Russian’s Mayon caper cost gov’t P520 K


LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines—Russian tourist Mark Yuchyugyaev’s fascination with Mayon Volcano proved costly to the Philippine government.

In order to rescue the Russian tourist, who went on an unsanctioned Mayon  climb and was injured in the process, the government had to spend more than half a million pesos.

Raffy Alejandro, regional direct of the Office of Civil Defense  in Bicol, said Friday that at least P520,000 was spent by the government during the two days of search-and-rescue operations to pluck  Yuchyugyaev from a gully near Mayon’s crater.

Alejandro broke down the  expenses as follows: P450,000 for the fuel used by the two Philippine Air Force helicopters during the two-day operation, or a flying time of about three hours for each helicopter at a fuel cost of P75,000/hour; and food and supplies amounting to P70,000 for the four teams of 35 personnel dispatched during the search.

Alejandro said the expenses were charged to the Disaster Emergency Response Fund of the PAF and the provincial government of Albay.

Yuchyugyaev, now hospitalized at the Bicol Regional Teaching and Training Hospital  for a broken ankle, has told officials here that in spite of what had happened to him, he would still want to scale the 2,600-meter-high Mayon in the future.

Yuchyugaev said he was mesmerized when he saw the majestic Mayon Volcano in a tourist brochure, which made him decide to visit Albay and scale Mt. Mayon last Sunday.

Yuchyugyaev, 29, who went on a solo climb, got stranded in the Miisi gully near the volcano’s crater on  May 21 after he broke his right ankle in a fall, according to an earlier bulletin released by the Albay Public Safety Emergency and Management Office.

After 32 hours of the search and rescue operations, a weak but conscious Yuchyugyaev was picked up by a PAF helicopter at 4:10 p.m. Thursday and flown to the PAF Tactical Operation Group  base at the Legazpi Airport where a waiting ambulance brought took him to the hospital.

Albay public safety chief Cedric Daep told the Inquirer that a plaster cast was applied on the Russian tourist’s right ankle and that he would have to stay at the hospital for several days to fully recover.

Lieutenant Colonel Pedro Francisco III, PAF Tactical Operation Group 5 chief, said the rescue chopper first attempted to pick up the tourist at 2 p.m. Thursday but failed to do so due  strong winds.

He said the Russian was finally retrieved during the second attempt at 3 p.m. He was found at the bottom of the gully, some 1,200 meters from the foot of the volcano.

Albay Governor Joey Salceda  thanked all those who helped in the operation, especially the five teams, composed of 35 people, who worked for almost two days to save the Russian.

Yuchyugyaev went on the climb despite widely circulated notice by the provincial government here that prohibited all forms of climbs and adventure activities on Mt. Mayon.

The prohibition was enforced following a phreatic or steam-driven explosion on May 7 that killed five persons – four European tourists and their Filipino guide – and injured ten other climbers.

The Russian went up Mayon Volcano via Barangay Miisi, Daraga. Local authorities did not know he was there until he called via cellular phone an acquaintance in Daraga, a certain Jerry Bilala, at around 8 p.m. on Tuesday saying he was lost and hurt. It was Bilala who alerted officials to the Russian’s plight.

Get Inquirer updates while on the go, add us on these apps:

Inquirer Viber

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • rock_steady

    he should be made to pay that amount. in the US, you call 911, you get billed for ambulance etc. nothing is for free. he should really be held liable and should shoulder the cost of his rescue.

  • Marx Louis Wang

    okay, we spent half million pesos while the “sampaguita” sales girls in Manila continue selling their bodies.

  • Brp Goyo

    I seriously think it is very irresponsible of Inquirer to publish this story, and very, very insensitive considering it is one of the flagship newspapers of the nation.

    Guy almost lost his life, and I think the shock and awe and fear he has been through is enough recompence for us. Now imagine if a Filipino trespassed a volcano in Russia, or wandered without anyone knowing through Siberia, would you not want the Russian Air Force to conduct SAR (search and rescue)? And should they conduct SAR, would you want the Russian people counting expenses in front of our injured kababayan? Come on!

    It actually goes deeper, goes to show how stupid we Filipinos are, and how stupid the media in our country has been.

    About us Pinoys, name a day in our nation’s history when no one violated the stoplight and I will sell myself to slavery just so I can pay that 520,000. We are not known as a nation of ardent law followers. We don’t observe our own laws with such religious sacrilege so let’s not throw a stone at a Russian adventure seeker who did as we have always done.

    As for Inquirer…. REALLY?! THIS PIECE?! I seriously don’t think the Air Force officials will spurt out the costs unless someone from the media asked!

    The guy has his share of misdeeds and injuries. Leave him be and be happy he’s alive. Do unto others what you want others do unto you, and I seriously want the Russians to call for my rescue should I be lost in Moscow.

    • getreal911

      Thanks brp goyo for defending the hapless russian. Some pinoys are not fair, too bias to weigh some matters when it involves money. Someone might have inflated the cost so as to gain more profits. Is this the Filipino hospitality you are boasting of all the world? You help then make a profit? We can’t even be sure of the real expenses when the thieves and the corrupt ruled the Phil. ever since it was founded. How funny and hypocritical!

      • getreal911

        Typically pinoy style in the countryside. Very willing to assist anyone but after will expect a fortune. This is where misunderstanding and hatred starts when the broke assisted person(s) has nothing to offer.

    • C2Tmasyas

      I agree! it sounds like they are were the ones that is put up the money spent to make the rescue…somebody needs to slap them to remind them that even their salaries are taxpayers money.

  • zdrx

    that russian must be sent home before he do something suicidal again.

    • rock_steady


  • boybakal

    Governor of Albay should pay the Russian tourist.
    He advertized Mayon as tourist destination which is income for his province.
    He should take care of the tourists no matter what.

    • rock_steady

      where did he advertised it?

  • payutenyodagimas

    thats par for the course. the rescue units whether from the air force or the local govt is just one part of a complex govt system. theirs is to rescue whatever is the cost.
    in the end, the bottom line is to have more tourists come to our shore to generate more employment both for those in the hospitality industry and again to the rescuers.
    so just keep doing your job. it maybe costly but if there are no tourists, you may not have a job too

  • rock_steady

    okay, you guys talk about hospitality, rescue etc. how about we consider the fact that climbing and entering that zone was PROHIBITED since there were earlier deaths already. How did that tourist end up there without breaking the law. It is NOT acceptable for him to use “ignorance” of the current danger zone, and he just climbed up there without knowing the danger involved. He had put himself in danger and in the process of extracting him, we have risk life and limb of our brave rescuers to extract this lunatic foreigner who does not know how to respect our own laws. Why don’t you go to russia and climb their volcano after the russian authority had said it’s a no mans land. Let’s see if you will get rescued. You think the russians will save your brown @sss? think again.

  • rock_steady

    problem with the people of this country is we are used to blame governement for everything. No Job? blame the govt. No health insurace and can’t afford being sick? blame govt. Typhoon, flood, fire… blame the govt. Manny Pacquiao wins a fight… balato please.. always waiting for hand-outs. Lazy @sss need to learn to fend for themselves and not rely on gov’t for your own needs. You need something? work for it! Got no job? maybe your in the wrong job market. People like to take nursing because there is money but will not be be willing to shift job markets where there are real jobs offered.

  • NaUnsa

    They are willing to spend half million pesos to wealthy foreigners for free, but denied the poor and dying local Filipino child with difficulty of breathing or pneumonia at emergency room because of no insurance or money for payment. The child could be save from dying, if only they immediately treat her with breathing machine with nebulizer that will only costs less than 4,000 pesos.

  • RiverHorse

    buti na yung gumastos sa ganyan kaysa sa bulsa ng corrupt official napunta. nakakapagtaka lang, may pera pala ang air force bakit sa ganyan lang nakikita at lumalabas?

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


editors' picks




latest videos