THE eruption of the volcano that is Taal is nothing new to us in Pampanga when Mt. Pinatubo intimated some signs of its eruption in 1991. Back then, it was all new to us after we experienced an eruption in our lifetime.
Way back in the said year, we were all amazed and afraid with many of us thinking that it was the end of the world. None of us in our generation in that year ever experienced all the fears of a volcanic eruption starting from the earth shakes, followed by mushrooming thick clouds of ash.
The “mushroom” of ash covered the sun, thus turning the afternoon then into night when roosters started crowing and insects disturbed. In a little while, it rained ash, sand and stones while in darkness. It smelled burned sulfur as the volcanic materials accumulated all over including at rooftops.
The environment seemed to be enveloped in snow with the gray color of such, the difference. Branches of trees were snapped and cut due to ash and sand that cling to the trees. Many climbed roofs to scrape the thickening pile of ash, sand and stones. For those who did not, their roofs fell to ground because of the materials’ weight.
As we laid our backs after a tiring and fearful day and in darkness due to massive blackouts, we experienced earthquakes every minute due to the volcanic activities of the Pinatubo. The tremors we felt from time to time even lasted for days, adding to the idea of an Armageddon.
All the towns in the province then were transformed into ghost towns. Transportation was paralyzed due to blocked roads. People did not traveled then as they have nowhere to go because of the devastation. Dust became a problem especially those with respiratory problems.
When the immediate effects of the eruption subsided, came lahar. The pyroclastic materials emitted by Mt. Pinatubo, deposited in mountain slopes, in plains and waterways became a yearly problem of Kapampangans every rainy season due to its devastation. Lahar flowed enveloping everything on its path. Some lahar flows were unprecedented that it claimed lives aside from properties, livestock, and crops.
For several years, lahar became a problem of the “victims” of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption. It took several years for them to bounce back and start anew.
When Mt. Pinatubo erupted, the technology on information gathering and sharing was not that advanced. There were no mobile phones, only landline telephones and VHF and UHF radios that were available. Cameras were the “film-type” ones that were used in capturing images and documenting events and activities.
The eruption of Mt. Taal is now being properly documenting with its volcanic activities being captured in many angles. This is due to the advancement of technology particularly with the presence of mobile phones and video cameras, SLR cameras and lenses that capture vivid images, drones and of course the internet that provides the avenue for social media.
Let us all pray that the eruption of Taal won’t be as devastating as that of Pinatubo.
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