Tagaytay, Cavite, Philippines

How We Were Affected in Tagaytay by Taal Eruption 2020

January 12, 2020, Taal Eruption. Photo credits to yourtitaja.com
Living in Tagaytay City has its perks like restaurants, cafes, tourist spots, and more. And there's one thing why people love to go here - the picturesque view of Taal Volcano. Who would've thought that it would erupt on a very fine Sunday of January 12, 2020? 🌋

I know this post is long overdue but I still want to share it because I treat my blog as my online journal. I got busy with events and work so I was only able to post it today. This is more of storytelling of how we experienced the wrath of Taal and I'll also be sharing photos of what I documented. Please note that this is just our experience as residents of Tagaytay. It is worse for the residents of Pulo, Agoncillo, Talisay, Laurel, etc. but I am glad that a lot of people and companies helped them by giving out reliefs and assistance.

Tagaytay is crowded during weekends because most people go here to unwind, eat out, and hang out with their friends. So it is very timing that Taal erupted on a Sunday so there a lot of people who witnessed the historical event and the wrath of Taal.

I woke up that day feeling tired because I attended an event the day before and I stayed up all night editing photos. I had my brunch and went back to sleep. Haha! So yeah, I was asleep when the eruption happened. I got the actual eruption photo from yourtitaja.com. Thanks, girl! 😉

I woke up again at three o'clock in the afternoon. It was raining but I felt something wasn't right. There's something in the rain. As usual, I checked my phone and I was shocked to see the news. Nagising ang buong diwa ko! The eruption was all over my newsfeed. I got up and peeped through the window and I saw the rain with the ashfall and stones from the volcano. I can also smell the sulfur and it was strong.

January 12, 2020, Taal Eruption. Photo credits to yourtitaja.com

The first eruption happened at around one o'clock in the afternoon. Other explosions were recorded at around two and three o'clock. Phivolcs declared the status to Alert Level 4. I obviously did not hear the explosions because I was fast asleep. But according to my family, they heard it. I did not know how to react. All I know is I was scared as f. I've never experienced an eruption in my entire life and it never even crossed my mind.

We are five in the family. My 84-year-old Aunt went to church. It is walking distance from our house. She thought it was an ordinary rain. She only noticed the ashes when she reached the church. It was all over her umbrella. My other Aunt and her son were with me in the house when it happened. Her husband, my Uncle, was in Nueva Ecija.

I woke up just before 4PM and just after more than 30 minutes, the power went off. According to the people, some electrical posts from different locations blasted off because of the ashfall. The power went off at parts of Batangas, Silang, Alfonso, Amadeo, and the whole Tagaytay.

I went out to buy load since I expected that the power won't be back soon and we need mobile data for news and updates. I also waited for my Aunt who was coming from the church. Even though I had my umbrella with me, my shirt had ashes from the rain. The smell of the sulfur was very strong. The rain has ashes and rocks from the volcano.

There were no cars when I took this photo but after a few minutes, there was traffic already because the residents of Talisay and other parts of Batangas went up already and the residents of Tagaytay went to their homes to their families quickly. I live along the road connecting Tagaytay and Talisay, Batangas. Everyone panicked. I also received messages from my friends and relatives asking our condition which I do appreciate a lot.

Photo credits to ABS CBN NEWS

We ate dinner early that night and a neighbor (from a few meters away) came over to spend the night because they were afraid of the landslide. It was the darkest and longest night of my life ever! We had no electricity and it was raining nonstop. There were thunders and bolts of lightning were coming from the volcano. A lot of aftershocks were also felt that night. We weren't able to sleep well. It was hella scary! We were all awake until 3am. I was about to sleep at 4AM when a strong 4.1 magnitude aftershock happened somewhere in Agoncillo, Batangas. Nawala antok namin! We were able to sleep at around 5AM na ata.

The next day, we woke up early despite the sleepless night. The first thing I did was to check our surroundings and seeing our place covered in ashes/mud was heartbreaking.

I went out that morning to see how our neighbors are doing because there was a fuzz outside. I can hear it from our house. Everyone's in shock. And since it rained last night, it was muddy and the smell of the sulfur was still strong. The mud was thick as f. Tagaytay was not passable for the first day. Our mini garden was wiped out. Only 5% of our plants lived and they were the ones under our roof. The roof of our garage was destroyed because it cannot stand the thickness of the mud which is almost cement-like.

I never imagined that I'll experience this. I was asked a few times a long time ago, "What if Taal erupted?" My answer is just a shrug and sometimes I would say that it might not happen. There was news regarding the alert level of Taal last year but I admit, us people took it for granted. We were at ease thinking that it won't erupt.

My Uncle went home after 2 days. We had to hire helpers to remove the mud from our roof. We had to be quick because it will be harder to remove if the mud dries up.

After just a few days, the government helped the residents clean up the roads so it can be passable again. I took this photo when we went to our barangay hall to charge our mobile phones. It was so hard to walk with this mud. We had no electricity and water supply for 6 days. We are really thankful for Meralco and to private individuals and companies who gave us water supply.

Good thing I was able to buy a few face masks a few months ago. I bought them for commuting purposes. The hoarding and overpriced face masks were really a thing back then. We were not able to buy it here in our area. I am very thankful to my friends and our family's friends who donated face masks and N95 to us.

I was also not able to wear my contact lenses for a long time because of the ashes.

We survived no electricity and water supply for 6 days. I went to my Ninang's house at Ulat, Silang to charge and take a bath. Hehe! Since we didn't have electricity we were only able to get news online via our mobile data. The fake news though was intense and makes it harder for us during that time. There was news that Tagaytay residents should evacuate and it caused panic. I advised my family to pack an emergency bag just in case. My anxiety was never been worse. Feeling ko lumilindol kahit hindi and just a simple noise makes my heart beats fast. Is it considered a panic or anxiety attack already?

Here's a before and after photo of the overlooking view going to our house. I always admire this view especially during sunset but after the eruption, this is what it looks like.

Batangas and some parts of Cavite especially Tagaytay were greatly affected by the eruption. Though, upon observation, most ashes went by our area (People's Park, Picnic Grove, Tagaytay City Market, etc. area) due to the wind flow (Amihan/North-East Monsoon). Evacuation centers were located in Tagaytay City, Alfonso, Silang, Dasmarinas, Amadeo, and other parts of Batangas.

Tagaytay Bloggers and I solicited and collected relief goods for the people who are greatly affected. Though we had an issue dropping them at the evacuations because a permit was required and it's a hassle. It is not that much but I am very happy to be able to help other people even though we are also considered as casualties. Thank you to our donors! Happy to see fellow Filipinos helping each other.

Most establishments were closed due to the danger and possibility of another eruption since the status was still on Alert Level 4. This is the first time I've seen Tagaytay in a worse state. Gone are clean and green environment. It was after a month when Philvocs declared the status to Alert level 3 and 2. The evacuees were also allowed to go back to their houses.

After a few months, we can cope up and everything is now back to normal. The trees and plants are now growing back. Tagaytay is now back to it's a clean and green state. The restaurants and establishments were able to open again after the status was lowered. However, establishments and restaurants are closed due to COVID19 and that's another issue.

This photo was taken at Starbucks Domicillo back in late February. It was a peaceful afternoon, just like nothing happened. But as you can see, the volcano island is now gray/black.

As of today (mid week of April), the Taal volcano is still on Alert Level 1. The Taal Volcano Island looks like this now. It has ashes all over and it is sometimes carried by the wind. The Taal eruption 2020 has two fatalities. Volcanic earthquakes and tremors can still be felt in parts of Batangas which makes the residents worry again. Hopefully, the Taal volcano will be calm and won't erupt again especially during this time where the world is facing a pandemic. Being able to experience the wrath of Taal and this historical event is life changing and will forever mark our lives.


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