When the Taal Volcano erupted last Sunday, January 12, Filipinos all over the country were quick to send help in whatever form, be it through donations, volunteer work, or information dissemination, and this bayanihan spirit was also strong among celebrities. Stars like Angel Locsin, Matteo Guidicelli, Anne Curtis, and Catriona Gray took to social media to call for action and prayers.
Some celebs, on the other hand, were within the very vicinity of the volcano when the eruption had occurred, and they shared their experiences online:
Piolo Pascual was in Mabini, Batangas over the weekend to celebrate his 43rd birthday. To express his sympathy, Piolo posted a photo of himself on a yacht with a view of the ash plume in the distance.
"My birthday wish right now is for everyone to be safe," the caption read.
Dingdong Dantes was in Indang, Cavite when the eruption took place and was able to witness the cataclysmic event from a distance. On Instagram, he shared a photo of the volcanic ash cloud looming behind a foliage of trees.
Actress Jennica Garcia-Uytingco has been closely following Taal Volcano's situation since her husband, who was in Batangas for work at that time, sent her a photo of the ash cloud.
Jennica also shared a photo explaining her distress towards sellers of N95 respirators who jacked up prices due to high demand. She also shared that at that moment, she and her husband were preparing to travel to Batangas to help the rescue teams.
Upon arriving in Talisay, Batangas, where she was deployed to assist the on-going relief operations, Jennica shared a photo of the officers who had been rescuing families. She is currently helping out the Alliance Search and Rescue Team.
The continuous ash that Taal Volcano has been spewing out has created a thick layer of gray mud especially in immediate surroundings such as Tagaytay. This has also made driving very hazardous as the ash-laden atmosphere decreases visibility.
One celebrity who experienced this firsthand was Parokya ni Edgar's lead singer Chito Miranda, who lives with his family in Tagaytay. He shared a video of himself driving, with the car's wipers clearing out the gray ash layer forming on his windshield. He likens the wet ash to "mud" with "pebbles."
Talent manager and pageant mentor Jonas Gaffud was in Tagaytay for a quick weekend getaway when the eruption occurred.
"We were thinking what to do on a Sunday and I suggested there’s a volcano nearby where we can have nice view and sumptuous lunch. So I invited @seanosada and @cheska_summer to Tagaytay. Then it just happened. The volcano erupted," he shared on Instagram.
He tells Pep.ph that they had no clue that the "clouds" above the volcano were, in fact, signs of volcanic activity.
"I was taking the photo of the villages/towns below. It was hell of a moment for them. But it was for us after too. I remember the days when we were just studying this for geography and geology classes in UP. Never thought I’d witness something this powerful. I was there at that moment, a chance to take that photo, to capture the moment, and realized in the end we are just a speck of dust in this great vast, and unpredictable planet," he shared in another post featuring an up-close view of the ominous ash plume.
He also tells Pep.ph that he is grateful for the "good samaritans" who guided them along the way. He also sends his sympathies to the victims of the eruption: "But all we can do is pray and hope it subsides. And I hope the families affected will be accorded necessary assistance and everyone there is trying to help."