Calawit residents return to Taal Volcano Island to check on homes, livestock

Robie de Guzman   •   January 15, 2020   •   873

MANILA, Philippines – “Lubog na lahat.”

This was how several residents in Barangay Calawit in Balete, Batangas described the scene they saw when they returned to their homes in Taal Volcano Island despite threats of an imminent hazardous explosion.

Robert Cacao was among the residents who braved danger to check on their homes and livestock which is their means of living.

Using his boat, Cacao sailed the lake despite warnings issued by local authorities not to return home as Taal Volcano continues to spew ash.

He said he was hoping to save their animals and fetch personal belongings as they only carried their bare essentials when they fled their home on Sunday when Taal’s phreatic eruption started.

When he reached the shore, he was devastated to see his home destroyed and all his livestock killed.

He also felt crushed when he saw their entire barangay covered in ash, the tips of their homes only visible to the eye, and the once green and teeming island now looked dull, gray and barren.  

With nothing left to return to, he went back to the evacuation center in Bauan, Batangas to tell his family and neighbors of what he found in the island.

“Galing ho kami kanina sa bulkang Taal katunayan nga ho ay inabot kami duon ng putok ng bulkan. Binisita ho namin ang bahay doon, wala na ho lubog na. Tsaka ang buong isla na dating mapuno, ngayon ho ay puro lupa na,” he said.

He also found that all his live goats were dead, and the two boats he used to make a living in shambles.

“Hindi naman namin alam na gayo’y puputok na, nagtakbuhan na rin ho. Kaniya-kaniya ng likas ang nangyari,” he said.

Local authorities have prohibited evacuees from returning to their homes amid the ongoing eruption of Taal Volcano.

Alert level 4 has been raised over Taal Volcano, which means that a hazardous eruption is imminent within hours or days.

Cacao feels lost as to how he and his family will recover from the disaster.

He also appealed to the government to help them build their homes and find new means of living.

“Nanawagan kami na sana kami ay matulungan na mga biktima ng pagputok ng bulkan,” he said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Sherwin Culubong)

Pangambang sumabog ang Mt. Taal matapos ang malakas na lindol sa Batangas, pinawi ng Phivolcs

Robie de Guzman   •   December 25, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Pinawi ng Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) ang pangamba hinggil sa muling pagsabog ng bulkang Taal kasunod ng magnitude 6.3 na lindol na yumanig sa Calatagan, Batangas pasado alas-7 Biyernes ng umaga.

Ayon kay PHIVOLCS director, Undersecretary Renato Solidum, maliit ang posibilidad na magkaroon ng epekto sa bulkan ang malakas na lindol bagaman patuloy pa nila itong inoobserbahan.

Binigyang-diin rin ni Solidum na sumabog na ang bulkan ngayong taon at malalim ang naramdamang lindol kaninang umaga.

Siguro pagdating doon sa fault baka wala, kasi hindi naman ito ganoon kalaki at malalim siya masyado. Pero pagdating sa Taal Volcano, kasi katatapos lang ng kanyang eruption, oobserbahan natin kung may epekto talaga ito,” ang pahayag ni Solidum.

“Titingnan natin kung magre-react ang Taal Volcano, pero dapat nating maaalala, matandaan, na nasa alert level 1 pa lang naman siya,” dagdag pa niya.

Magugunitang noong buwan ng Enero 2020 ay itinaas sa alert level 4 ang Taal matapos itong magbuga ng abo.

Sa ngayon ay nasa alert level 1 ang bulkan na ang ibig sabihin ay bahagyang pagtaas ng volcanic activity gaya ng gas o steam emission at mga pagyanig. Ipinagbabawal din ang pagpasok sa permanent danger zone ng bulkan.

Paliwanag ng ahensiya, gumalaw ang Manila trench kaya’t naramdaman ang pagyanig sa Metro Manila.

Tiniyak din ng PHIVOLCS na walang direktang epekto ang lindol sa Batangas sa West Valley Fault.

Bukod sa Metro Manila, Batangas at Laguna, naramdaman rin ang lindol sa ilang bahagi ng Rizal at Northern Luzon.

Phivolcs lowers Taal Volcano alert to level 1

UNTV News   •   March 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) on Thursday said it has downgraded the alert on Taal Volcano to level 1 following the decrease in volcanic quakes and surface activity at the main crater.

In its bulletin, Phivolcs said the Taal Volcano’s condition in the succeeding four weeks after its alert was lowered to level 2, has been characterized by low-level volcanic earthquake activity, stabilizing ground deformation of the Taal Caldera and the Taal Volcano Island edifices, and weak surface activity at the Main Crater and the Daang Kastila fissure.

“DOST-PHIVOLCS is lowering the alert status of Taal Volcano from Alert Level 2 to Alert Level 1 to reflect the overall decreasing trend in the level of monitoring parameters,” its bulletin reads.

State volcanologists said that alert level 1 means that the volcano is still in “abnormal condition,” and that this “should not be interpreted that unrest has ceased or that the threat of an eruption has disappeared.”

Under alert level 1, sudden steam-driven or phreatic explosions, volcanic earthquakes, minor ashfall and lethal accumulations or expulsions of volcanic gas can occur and threaten areas within the Taal Volcano Island.

The alert level may be raised back to alert level 2 “should pronounced change in monitored parameters forewarn of renewed unrest,” Phivolcs said.

The agency reminded residents that entry to Taal’s permanent danger zone, especially the vicinities of the Main Crater and the Daang Kastila fissure, remains strictly prohibited. 

The Taal Volcano was placed under alert level 4 when it spewed ash on January 12 which sent thousands of residents to temporary shelters and disrupted businesses in surrounding areas.

It was later lowered to alert level 2 several weeks later due to decreased unrest. — ROBIE DE GUZMAN

UNTV Cup players to join Wish Olympics

UNTV News   •   February 21, 2020

Julius Casaysayan of Agriculture Food Masters

MANILA, Philippines — Players from UNTV Cup – the Liga of Public Servants – are set to join the Wish Olympics, a charity sports and entertainment event for the benefit of the victims of the Taal Volcano eruption.

Among the players are PNP Responders’ Mariano “Neil Perez” Flormata Jr. and Anton Tolentino, Julius Casaysayan of Agriculture Food Masters, Rod William Vasallo of PITC Global Traders and Carlo Gonzalez of GSIS Furies.

PBA Legends and UNTV Cup Commissioners Atoy Co and Ed Cordero, as well as PBA Legends Allan Caidic, Johnny Abarrientos, Jayjay Helterbrand, Chris Calaguio, and Willie Miller, will also be gracing the event and extend their support.

Spearheaded by Wish 107.5 innovator and public service advocate, Kuya Daniel Razon, Wish Olympics will be held on February 23, 2020, at Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

Rod William Vasallo of PITC Global Traders

It is aimed at extending more charity works to the people of Batangas, Cavite, and Laguna who have been severely affected by the explosion of the Taal Volcano.

Since the first week of the calamity, UNTV and the Members Church of God International, together with local and national government agencies have been carrying out medical missions and relief efforts for the victims.

Razon said he realizes the enormity of the eruption’s aftermath and that it will take months before the evacuees could carry on again with their normal lives.

This, he said, prompted him to think of ways to better extend assistance to the victims, and such is by way of the said sports and entertainment event.

PNP Responders’ Mariano “Neil Perez” Flormata Jr.

It will be participated in by artists like Morisette, Imago, Clara Benin, Jayda, The Juans, The Wishfuls, Rhea Basco, Mark Herras, JayR, Rayver Cruz, Ejay Falcon, Young JV, Jordan Herrera, Adrian Alandy, James Blanco, Albie Casino, Gerhard Acao and Axel Torres.

Professional volleyball players and TV/movie personalities such as Gretchen Ho, Kathy Bersola, Claudia Barretto, Gwen Zamora, Roma Joy Doromal, Che Sindayen, Jem Ferrer, Patcharee Saengmuang, Sandy Delos Santos, Aya Fernandez, Casey Da Silva, Ana Gopico, Amanda Villanueva, Nicole Tiamzon, Heather Guino-o, and Erika Alkuino will also team up for a friendly volleyball match.

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