Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Philippine Volcanoes Erupt: Mount Pinatubo and Mount Mayon

News reports in the Philippines state that Mount Mayon volcano is spewing ash, rocks and lava. Some 10,000 residents near the volcano have been relocated. The volcano, famous for it's perfect symmetry, is expected to continue its restiveness.

I am reminded of the explosion of another Philippine volcano, Mount Pinatubo, back in June 15, 1991. Considered one of the largest eruptions of this century, Mount Pinatubo's explosion lowered the earth's temperature by about .5 degrees centigrade from 1991-93.

I remember this event well because I was in the Philippines to launch my first novel, Song of Yvonne (When the Rainbow Goddess Wept by Dutton/Penguin and the University of Michigan Press).

 I was with my mother when the sky suddenly turned dark. It was around 3 p.m. but it appeared as if it were nighttime.

I had just arrived from the US and was unaware that  Mount Pinatubo had been restive. My mother didn't connect that the strange darkening of the sky had something to do with Mount Pinatubo.

Since I had a book launch that Saturday night, my mother and I went ahead and got ready. The launch was hosted by Frankie and Tessie Jose at La Solidaridad Bookstore in Padre Faura, Ermita. Lina Espina Moore, Cebuana writer who mentored me was present, as were my family, friends, and Manila's literati. It was a very successful literary event, and inside the bookshop we didn't know that before midnight, Mount Pinatubo had a major explosion, one of the century's most violent and destructive eruption.

After the launch as we left the bookshop, we discovered a thin layer of ash over everything -- on the street, on top of cars, on every leaf, everything. This ash also seeped into people's homes; it caused respiratory problems and many people took to wearing hospital masks. The Mount Pinatubo eruption killed some 847 people and displaced over a million.

Now Mount Mayon Volcano, one of the world's most active volcanoes, is rumbling and people are concerned.  The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology has put out a "critical" alert.

The Philippines is in the Ring of Fire area in the basin of the Pacific Ocean, where a large number of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur.

Photos are courtesy of Wikipedia. The top one shows Mayon, and the next one show Pinatubo before the 1991 eruption, the third picture shows a 2006 picture of Mayon; and the last one is a map showing the Ring of Fire.
Read also
Childhood in the Path of Typhoons
Bohol Earthquake

This is all for now,

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