On Sunday afternoon, the Taal Volcano–which is located near the city of Manila–erupted. The initial eruption released ash and smoke, which was carried over to Manila. On Monday, weak lava also began to flow out from the volcano.
As a result, around 8000 individuals were forced to evacuate from the vicinity. While only the clouds of ash reached the capital, fellow IASAS school, the International School of Manila (which is located 104 kilometers away from the volcano), was closed yesterday and today due to the hazardous ash fall affecting the campus. Citizens have been advised to wear masks to protect themselves against the ash and smoke.
“I didn’t expect the volcano to erupt at all since it’s actually a popular tourist site,” ISM student Amanda Cua (’20) said. “The prices for the protective N95 masks have gone up by more than double, since some people [have been] hoarding and reselling them.”
The conditions have caused concern with residents who live closer to the volcano. A friend of Amanda’s, senior Andre Dolina from the Xavier School Nuvali (which is located around 30 kilometers from Taal Volcano), thus decided to evacuate with his family for safety reasons.
“To be honest, I was not sure whether my family [would] evacuate because our house [was] not within the proximity of the danger zone. But since we [were] in a state of panic, and [the] Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology announced that they raised the alert level from 3 to 4, we [decided] to leave the area.” Andre said.
However, leaving the area became more difficult because of the volcanic ash.
“It felt scary when [we were] driving through SLEX (South Luzon Expressway) towards Metro Manila, because there was barely any visibility [due to] the ashes. Everyone [was] cautious and careful with their driving.” Andre said. “When we stopped at [a] gas station nearby, I was kind of mad since there were still employees working at that time. They weren’t provided [with] masks so most of them were vulnerable to the harmful effects of the ashes.”
As of now, authorities are still warning of a potentially explosive eruption of the Taal volcano and depending on the development of the volcano, a larger scale evacuation may occur in Manila.