MANILA - Tagaytay City and surrounding tourist hubs like Nasugbu in Batangas province remain safe for tourists even after Taal Volcano's phreatomagmatic burst Saturday morning, state seismology bureau officials said.
The volcano was placed on Alert Level 3 after a "short-lived phreomagmatic burst" at 7:22 a.m., tagging five nearby barangays as high-risk areas, namely Bilibinwang and Banyaga in Agoncillo town, and Boso-boso, Gulod and eastern Bugaan East in Laurel town, all Batangas.
"Yes, it is safe ano. The approach here is managing the risk. Sa Alert Level 3, ang nangyayari, hindi pa masyadong malakas. So walang threat pa beyond the mentioned barangays," Phivolcs officer in charge Usec. Renato Solidum told reporters in a press conference when asked if Tagaytay, Nasugbu and other areas outside of the identified five barangays remain safe.
(It is safe. The approach here is managing the risk. Under Alert Level 3, we don't expect the activity to be strong. So there is no threat beyond the mentioned barangays.)
Tagaytay was one of the areas affected when the volcano erupted in January 2020. The city, a go-to tourism hub during the summer, at the time reeled from the effects of the eruption, and later on, restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"What is important is that all restrictions will be focused on Taal Volcano and ang limang barangay na nabanggit (and the five mentioned barangays). But all the rest of the towns outside the Taal lake, people can still visit," Solidum said.
Fishermen with livelihoods around the lake will be allowed to tend to their produce, but only during window hours.
Phivolcs reiterated that they are not expecting to raise the alert levels so far. However, the bureau noted that they will keep monitoring magmatic activity around the area that may cause stronger explosions.
"There is a possibility that it will be raised if renewed magma intrusion from the deep magma reservoir of Taal is detected. Although, the probability is not high," Ma. Antonia V. Bornas, chief of the Volcano Monitoring and Eruption Prediction Division (VMEPD) explained.
"Alert level ma be stepped down to Alert Level 2 if no phreatomagmatic activity occurs in the next two weeks," she added.
The state seismology bureau reminded the public to follow health and safety protocols during evacuation, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.