The Philippine Airports Authority on Sunday January 12th, suspended flights at Manila International Airport after a volcano in nearby Batangas province issued a huge column of ash.
"Due to the eruption of the Taal Volcano, all flights, both arrivals and departures are now on hold. Passengers are advised to coordinate with their respective airlines for flight updates," wrote the Manila International Airport Authority on Twitter.
The authority also advised passengers in coordination with airlines about the details of flights. Local authorities also closed schools for Monday and urged people to stay in their homes.
The height of the ash column that erupted from the Taal Volcano reached one kilometre and was accompanied by sounds and tremors throughout the day, indicating additional turbulence that could lead to the imminent eruption of the volcano, Reuters has reported.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) raised the alert level to 4 out of 5, meaning that a dangerous eruption is possible within hours or days.
The institute also warned of potential dangers from a volcanic tsunami, rapid hot gas emission and volcanic streams that could hit areas around Taal Lake, a favourite weekend destination for Manila citizens.
Phivolcs spokesperson, Renato Solidum, said that "We have asked people in high-risk areas, including the volcanic island, to evacuate now ahead of a possible hazardous eruption… Ash has already reached Manila... it is dangerous for people if they inhale it."
Thousands of people living near the volcano were evacuated from their homes as ash was emitted, earth tremors were felt and lightning erupted over its summit, AFP reported.
Taal Volcano, one of the most active volcanoes in the country, is located in the middle of a lake about 70 km south of Manila. When the tremors rocked the area, volcanic lightning erupted into the steam and ash column.
Earthquakes and volcanoes are common in the Philippines because of country's location on the Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’, where tectonic plates collide deep beneath the surface of the Earth.