Artist-in-Residence, EOS


About This Project

This documentary film is about the people who live around the Mayon volcano in the Bicol region of the Philippines.

The documentary presents how the locals cope with living next to a source of constant danger, and also some of their experiences during and after deadly volcanic disasters such as lahars, pyroclastic flows and eruptions. It also presents some of the strategies for dealing with volcano disasters and with the evacuation dilemma.

Mayon: The Volcano Princess contains interviews with local residents, officials, and scientists, as well as an animated recreation of the tragic legend of Princess Magayon who is believed to be buried under the volcano.