What To Expect When Commuting In Manila Amid Taal Volcano Eruption

It's best to stay indoors if you have to.
PHOTO: ISTOCKPHOTO/JUNPINZON

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) has placed Taal Volcano on Alert Level 4 on January 12, meaning that a hazardous eruption is imminent. The volcanic activity has left people in affected areas fleeing to evacuation centers, crippled air traffic, and volcanic ash has reached Metro Manila.

Number Coding Scheme Suspended On January 13

The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) announced that it would suspend the number coding scheme of all vehicles on January 13, Inquirer.net reported.

On Mondays, vehicles with plate numbers ending in 1 and 2 are prohibited to travel in Metro Manila’s streets but January 13 will be an exception.

Flight Situation

The Department of Transportation (DOTR), the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) issued a joint statement on January 12 that all flights at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) have been suspended indefinitely until further notice. 

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MIAA General Manager Ed Monreal said that NAIA’s runways and ramps have already accumulated ash. He also appealed to passengers not to proceed to the NAIA and to check with their respective airlines about flight updates. He also said that MIAA will be shutting down some air handling units to avoid ash ingestion.

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Passengers may call the following NAIA flight information numbers:

  • Terminal 1 (88771-109 local 2181)
  • Terminal 2 (88771-109 local 2182)
  • Terminal 3 (88777-888 local 2183)
  • Terminal 4 (88771-109 local 2184)
  • MIAA SMS Hotline 0917-8396242 and 0918-9186242
  • MIAA Hotline 88771-111

Some Malls Waive Overnight Parking Fees

SM Malls announced that it would waive its overnight parking fees on January 12 at SM Malls located in Metro Manila, Batangas, Laguna, and Cavite for customers who have been affected by Taal Volcano’s ashfall.

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Some Volcano Eruption Safety Tips:

The Red Cross offered these helpful tips in the event of a volcanic eruption:

  • Listen to a local station on a portable, battery-operated radio or television for updated emergency information and instructions. Local officials will give the most appropriate advice for your particular situation.
  • Follow any evacuation orders issued by authorities, and put your emergency plan into action. Although it may seem safe to stay at home and wait out an eruption, if you are in a hazard zone, doing so could be very dangerous.
  • If indoors, close all windows, doors, and dampers to keep volcanic ash from entering.
  • Put all machinery inside a garage or barn to protect it from volcanic ash. If buildings are not available, cover machinery with large tarps.
  • Bring animals and livestock into closed shelters to protect them from breathing volcanic ash.

If You Are Outdoors

  • Seek shelter indoors if possible.
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  • Stay out of designated restricted zones. The effects of a volcanic eruption can be experienced many miles from a volcano.
  • Avoid low-lying areas, areas downwind of the volcano, and river valleys downstream of the volcano. Debris and ash will be carried by wind and gravity. Stay in areas where you will not be further exposed to volcanic eruption hazards. Trying to watch an erupting volcano up close is a deadly idea.

If You Are Caught in an Ashfall

  • Wear a dust mask designed to protect against lung irritation from small particles. 
  • Protect your eyes by wearing goggles. Wear eyeglasses, not contact lenses.
  • Keep as much of your skin covered as possible.

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