Writer: Sophia L.
Editor: Amelie D.
Visual: Sohyun P.
At around 5:00 pm on January 12, the dormant Taal Volcano in the province of Batangas erupted, spewing dangerous ash 9 miles into the air. There was no warning that the volcano was going to erupt which caught thousands of people in the vicinity of the volcano off guard. Despite its 37 mile distance from Metro Manila, the effects were still strongly felt in the area, prompting ISM and many other schools to cancel classes the following day.
ISM is a school that in the wake of natural disasters like typhoons, is known to never cancel classes. This is why when classes were called off for not one but two days, the ISM student body rejoiced and expressed their happiness in the form of tik toks and memes that addressed ISM’s strict school cancellation policy. Freshman Holly R. said that she thought the memes were “ funny and entertaining” and actually made a “tiktok herself which she sent to her friends.” She also thought that the memes brought the ISM community closer as they were all celebrating over the same thing.
However, as made clear by Mr. Dickinson in an email sent out to the entire high school, the two days off meant time for students to catch up on homework and do the work missed in class. Holly said that while she thought that she would be able to hangout with friends, her “teachers gave her lots of homework to keep her busy.” An anonymous teacher said that because she “was so busy with grades and writing report cards, the two days were beneficial [to her] and helped lighten her workload” for the rest of the week.
While it has been now been a few days since Taal’s eruption, government agencies have advised the public to keep taking safety precautions. Below are three tips to protect yourself against potential health hazards from the volcanic ash:
- Wear a protective mask to cover your mouth– The debris coming out of the Taal Volcano isn’t just ash. Volcanic ash is a mixture of volcanic glass, minerals, and other rock fragments from the explosion. Wearing a protective mask such as an N95 can help prevent breathing in the micro fragments of glass that are extremely dangerous to your health.
- Make sure the food and water you consume is safe– Ash particles have acid coatings which can cause inflammation to the eyes and lungs. Even though the rain removes the acid coating, the danger is that it can get into the local water supplies and damage vegetation. Ensure that you know where you’re getting your food and water and that your source is reliable and only supplies you with safe products.
- Keep pets inside the house– Like humans, animals are also exposed to the dangers of the volcanic eruption. To keep them safe, make sure to limit their time outdoors in the days following the initial ashfall as the lungs of most pets aren’t as strong as ours.
In response to this calamity, ISM is working with the Philippine Red Cross and is accepting donations such as canned goods, hygiene kits, and face mask to donate to victims of the eruption. You can bring your donations near the kantina in the same location as the Giving Tree.