The day it rained ash: A year after Taal Volcano eruption


Aftermath of Taal Volcano eruption at the village of Boso Boso in Batangas. 

Filipinos welcomed 2021 with feelings of hope and optimism, but as the days of  the year continue to drag on, Filipinos pause for a brief moment to remember the tragic 'big bang' that marked the beginning of 2020.

One year ago, Taal Volcano filled news all over the nation as it spewed massive clouds of ash reaching heights of 9 miles (roughly 14 kilometers). The volcano left everyone scratching their heads as predictions of its eruption barely made it into the mainstream media -- everyone was clueless. 

What came after the eruption was the painstaking wait for the series of ashfall to stop. The aftermath: the then-green-and-vibrant islands near the volcano became ghost towns filled with ash and debris.

Families evacuate from high-risk areas as the volcano spews ash high up into the air.

Shortly after the eruption, thousands of families were told to evacuate, especially those in Batangas. Most of them evacuated to neighboring regions and provinces. Headlines of left-behind animals also floated on the news after pictures of both domestic and farm animals who seemed to be stranded on their respective ghost towns circulated on social media.

A year after the tragic events, some towns still fail to overcome the environmental and economic repercussions of what happened, especially now that the COVID-19 Pandemic is stifling the initiative to comprehensively find solutions and give aid to the victims. Most towns near the volcano may never get the chance to see their residents again as they remain ash-stricken. These ghost towns remind us of nature's inevitable fury, emphasizing further the importance of disaster and risk preparedness.