The usually calm Sunday routine was turned traumatic as citizens of Tagaytay and nearby areas in the Philippines are currently experiencing the effects of the dramatic explosion from the country's second-most-active volcano -- the Taal volcano. Government agencies warned residents of the possibility of a volcanic tsunami occurring amid the explosion and started the evacuation of the nearby villagers for precaution.

Hazard Map of the Taal Volcano Eruption
(Photo : PHIVOLCS-DOST via Twitter)

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Tagaytay, where Taal Volcano is mostly located, is a known tourist spot in the country and the eruption caused trouble for the motorists as they experience close to zero visibility when traveling the area. The Taal Volcano eruption spewed out a plume of ash months after it exhibited unrest. Earthquakes and slight tremors were felt in the area and nearby towns in the provinces of Batangas and Cavite. According to a report by the Associated Press, tens of thousands of people were ordered to be evacuated from the surrounding area of the Taal Volcano eruption and fortunately, there are no immediate reports of injuries yet. 

Taal volcano has been showing signs of unrest since March of last year and according to the Philippine president's spokesperson Salvador Panelo, President Rodrigo Duterte has been closely monitoring the situation and has been working with concerned agencies for the safety of the residents. "We advise the public to continue to remain vigilant". Panelo said. According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), the volcano showed a rather fast escalation in its activity. The Taal Volcano's continuous eruption generated ash plumes 6 to 9 miles above the main crater and this ashes traveled as far as Quezon City, approximately 75 kilometers from the town. 



Being located in the Pacific Ring of Fire means having a number of active volcanoes and being prone to earthquakes. The Philippines is among the countries that lie in the area of the Pacific Ring of Fire and the Taal Volcano is among its most active volcanoes. In the span of five centuries, the Philippines has experienced the Taal Volcano eruption at least 30 times and the most recent was in 1977. One of the most deadly Taal Volcano eruptions happened in 1911 where 1,500 people were killed.

The Taal Volcano is located in the province of Batangas, 60 kilometers south of the capital Manila and has been relatively dormant for 43 years. Although it may seem like there is only one small volcano in the middle, the Taal Volcano is actually made up of multiple stratovolcanoes and throughout its 34 eruptions, it has exhibited different types of eruptions: sometimes phreatomagmatic, or the interaction of magma and water, and sometimes -- just like what is happening now -- phreatic or caused mostly by steam.

As early as 1572, the Taal Volcano was recorded to have a phreatomagmatic eruption that occurred in its main crater. By 1707, the volcano erupted at its Binintiang Malaki crater (the poster image of Tagaytay volcano). It is believed that the Binintiang Malaki crater was created during this eruption. There is a continuous Taal Volcano eruption in the middle 1700s and by 1754, the biggest eruption recorded occurred. It was a violent phreatomagmatic/Plinian (also known as the continuous gas blasts and ejection of lava) type of eruption which was accompanied by falling and ejection of rock particles. The last eruption was in 1977 and was smaller compared to the previous eruptions and was a phreatic type of eruption and took place in Mt. Tabaro crater.


According to reports of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, about 8,000 residents of the nearby area and high-risk towns were ordered to evacuate but at least 6,000 already evacuated and been transported to safety by Sunday evening.

Taal Volcano may be small (one of the smallest active volcanoes in the world) but it can be very dangerous. PHIVOLCS head Renato Solidum explained that the Taal Volcano is unique because it is a volcano within a volcano. The institute already raised the danger level posed by the volcano to level 4 meaning hazardous eruption is possible within hours or days.