“We were starting our prayers and somebody spotted it. It was really beautiful,” Sister Mary Rafael of the Monastery of the Most Holy Redeemer, who was in Legazpi City in Albay and who saw the phreatic (steam-driven) eruption, said in an interview on the radio.
She said she saw the smoke shortly after 8 a.m. but the “mushroom effect” gradually dispersed at 8:36 a.m.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology in November 2012 had lowered the alert level of Mayon from Alert Level 1 (Abnormal) to Alert Level 0 (Normal).
With this, Phivolcs director Renato Solidum Jr. said there is no cause for panic as such “steam-driven explosions” can happen even when Mayon is at Alert Level 0.
In an interview on the radio, Solidum cited initial information indicating the explosion occurred at 8 a.m.
He insisted that there is still a need to stay away from the six-kilometer permanent danger zone around the volcano. He also insisted that they will keep on monitoring the volcano if there is a need to raise the alert level.
“Titingnan natin ano susunod na mangyayari sa susunod na araw,” he said when asked if Phivolcs will raise the alert level.
As of the past 24 hours, there were no recorded volcanic quakes according to Phivolcs Science Research Specialist Espie Del Mundo through GMA News. “Hindi need mag-issue ng evacuation,” she said.
She said that as of now, there was no damage and reports of any injuries due to the ash puff. There were also no earthquakes recorded.
But she reiterated that to assure the public’s safety, people should stay away from the permanent danger zones established on the perimeter of the volcano.
The ash puff was caused by pressure buildup which has been brewing for several years, according to Del Mundo.
She noted that the last ash puff spewed by Mayon Volcano was in 2010.