In disaster-hit areas, people are stepping up to help Taal Volcano victims

Bonz Magsambol
In disaster-hit areas, people are stepping up to help Taal Volcano victims
Meanwhile, some slam the Philippine government's perceived inaction in helping evacuees and other victims

MANILA, Philippines – Sometimes those who have less, are the ones who give more.

As Taal Volcano in Batangas continued to spew ash on Monday, January 13, some Filipinos went out of their way to show the bayanihan spirit as they helped victims by giving free food and face masks. (READ: TIMELINE: Taal Volcano eruptions since 1572)

In Sto. Tomas, Batangas, street vendors decided to give up a day of their income to feed the evacuees at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines. 

Evacuees were seen lining up to get food from the vendors. 


An eatery in Bauan, Batangas, was also feeding the residents affected by the eruption of Taal Volcano.

In a Facebook post, Angel Efryl Castillo wrote that they were giving free food to evacuees. She thanked everyone who helped them raise funds for their endeavor. 


Amid reports of a shortage of face masks, a man in front of a grocery store in GMA, Cavite, was seen handing out free masks to his fellow Cavitenos affected by volcanic ashfall. (READ: Stores run out of face masks as Taal Volcano ash spreads to Calabarzon, Metro Manila)


On the other hand, there were people who apparently bought face masks in bulk on Sunday, and were selling them at steep prices on. Irate Filipinos took to social media to express frustration over people taking advantage of the situation.

N95 filter masks usually cost only P25 to P30, but some were selling these for as high as P200.

On Sunday evening, couple Roland and Gloria de Vela from Tagaytay City helped motorists remove ashes from their windshield so they could go home safely to their families. 

Despite the power outage which affected water supply in their area, the couple didn’t think twice in lending a helping hand. (READ: WATCH: Couple helps motorists as Taal Volcano spews ash)

“Wala na po kaming tubig dahil reserba lang namin yun sa desk tank. Kapag nawala na po kasi ang kuryente, mawawalan na rin ng tubig. So yung natira namin sa desk tank ang pinangtulong namin,” Gloria said. 

(We don’t have any water left because that was a reserve from our tank. The power interruption affected the water supply. We used the water from our tank to help them.)

‘Where’s the government?’

Meanwhile, Twitter user Gigi Esguerra took a swipe at the Philippine government’s perceived inaction to help the families affected by the eruption. 

“Though the bayanihan of our regular Filipino citizen is truly inspiring, it frustrates me to know that they’re taking the time of day to do something [that] the government should be responsible for. Hindi ba’t obligasyon ng gobyerno ang pangalagaan tayo? Nasan kayo ngayon?! (Isn’t it the government obligation to look after us? Where are they now?),” she tweeted

The Taal Volcano in Batangas remained under Alert Level 4 early Monday morning, January 13, as it spewed lava fountains amid the threat of a hazardous eruption. This prompted the provincial government of Batangas to declare the province under state of calamity

At least 24,508 people fled their homes in Batangas and Cavite provinces as of 12 noon on Monday, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported.

The Department of Health (DOH) in Calabarzon raised to full alert all health facilities in the region and deployed their emergency teams to give medical and mental health assistance to victims. –

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Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol is a multimedia reporter for Rappler, covering health, education, and social welfare. He first joined Rappler as a social media producer in 2016.