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‘Ghost towns’ in Batangas as Taal Volcano roared back to life

by | TOP STORIES

Jan. 13, 20 | 12:54 pm

Dusty roofs and alleys caked with volcanic ash. This is all that’s left in many barangays surrounding Taal Volcano.

The bustling fishing area of Brgy. Wawa Ibaba in Lemery, Batangas, has turned into a sleepy village as residents were scuffling to flee their homes due to the looming dangers when the volcano suddenly roared back into life on January 12, triggering the mass evacuation of some 8,000 people.

The famous Taal Lake, which is a source of life for many people in the area, now has become a reminder of the power of nature.

Kim Dharyl Hernandez Mercado, a resident of Brgy. Wawa Ibaba, showed in a video that he sent to The Filipino Times, the egress of his kababayans on January 13.

The photos and videos he shared tell how quickly the life in their village completely stopped as the tumultuous eruption of the volcano intensified.

He told TFT that many of them brought nothing with them out of panic. But still others did not want to leave their homes and livestock.

Most of the evacuees flocked to the Batangas Provincial Sports Complex and other temporary shelters set up by the local and provincial government.

The family of Kim decided to go to Brgy. Muzon in Alitagtag. But this place is still bordered on the north by Taal Lake. He is also worried about his father, who decided not to leave their barangay as he shrugged off danger advisories.

“Ayaw po nyang lumikas. Sabi nya po’y wala namang panganib. Ligtas naman daw po. Saka nahihirapan na rin po syang magbyahe daw ng malayo,” said Kim.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has warned of a possible “volcanic tsunami”, which can be triggered by falling debris from Taal volcano eruption.

This may happen if the volcanic activity would reach Alert Level 5. The falling debris may push the water generating big waves or tsunami.

The ashfall due to the continued volcanic activity triggered local disaster and health officials in Calabarzon, National Capital Region and Region III to issue advisories, including asking everyone to stay indoors, wear masks and monitor further advisories.

Taal Volcano is the second most active volcano in the country. Its last eruption was recorded 43 years ago, in 1977. But its most destructive on the record occurred in 1965 that devastated villages on the lake shore and killed about a hundred people.

Scroll down to see more photos of the abandoned villages of Brgy. Wawa Ibaba in Lemery and Tierra Alta in Taal.

Beside the Tierra Alta Church in Taal

Alleys covered in thick ash

Abandoned homes

‘Lifeless’ park at the Tierra Alta Church in Taal

Thick layer of ash covering the plaza

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BREAKING: DILG Chief Eduardo Año tests positive for COVID-19

BREAKING: DILG Chief Eduardo Año tests positive for COVID-19

Interior Secretary Eduardo is the latest top government official who tested positive for the coronavirus disease or COVID-19.   “Last March 26, 2020, after learning that 4 persons I had associated with tested positive for COVID-19, I started my 14 day self-quarantine....

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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.

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