The Eruption of Taal Volcano: A year later

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Taal Volcano erupts, as its ashfall reaches the provinces of Cavite, Batangas, Laguna, and Metro Manila, with frequent volcanic lightning.

On this day (January 12), one of the active volcanoes around the Pacific Ring of Fire starts to spew ash on a Sunday afternoon, as the volcano began to erupt its ashes spread throughout the sky followed by volcanic lightning. As people around the vicinity of Taal Volcano took photos of what happened on that day, residents and people around the areas of Tagaytay and Batangas begin to evacuate.

The last eruption of the Taal Volcano was in 1977. After 43 years, she woke up but there had been volcanic unrest recorded in 2011, 2012 & 2014 as scientists and seismologists are working around the clock to monitor the volcano. This volcano is located in the province of Batangas, surrounded and filled by Taal Lake. It can be viewed anywhere from the province of Tagaytay, Cavite. One of the most picturesque and attractive views in the Philippines. It was an ordinary day as tourists are enjoying their time, while fishermen around the lake work with their usual day, while I was working on my previous sideline back then as a LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) Tasker for Remotasks at a computer shop, but tragedy was about to knock on our doorstep.

Timeline of the Eruption

11:00 am. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHILVOLCS) started to detect seismic swarms. 2 hours later, it was about to create a phreatic eruption and loud rumbling sounds were also detected.

2:30 pm. The volcano starts to spew gases, ash, and lava into the air, as the raised its alert status to Alert Level 2. Residents around the area were advised to evacuate.

4:00 pm. The alert status is now raised from Alert Level 2 to Alert Level 3, as the ashes of Taal Volcano reached one-kilometer high and there was a magmatic intrusion that was driving the volcano's unrest, including volcanic lightning. The agency advised for the 2nd time to evacuate the area.

7:30 pm. The alert status is now raised to Alert Level 4. I decided not to stay longer at the shop, and head straight back home. While I was going back home, I saw the ashes with my own eyes and it covered everyone around. From cars, houses, trees, and it is difficult to see on that night. The worst is, I don't have a face mask with me so I improvised, and used my right elbow to cover my mouth. Luckily, I was able to get back home. The ashfall reached the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, including the capital region (Metro Manila).

The following day (January 13) from 2:49 am to 4:28 am. The alert status remained at Alert Level 4, and the activity was transitioned into a lava fountain. I decided not to report to work on that day since there are signs of ashfall surrounding Metro Manila.

January 14, 1:00 pm. PHILVOLCS detected the volcano's activity slightly eased, and fewer emissions were seen from Taal Volcano. On that day, I decided to report now to work. The agency was keeping an eye on any activity if the volcano will erupt again.

The Aftermath?

The province of Cavite & Batangas was placed under a state of calamity, but the alert status is still on Alert Level 4. The municipalities of Batangas: from Agoncillo, San Nicolas, Talisay, and Taal were under lockdown and a partial lockdown in the town of Lemery.

Before the pandemic, surgical and N95 masks were in demand, then later with the pandemic (after the 1st case was reported on the 30th of January). Stores who are selling face masks try to inflate their prices, and with this complaint, the Department of Trade and Industry were tasked to monitor, observe the retail prices of face masks in the market and warned businesses against raising prices.

Agriculture was also affected, from fisheries within the Taal Lake, coffee crops which are major products of Batangas and Cavite, Pineapple plantations, rice crops, and animals which caused billions of pesos were damaged by the ashes of Taal Volcano. All commercial and international flights were canceled, suspended, and delayed during the eruption. In sports, the AFC Champions League match between Ceres-Negros FC and Shan United at the Rizal Memorial Stadium pushed through as per the decision of the match officials.

For the towns affected in the province of Batangas, thousands of people lost their homes, their livelihood, and their community. As millions of people around the world gather to help out the BatangueƱos by series of donations, charities, and volunteerism so everyone can get back on track. A year later, a eucharistic mass was held in the morning, and residents remember that tragic day. Now, the volcano is on Alert Level 1 but PHILVOLCS is still keeping an eye for any potential activity.

Sources:

Lead Image from https://gulfnews.com/photos/news/philippines-a-year-after-taal-volcano-eruption-displaced-thousands-1.1610348704544?slide=1

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-51087672

https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/iq/timeline-taal-volcano-eruption-2020

https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/146444/an-ash-damaged-island-in-the-philippines

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