Taal Volcano, 60 km south of Metro Manila in Batangas Province, is one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines. With 33 known eruptions, Taal has caused tremendous impacts on lives, property, economy and environment. The exposure of people and assets around Taal has increased greatly in recent years with around two million people living within a 35 km radius all at risk to volcanic hazards. The risk from Taal poses multiple challenges for local volcano disaster risk reduction (DRR) efforts.
This interdisciplinary study combines a synthesis and critical review of historical eruptions of Taal; physical studies (geologic mapping, stratigraphic analyses and grain size measurements of the AD1754 tephra deposit); reconstruction of tephra dispersal for the AD1754 Plinian event using TEPHRA2 inversion modelling; and consideration of the social aspects of volcanic hazard and risk (e.g. socio-economic, political and DRR contexts for Batangas Province, and a pilot study assessing the knowledge, education, awareness and preparedness of Barangay Captains who are responsible for local level volcano disaster preparedness and response).
Key outputs of the research include: 1) the first single, comprehensive chronology of identified historical eruptions of Taal; 2) discovery, mapping and sampling of 41 suspected AD1754 tephra outcrops; 3) first detailed field-based verification of two of the four identified phases of this event; 4) determination of likely eruption source parameters for the AD1754 event and new tephra dispersal isopachs through inversion modelling; and 5) preliminary insights into the knowledge, awareness and preparedness of the Barangay Captains, which show that while they do take volcanic risk seriously, they are ill-prepared to effectively support their communities in the case of a major volcanic crisis at Taal. The results and recommendations are aimed at strengthening volcano disaster risk management plans for Batangas Province.