Remnants of a disaster

Only ash and shells are left on the once popular tourist isle damaged by volcanic eruptions

By   |  Published: 11th Jan 2021  3:08 pm

Taal Volcano: The island is a ghost town, its trees just dead sticks in a gray landscape, its homes and school ash-covered and damaged by continuing earthquakes and the explosive volcanic eruption that occurred one year ago.

Fisherman Rogelito Cacao regularly visits his home on the volcanic island south of the Philippine capital. “I miss our belongings, but it is now covered in ash, our livestock like our cow, our horse, our pig, our boat and engines are all covered by the volcano, these is what I miss.” Luisa Silva used to live at the foot of the Taal volcano and said life will never the same.

“Right now life is very hard, we are not used to this. This is where we have experienced things that we have never experienced before, we don’t know where to start,” she said.Silva wants to return to the island if the government allows it. She said they can grow vegetables and raise livestock at their homes on the island, saving them from needing to buy food. Their animals also once carried tourists to see the picturesque crater.

A popular tourist destination set in the middle of a lake, Taal erupted on January 12, 2020.More than 5,000 people, many of them working as tour guides, fled the small island as the ground shook and the volcano belched dark-gray ash and steam into the sky.

The eruption delivered an early crisis in what would become a tough year in one of the world’s most disaster-prone nations. A couple of months after the volcano sent more than 376,000 people fleeing to safety, the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country.Meanwhile, Taal still rumbles, with small earthquakes and weak plumes of steam venting from the crater.