BATANGAS, Philippines – "Wala nang mababalikan (Nothing left to return to)."
This was how residents of Barrio Calawit in San Nicolas, Batangas, described what they saw after they returned to their homes amid threats of Taal Volcano's hazardous explosion.
Early in the morning of Monday, January 13, they sailed on their boats without the knowledge of authorities to check on their livestock, which is their means of living.
A few hours later, they returned to the evacuation center in Balete, Batangas, telling companions what they found: dead livestock, crushed homes.
Ricardo Barrion was one of the lucy ones, because he got to bring along 3 live goats. However, his family’s 27 pigs were all dead, crushed by the weight of the mud created by the volcanic activity.
When the local government and the coast guard caught on, they prohibited the evacuees from going back to their homes. This frustrated Rodrick Salazar, who had hoped to check on his horses and pigs.
Meanwhile, Jeffrey Cacao accepted that they have nothing to return to in Barrio Calawit, and hopes to find new means of living.
State volcanologists raised Alert Level 4 for Taal Volcano, meaning that a hazardous eruption could occur within hours or days. – Rappler.com
Loreben Tuquero is a researcher-writer for Rappler. Before transferring to Rappler's Research team, she covered transportation, Quezon City, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government as a reporter. She graduated with a communication degree from the Ateneo de Manila University.