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In Philippines, Lava and Ash Rise, But Routines of Life Go On

AP photographer Bullit Marquez has been chronicling in dazzling imagery the eruption of one of Asia’s most picturesque volcanoes, Mount Mayon, which has displaced more than 78,000 villagers in the northeastern Philippines.

For nearly two weeks, Mayon, famous for its near-perfect cone shape, has increasingly gushed red-hot lava fountains, belched huge columns of ash and molten rocks into the sky and plunged outlying villages and cities in darkness because of the falling ash.

Entire villages within an 8-kilometer (5-mile) danger zone have been abandoned by residents, but police and army troops are stopping villagers worried about their homes and farm animals and keeping tourists from venturing closer to photograph what some call a “beautiful disaster.”

Many residents are accustomed to Mayon’s fury and go about their lives normally. Shopping malls, coffee shops and restaurants in the provincial capital, Legazpi city, buzzed day and night.

Marquez photographed a farmer gingerly tending to flowers in Camalig town as two rainbows appeared in the backdrop of the cloud-shrouded volcano.