A Dunblane man has told how he was shaken from his slumber following a volcanic eruption in the Philippines.
Ewan Carroll had been enjoying a relaxing break at a lakeside villa with his wife and daughter when the Taal volcano erupted last Sunday morning (January 12).
Former Dunblane Primary and Dunblane High pupil Ewan now lives in Brisbane, Australia, where he works as a primary school teacher.
The 44-year-old and his Filipino wife Aica had made the trip to allow her family to meet their one-year-old daughter Elena for the first time and to attend a wedding.
They had been staying at a hotel in the Filipino capital, Manila, but travelled 40 miles south to Tanauan, Batangas, where Aica’s aunt had booked a lakeside villa there for the weekend family gathering.
It was shortly before noon when Ewan was awoke by tremors. He said: “The night before was our third wedding anniversary so we were celebrating. The celebrations meant that I was a bit worse for wear and I was still upstairs in bed. The whole house started to shake and it lasted for about four or five seconds.
“I hadn’t ever experienced it before but I had a fair idea that’s what it was because the area is prone to them. I didn’t rush downstairs, I just stayed in bed but it kept happening every 10 or 15 minutes for an hour or so.”
Aica then came to tell Ewan what had happened. He added: “There was a huge column of smoke coming from the mountain right in front of us, I was in awe.
“We were maybe 1km away from it, maybe less. The villa we were in was right on the lakeside and the volcano is on an island in the lake.
“Aica and her family were not overly concerned about it, but I was quite worried and I think when Aica saw the look on my face she got a bit worried too.
“I’ve got friends back in Dunblane who have been in touch with me to make sure we’re alright.”
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) issued an Alert Level 4, indicating that ‘a hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days’.
The eruption spewed ash to Calabarzon, Metro Manila, and some parts of Central Luzon, resulting in the suspension of classes, work schedules and flights.
It was the first eruption in 43 years, with the last in 1977.
During Sunday’s event, loud rumbling sounds were felt and heard from the volcano island.
A strong explosion was recorded at around 2pm. This was followed by an even stronger explosion at around 3pm that spewed an ash column measuring 100 meters.
PHIVOLCS ordered an evacuation in the towns of Balete, San Nicolas and Talisay in Batangas and other towns within the shores of Taal Lake.
By 7.30pm, PHIVOLCS upgraded the alert status to Alert Level 4 after volcanic activities intensified as ‘continuous eruption generated a tall 10 to 15 kilometre steam-laden tephra column with frequent volcanic lightning that rained wet ashfall on the general north as far as Quezon City and Caloocan’.
On Monday, a lava fountain was recorded. On Sunday, the Manila International Airport Authority grounded all flights to and from all terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila following the eruption.
The MIAA recorded that at least 516 flights from and to NAIA were suspended, with about 80,000 passengers affected. On Monda, operations resumed partially from 10 am onwards, although many flights still remained cancelled or delayed.
The family have since returned to a hotel on the south side of Manila in order to attend the wedding of a high school friend of Aica’s and hope to be able to fly home on Monday.
Click here for more news and sport from the Stirling area.