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Taal-born OFW in Abu Dhabi recounts fear as entire family gets affected by volcano’s eruption

by | EDITOR’S CHOICE, News, TOP STORIES

Jan. 14, 20 | 5:52 pm

Photo credit: Arnel Palo

 An Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) based in Abu Dhabi said he was beyond heartbroken at what his family went through with the recent eruption of Taal Volcano.

Arnel Palo, who has been living in the UAE for 32 years, said he and his entire family grew up in Taal, specifically in Baryo Iba—a reason why he was completely crushed when he found out about the eruption.

“Nakakadurog ng puso halos hindi pa ako nakakatulog ng maayos simula nang mangyari ‘yon,” he said.

He said it was a magical town and was actually a tourist destination, especially during the Christmas season. “Ang lugar namin ay kilala kapag kapaskuhan dahil sa mga pailaw namin. Na-feature ang bayan namin sa isang TV sa Pilipinas kasi engrande ang nagdaang Taal Laser Lights and Sounds Show sa amin,” he recounted.

When Taal Volcano erupted on January 12, Palo said that his family—his son, siblings, cousins, uncles, aunties, and other relatives—were among the ones who fled immediately.

Arnel and his entire family grew up in Taal, Batangas

“Noong Sunday ng gabi, lahat sila lumikas dahil nga delikado na ang sitwasyon. Kailangang iwan ang mga bahay at lahat ng gamit para lang makaligtas,” said Palo.

Arnel’s hometown became a ghost town

Following the mass evacuation that pushed almost 8,000 Batangas residents to flee their homes, Palo’s family was dispersed in various places in the province. He said some headed to an evacuation center in Batangas City, some went to Lipa to stay with their distant relatives, and other spread out to other municipalities like Ibaan and San Juan.

He added that he also got a glimpse of the terror that was happening in his own home, since he can see his house real-time via the CCTV cameras installed inside.

“Kahit nandito ako, kitang-kita ko ang nangyayari sa bahay ko, na natatabunan na ng abo kahit ang sasakyan puno na din ng ash. Nag-se-send din ng mga litrato ang mga kapatid ang kamag-anak ko, kaya alam ko na malala na talaga ang sitwasyon sa Taal. Wala nang bukas na tindahan, walang katao-tao,” he said.

The eruption was seen directly from Arnel’s home in Taal, Batangas

Palo noted that military trucks have also started coming to their hometown, with soldiers evacuating people without cars, and reminding others to stay alert for possible announcement of an Alert Level 5 status.

“Siyempre, worried na worried ako para sa mga pamilya ko. Buong angkan ko kasi nandoon eh,” he said.

He said that while he is relieved that his family is safe, he is still constantly worried about their safety and the status of their home. “Sobrang lungkot lang dahil last month lang, dinadayo kami dahil sa mga pa-ilaw namin at masayang environment. Ngayon, ghost town na siya,” he added.

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It has a print run of 60,000 copies and 250,000 readership per week; bolstered by 2.5 million visitors to its website every month. It also has an e-newsletter sent to its 250,000 subscribers every day.

The Filipino Times is FREE and has the widest targeted circulation across the 7 emirates of the UAE.

With more than 2,500 strategic distribution spots, TFT is available where the Filipinos are - at Smart Bus Shelters, Metro Stations, restaurants, supermarkets, schools, airport lounges, Emirates and Etihad Philippine-bound flights, churches, Filipino community events and many more.

THE FILIPINO TIMES. We are where the Filipinos are.

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