The Philippines has been visited by several natural calamities before the coming of the new year. More recently typhoons have scourged central Luzon, and earthquakes in the south have wrought destruction. While affected areas were still recovering from those calamities, another natural disaster occurred near Manila.
On January 12, 2020, Taal Volcano spewed volcanic ash. The ashfall affected several areas in Luzon, including Metro Manila. This has prompted the airport to impose precautionary safety measures and cancelled a number of flights.
The catastrophic phenomenon forced government officials to evacuate thousands of people. At the height of the evacuation efforts a Catholic Seminary in Tagaytay City offered refuge to those fleeing the fallout from Taal Volcano’s steam-driven phreatic eruption.
“If you need a place to stay in Tagaytay because of Taal eruption, The SVD Seminary in Tagaytay City is open for shelter and evacuation,” announced Society of the Divine Word (SVD) Seminary’s Fr Randolf Cariño Flores. The message was posted by Radyo Veritas on its Facebook page on Sunday.
The Society of the Divine Word (Latin: Societas Verbi Divini, abbreviated SVD), popularly called Verbites or the Divine Word Missionaries is an international missionary congregation founded in Steyl in the Netherlands in 1875 by St Arnold Janssen. In the Philippines, the Divine Word Missionaries arrived in Bangued, Abra, in 1909. Presently there are about 500 Filipino SVD priests and brothers and around 150 of them are serving in overseas missions. The SVD missionaries are also present in the Diocese of Macau. They are engaged in seminary education, parish works and other ministries in the diocese.
Meanwhile, Taal Volcano continues spewing more ash even after the initial discharge of ashes on Sunday morning. Experts explained this as a result of hydrothermal activities. Alert Level 4 is still in effect, meaning that a hazardous eruption was imminent. The faithful of Macau and the readers of O Clarim are urged to pray for the Philippines.