Here in the Philippines, Taal Volcano erupted on January 12 pushing a massive amount of volcanic ash high up into the air. A short time later, the ash spread around and reached parts of Metro Manila.
The next morning, I went out for my usual hike here in Muntinlupa City going to Filinvest City. Along the way while inside our village, the volcanic ash were around me – on the side of the roads, the sidewalks, on top the leaves of some trees and over the surfaces of vehicles parked nearby. There was also collected ash that got wet as it rained the previous night.
Then I visited the local village park and saw the following…
I hiked on to Filinvest City. As light from the sun was bright enough, the ash on the road and the sidewalk became clearer. There were also prints of shoes, slippers and tire tracks spotted. I took the opportunity to photograph them.
I went further to Festival Mall. Unsurprisingly their roads and parking lots had lots of ash around. As I walked on, I wondered how many people with equipment they will deploy to clean up their parking spaces.
So I saw a lot about the volcanic ash in Alabang that morning. Certain things I saw during my morning hike reminded me a bit of what I saw back in 1991 regarding the volcanic ash Mount Pinatubo released. Metro Manila was not spared back then.
Still nothing prepared me for the volcanic ash that I saw as I drove from Alabang to our office in Laguna via the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX). As many vehicles moved both ways along the highway, there as a lot of Taal Volcano’s ash the view became less visible on certain stretches.
Then I took a short stopover at one of the gas stations along the SLEX. Here is what I saw.
The gas station was dirty with the volcanic ash. Many cars that were there were also dirty and people, including the maintenance workers, were seen wearing face masks. I witnessed one maintenance worker near me doing clean-up work by moving the volcanic ash into a pile and then collecting them and storing them into a black garbage bag.
Seeing him work like that made me pray that he and all other personnel assigned to do cleaning will get compensated well by their respective employers. There is so much Taal Volcano ash around, it will take quite some time and effort before achieving cleanliness.
I also pray that the victims – those who live in close proximity to Taal Volcano – will receive sufficient assistance from the local authorities as well as private donors or groups doing charity work. This is because those victims’ lives got disrupted and many of them had to leave their homes temporarily.
One credible organization to donate to is Operation Blessing Foundation Philippines which announced already its campaign to help Taal Volcano victims. Visit their website right here. Another worthy organization accepting donations is New Life Community Care.
The victims of the natural disaster need our help and prayers. Remember that.
So that’s it. January 13, 2020 will be remembered as one of the most unusual Mondays I had in many years. Given the tremendous amount of volcanic ash spotted EVERYWHERE I went that day, it is fitting for me to call the day as Ash Monday.
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