Taal Volcano tourist ban remains


MANILA, Philippines — Tremors in Taal Volcano slowed down on Sunday, but the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said it was not yet lifting the Alert Level 2 hoisted in the volcano on Saturday.

Phivolcs said it recorded six volcanic earthquakes in Taal in the past 24 hours, a decrease from the 21 tremors the previous day.

At the same time, the waters around the volcano, a major tourist attraction in Batangas province, has become “slightly less acidic,” with the pH value at 2.84 from 2.82 last March 29.

A higher reading of pH value in the water would mean the volcano was expelling less gas, the agency said.

Phivolcs said Taal Volcano was still at Alert Level 2, noting it was too soon to remove the warning.

The agency said it was closely monitoring the volcano’s activity as there was a possibility that the earthquakes and carbon dioxide emissions would increase in the next days. It also noted that water temperature in the area rose slightly to 30.5C from 30 in the past day.

All of these indicators mean that there was a distinct possibility of magmatic eruption in Taal, the Phivolcs advisory said.

As such, Phivolcs warned residents and tourists to avoid coming near the restive volcano.

“Hence, Phivolcs advises the public that the Main Crater, Daang Kastila Trail and Mt. Tabaro (1965 eruption site) are strictly off-limits because sudden hazardous steam-driven explosions may occur and high concentrations of toxic gases may accumulate,” the agency said.

“Breathing air with high concentration of gases can be lethal to human, animals and even cause damage to vegetation,” the agency added.

According to the website of the Department of Science and Technology and Phivolcs, alert level 2 means increasing unrest. It further states that unrest could eventually lead to eruption.