Philippines Taal volcano eruption: thousands evacuated, flights cancelled

Taal Volcano
Taal Volcano erupted on January 12, 2020. Via @BBC

Taal Volcano in the Philippines erupted on Sunday, January 12, 2020, sending a giant plume of ash. Philippine authorities have evacuated thousands of people living in the immediate area.


The volcano is located in the towns of Talisay and San Nicolas in Batangas Province on Luzon island in the Philippines.

It is about 50 kilometres south of the Philippine capital of Manila.

Taal is the second most active volcano in the Philippines.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHILVOCS) has prohibited permanent settlement of the entire island, identifying it as a Permanent Danger Zone.

PHILVOCS has issued a volcanic tsunami as a result of the eruption, and has advised area residents to wear protective masks.

PHILVOCS has recommended the evacuation of the immediate area around the Taal Volcano.


Taal is the largest lake on an island in a lake on an island on the planet.

Vulcan Point, the rocky island in the middle of Taal Lake is all that’s left of the old crater floor.

Vulcan Point holds this distinction with another island on Victoria Island in Canada.

Taal Volcano is one of the world’s smallest volcanos, recording at least 34 eruptions over the past 450 years. Over 6,000 people have died as a result of the volcano’s previous eruptions.

All volcanoes, including Taal Volcano, in the Philippines are a part of the Pacific Ring of Fire.


There has been minimal volcanic activity at Taal Volcano since 1977, but strong seismic activity has been recorded since 1991.

At 1pm on Sunday January 12, 2020, a phreatic eruption was recorded by PHILVOCS.

By 7.30pm, Taal Volcano’s eruption had intensified, generating a 15 kilometre ash column with volcanic lightning resulting in wet ash fall that reached as far as the capital city of Manila.


The Manila International Airport Authority has cancelled all flights at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) immediately after the eruption.

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