As Taal Erupts: MARITIME ACTS
In the worst of time, we see the best in men --- and, we are witness to this truism once more: relief goods pouring, volunteers engaging, even a martyr few losing lives in the rescue mission.
Marino World cannot but chronicle the heroic response of the maritime sector, just there where needed, sans camera nor humanitarian blah.
Just there, at once. Just there, once more.
To aid the Sto.Tomas Evacuation Center in Talisay, Glenn Mark Blasquez, (Association of Technical School (Manila) and of Southern Institute of Maritime Studies) partnered with Rotary Club of Manila Diamonds and the Association of Maritime Training Centers.
Marsaman Manning Agency was at the Alitagtag covered court.
Marino Partylist rounded a few towns with its Tulong Marino relief goods in close coordination with Cong. Marvey Mariño (4th District), VGov. Mark Leviste, and Mayor Beverley Dimacuha.
President Relly Jose of GMM Global Maritime-Manila cancelled their office inaugurals and donated all the savings to a relief fund.
MOL President & CEO Junichiro Ikeda announced in Tokyo an initial pledge of US$10,000 in cash and assist with reconstruction of the stricken areas from donations of its group members.
MOL Group has been deeply involved here in various fields, including the operation of the maritime university and dry bulkship operation control center.
JaeJung Jang, Founder & Chairman at Sorok Uni Foundation and Chairman UNI Group of Companies went on site and comforted those who lost everything --- they who evacuated and walked nine hours over mountain roads to an evacuation center.
Mr. JaeJung Jang is sad that just five days earlier, these folks are middle class families living by fishing and farming at Agoncillo or Laurel towns. Now, they are packed in a classroom without toilet, electricity and water.
Yet, nobody curses God, an act of faith the Korean philanthropist was so impressed with.
Joy, Laughter, Tear, Dance & Worship at Evacuation Center of Lumbang Na Bata Elementary School in Calaca for about 500 evacuees to thank God. They need to be comforted to heal mental shocks and spiritual confusion.
Highly reliant on Filipino mariners, the European Union has allotted 750,000 euros for emergency humanitarian assistance to the victims, says Janez Lenar of the EU Commissioner for Crisis Management.
The funding is part of the Acute Large Emergency Response Tool or ALERT, directed through the Spanish Red Cross for immediate assistance such as emergency shelter and essential household items including mats and blankets, hygiene kits, and access to clean water.
Avior VP Rene Ranara owns Montecillo De Leonardo Resort in Tanauan, totally devastated by the ash fall. Against advisories and risks, he was able to rescue three trapped crew of the resort in Barangay Gonzales. And he feels assured his three best dogs stand on guard: Butch, Milo & Black Joe.
Ranara is unfazed, created the FB Page, #BabangonatLalabansiMontecillo, for the rehabilitation and grand re-opening of the Pride of Tanauan City.
The eruption has a wide range of effect, like the cancellation of Subic Bay International Regatta, along the Subic Bay around Verde Island Passage Race, the Subic Bay Cup International Regatta and the Subic Bay Optimist Championship.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) said it lowered to Alert Level 3 after three weeks of less frequent volcanic earthquake activity and it is emitting weaker steam-laden plumes. The weak steam and gas emissions at the main crater of Taal shows there is a decrease in magmatic unrest.
"DOST-PHIVOLCS is lowering the alert status of Taal Volcano from Alert Level 3 to Alert Level 2 to reflect the overall decreasing trend in the level of monitoring parameters."
State volcanologists cautioned lowering of the alert level does not mean Taal's unrest has completely stopped or that the threat of an eruption has disappeared. It warned sudden steam-driven explosions, volcanic earthquakes, ash fall can occur and threaten areas within the Taal Volcano Island.
But when Government spokesmen speak in the language of phreatic/strombolian and magmatic intrusion, confusion of the masses should be expected --- hyping fear and uncertainties, making credible a local vice-mayor grandstanding for political partisanship, defying opinions of experts.
Taal Lake is freshwater that fills the 15x20 kilometer-wide Talisay Caldera, formed by very large eruptions between 100,000 and 500,000 years ago, and further into prehistoric times calculated at 140,000 and 5380 due to subduction of the Eurasian Plate underneath the Philippine Mobile Belt.
Viewed from Tagaytay Ridge in Cavite, it is very beautiful and easily approached from Daang Kastila. But deadly, the second most active volcano here, had erupted six times since recorded from 1572, part of the Pacific Ring of Fire.
Its eruption in 1911 killed 1,334 people and caused ash fall as far as Manila. Due to its devastating potential, Taal was declared one of the “Decade Volcanoes” in the Decade Volcanoes program of the 1990s to increase study and monitoring.
The Main Crater Lake on Volcano Island used to be the largest lake on an island in a lake on an island in the world. Vulcan Point, a small rocky island inside the lake disappeared with the Main Crater Lake with the 2020 eruption.
The Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) has prohibited permanent settlement on the island being Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ). Yet, communities sprouted thereon sustained by farming and fishing.
Since the formation of the caldera, subsequent eruptions have created the Volcano Island within the caldera, a 5-kilometre (3.1 mi) island of about 23 square kilometres (8.9 sq mi) with the center of the island occupied by the 2-kilometre (1.2 mi) Main Crater with a single crater lake formed from the 1911 eruption.
There have been 42 recorded eruptions at Taal from 1572 to 1977, the first recorded occurred the year the Augustinian friars founded the town of Taal on what is now San Nicolas. Another followed in 1591. From 1605 to 1611, the volcano displayed such great activity that Father Tomas de Abreu had a huge cross of anubing wood erected on the brink of the crater.
The dormant Binintiang Malaki (Big Leg) cone was the center of the 1707 and 1715 eruptions.
Minor eruptions emanated from Binintiang Munti 1709 and 1729. A more violent event happened on 24 Sept. 1716, when the whole southeastern portion of the crater of Calauit, opposite Mount Macolod, was blown out. Father Manuel de Arce noted the 1716 eruption "killed all the fishes... since the water had been heated to a degree that it appeared to have been taken from a boiling caldron."
The 1731 eruption off Pira-Piraso, or the eastern tip of the island, created a new island. The 1 Aug. 1749 was “particularly violent” continuing until 1753.
The great 200-day eruption of 1754 is Taal Volcano's greatest recorded eruption, from 15 May to 12 Dec. It caused the relocation of Tanauan, Taal, Lipa and Sala. The Pansipit River was blocked, causing the water level in the lake to rise. Father Bencuchillo stated "nothing was left...except the walls of the church and convent...”
Taal remained quiet for 54 years except for a minor eruption in 1790. Not until March 1808 did another big eruption occur.
On July 19, 1874, an eruption of gases and ashes killed all the livestock on the island. From November 12–15, 1878, ashes covered the entire island. The eruption of 1904 formed a new outlet in the southeastern wall of the principal crater.
The last eruption from the Main Crater was in 1911, which obliterated the crater floor creating the present lake. In 1965, a huge explosion sliced off a huge part of the island, moving activity to a new eruption center, Mount Tabaro.
One of the more devastating and sneaky. During the night of January 27th, seismographs at the Manila Observatory register frequent disturbances; at first of insignificant, but increased rapidly in frequency and intensity. Observatory staff located the epicenter in the region of Taal Volcano and assured Manila was in no danger, Taal being some 60 km (37 mi) away.
In the early hours of 30 January, Manila was awakened by what they at first perceived as loud thunder. The illusion was heightened when great lightning streaks illuminated the southern skies. The truth: a huge, fan-shaped cloud of what looked like black smoke ascended to great heights. It was crisscrossed with a brilliant electrical display. This cloud finally shot up in the air, spread, then dissipated at about 2:30 a.m.
On Volcano Island, the destruction was complete. It seems that when the black, fan-shaped cloud spread, it created a blast downward that forced hot steam and gases down the slopes of the crater, accompanied by a shower of hot mud and sand.
Six hours after the explosion, dust from the crater was noticeable in Manila, from solid matter ejected between 70-80 million cubic meters. Ashes fell over 2,000 square kilometres (770 square miles), although the area in which actual destruction took place measured only 230 square kilometers (89 sq mi). The detonation was heard over an area more than 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) in diameter.
The eruption claimed a reported 1,100 lives and injured 199, although more perished than the official records show. Seven barangays were completely wiped out. Examinations showed practically all had died of scalding by hot steam or hot mud, or both.
There was a period of activity from 1965 to 1977 with the area of activity concentrated in the vicinity of Mount Tabaro. The 1965 eruption was classified as phreatomagmatic, generated by the interaction of magma with the lake water that produced the violent explosion that cut an embayment on Volcano Island. The eruption generated "cold" base surges which travelled several kilometers across Lake Taal, devastating villages, killing about a hundred people.
PHIVOLCS maintains a distinct Alert Level system for six volcanoes in the Philippines including Taal. There are six levels, numbered 0 to 5.
The Philippine Stock Exchange suspended trading. Initial crop damage is estimated to be ₱3.06 billion ($60.1 million), covering 2,722 hectares.
Guided by Japan’s Himawari 8 satellite, flights were suspended or diverted, some 516 flights to and from Manila, affecting 80,000 passengers at first burst. Collegiate leagues in Manila was postponed.
The Philippine government has stated it will not actively seek for foreign aid believing it has the capability to deal with the Taal eruption. Instead, international aid may be given for future rehabilitation.