Throwback Tuesday: Filipinos recall how Taal Volcano’s historic eruption affected them a year ago

January 12, 2021 - 3:04 PM
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The Taal Volcano spews ash as it continues to errupt in Tagaytay City, Philippines, January 14, 2020. (Reuters/Eloisa Lopez)

Some Filipinos, including spectators, shared photos of the Taal Volcano eruption last year as they mark the historic event’s anniversary that left 39 people dead and thousands of others homeless.

This prompted the keyword “Taal Volcano” to land on local Twitter’s top trending list Tuesday morning as Filipinos recalled the 12th day of January 2020, when the volcano woke up from its years-long slumber since its eruption in the ’70s.

Taal Volcano on Twitter trending list
“Taal Volcano” on the top trending list of local Twitter on the morning of Jan. 12, 2020. (Screengrab by Interaksyon via Twitter)

One year ago, this happened

It was around 1 p.m. when loud “booming” sounds were heard from the volcano island that eventful day, according to Undersecretary Renato Solidum of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).

But earthquakes have already been felt as early as 8 a.m.

By afternoon, a video of Taal Volcano’s phreatic explosion from the main crater was documented, wherein plumes 100 meters high or around 328 feet was witnessed by Filipinos. That prompted Alert Level 2 to be raised.

It was 7:30 p.m. when Phivolcs raised it to Alert Level 4 which meant that “hazardous explosive eruption” was possible within hours to days from that time.

The volcano was just on Alert Level 1 at the start of the day.

By the end of it, thousands of locals within the 14-kilometer radius of the volcano were ordered to evacuate to safer locations. Others lost their lives due to anxiety and failure to follow the evacuation orders.

Meanwhile, some Filipinos shared pictures of how the event affected them and their loved ones exactly one year ago from today.

One Twitter user shared an accumulation of the ashfall she collected from their rooftop following the historic eruption.

Another online user shared some pictures she took on that eventful day.

A different Filipino shared a picture reportedly taken by a former classmate which featured the volcano’s ash column.

Another Twitter user shared images of how the eruption looked like when she and her work friends were in Puerto Galera last year.

The municipality is located 130 kilometers from the south of Manila and 14 nautical miles away from Batangas City.

Taal now 

While Taal Volcano might be calm nowadays, some nearby residents are still experiencing the impact of the eruption that drastically affected their livelihoods and lifestyle as of last month, especially amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Philstar.com reported that residents of the Taal Volcano Island “found it difficult to make a living” in terms of fishing since the island was locked down by the government. Despite this, they continue to stay temporarily for survival.

Others were still living in evacuation centers as of December, displaced by the eruption that had upended their lives.

“Residents of Pulo say their local government promised them relocation and housing, but that was before the pandemic hit. They have no idea how much longer they will have to wait,” a Philstar.com report noted.

“Pulo” is another name for Taal Volcano Island, as fondly called by its residents.

As of January 12, Taal Volcano is under Alert Level 1, according to Phivolcs’ bulletin.