Following the spewing of toxic ashes during an eruption of the Taal Volcano in the Batangas province south of Manila since yesterday afternoon, all flights in the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) are put on hold temporarily, and work in government offices in Metro Manila and nearby regions have been suspended.
Authorities have also advised the private sector to suspend work for the safety of their employees.
Taal Volcano, the world’s smallest active volcano, had blasted steam, ash and pebbles up to 10 to 15 km into the sky, according to media reports.
The volcano within a lake, which is a popular tourist spot for trekking and sightseeing for its picturesque view from upland Tagaytay a few hours from Manila, had its alert level raised to four out of five, signalling that a hazardous eruption is possible anytime.
A number of restaurants, malls and tourist attractions in Tagaytay are expected not to open today as ashfall mixed with rain pours down, reaching areas including metro Manila and Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) and northern Luzon.
In a press release, Philippine Department of Tourism’s secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said that while initial reports from the field indicated that there were no more tourists in the affected areas, “we continue to monitor the situation and are checking with hotels and other accommodation establishments in the area to ensure the safety of their guests”.
Earthquakes have been reported in areas surrounding Taal Volcano island, where thousands of residents have been evacuated. There were also reports of power outage and poor visibility owing to the volcanic ash. Authorities have advised the public to stay indoors and to wear face masks when heading outdoors.
Clark International Airport, where some flights from NAIA were diverted yesterday, announced the cancellation of seven regional flights today due to volcanic ash emissions.
Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific advised passengers to go to their websites and social media accounts for updates on their flight status.
To read about Taal’s impact on business events in Manila, click here.