It was a mere month ago. The date was January 12, 2020.
The usual lazy afternoon for the laid back people around Taal volcano was jolted when visible steam came out of the crater of the country’s second most active volcano.
At first, throngs of people were enthralled at the site as scenic Tagaytay provided the unique vantage point to view the volcano, showing activity or otherwise. But this time, a phreatic eruption was already in the offing and people were still filming it on their phones.
By 4 p.m., things started to get serious. It turned to anxiety as the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology or PHIVOLCS raised the Alert Level from 2 to 3 in just an hour and a half due to some “magmatic unrest” on the volcano.
By that time, the threat was now real and people were praying for their safety as they hoped the volcano, which last erupted 42 years ago, does not repeat the devastation it did back in 1911 when it claimed the lives of 1,334 people
By 7:30 p.m., the Alert Level was raised a notch higher to 4, which meant a hazardous eruption was imminent with ash and rock fragments columns reaching up to 10 to 15 kilometers in the sky.
Even Metro Manila, which was roughly 100 kilometers north of Taal, felt the effect of the sulfuric ashfall, with homes and property accumulating fine particles of ash overnight.
The situation turned for the worse by the hour, especially for those directly affected within the volcanos’s 14-KM danger zone.
In a short span of time, lives were changed.
Thankfully, kind-hearted people, individuals in their own capacities, private companies and local government units were quick to heed the call for help.
People along the highway, who could have just stayed indoors during the ashfall, would splash water on the windshields of fleeing motorists to rinse the accumulating debris, which made it harder for drivers to navigate the already slick road.
Similar stories of “bayanihan” followed suit.
In fact, Ayala Group employees reached out to Taal eruption evacuees with AC Motors donating 10 brand new KIA K2500 Kargo vehicles and relief goods to join in on the relief efforts.
Only a week after the volcanic activity, relief items were carried in a convoy of 30 vehicles. Part of the delivery convoy were 10 brand new KIA K2500 Kargo vehicles that were turned over to the Batangas provincial government for deployment to evacuation sites that needed them the most.
After being on the move for over a week after the eruption, AC employees volunteered to help pack and deliver critical aid to evacuees.
AC Motors, Ayala’s automotive unit under AC Industrials, even canceled its annual media thanksgiving event and instead reallocated the fund to procure emergency goods such as blankets, mattresses, sleeping mats, slippers, towels and other hygiene products.
Furthermore, Manila Water Foundation, headed to the Amigonian Fathers and Brother Formation House, Amadeo, Cavite to distribute aid to 300 individuals from Talisay, Batangas affected by the Taal volcano eruption.
MWF deployed 100 5-gallon units of potable water, 300 water tumblers and 80 kilos of clothes for the evacuees. The clothes came from the Manila Water Enterprise Donation Drive.
Thankfully, MWF’s thrust is really for disaster response, with their Agapay Tubig program which they gleefully shared with the evacuees.
Meanwhile, Isuzu Philippines Corporation donated one unit of Isuzu D-MAX 4×4 LS MT to the Philippine Red Cross, Laguna Chapter at the IPC Plant in Biñan Laguna, for the Taal Volcano eruption relief efforts mobilization.
Additional supplies were also provided such as bottled water, toiletries, clothes and other essentials to alleviate the condition of evacuees.
The donation supports Philippine Red Cross’ mission to provide life-saving services that protect the life of Filipinos in vulnerable situations.
On the other hand, international direct-selling company Xyngular Philippines donated P5-million worth in product value not only to Taal evacuees, but also to social workers, army personnel and local government employees.
Although relatively new in the Philippines, the company has already made it its commitment to help those in need with its CSR program that focuses on health and well-being.
According to the company, they distributed food supplements that will help boost the immune system of the evacuees and the workers directly affected by the ashfall.
Xyngular Philippines said that around 150 people in Mataas na Kahoy, Batangas were able to benefit from their disaster resiliency effort.
For its part, Makati City, led by Mayor Abby Binay, ordered the deployment of the city’s disaster response vehicles and equipment to Bauan, Batangas to assist thousands of evacuees from localities affected by the eruption of Taal Volcano.
The mayor said the city government sent one super tanker, two penetrator fire trucks, water filtration system, mobile shower, vacuum tanker, generator sets, mobile kitchen and jerry cans. Some 1,000 mats were also sent as her personal donation to the victims.
“We are mobilizing vital equipment to address the urgent needs of thousands of families displaced by the sudden eruption of Taal Volcano. The ordeal of evacuees from identified danger zones in Laguna and Batangas is far from over, and we would like to help ease their suffering by giving them access to potable water and power supply, among other necessities,” Mayor Abby said.
The mayor said the super tanker, which has a water storage capacity equivalent to the load of eight fire trucks, was used to carry water that will pass through the city-provided water filtration system, in order to provide potable water supply to the evacuees.
Thanks to these companies, LGUs and private individuals, the world just got a little brighter for the evacuees.