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LOOK: Harrowing Stories of the 1965 Taal Volcano Eruption

From the archives.
IMAGE Derik Cumagun
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At 2 a.m. on September 28, 1965, Taal Volcano erupted to the shock of the inhabitants of Taal Island and its surrounding areas. People rushed to escape the eruption, and an estimated 200 civilians were declared either missing or dead.

To understand the gravity of the situation, Derik Cumagun, a professor at De La Salle Lipa in Batangas, dug up a stash of newspapers from his family’s archives, and each headline is more harrowing than the last.

Some of the pages have been damaged by termites, but many are still readable. The panic of the eruption caused many newspapers to bloat the number of estimated casualties. Dated September 29, 1965, just one day after the eruption, the headlines of The Manila Times read “1,500 Die in Taal Eruption,” “A night of death in eruption’s wake,” and “Taal Volcano is a real killer.” Meanwhile, the Philippines Herald’s banner story reads “2,000 Feared Dead” followed by the subtitle “Eruptions Occur Every 5 minutes.”

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What follows is a series of bleak images captured at ground zero.

The headlines, which were published just a day after the eruption, show the panic caused by the incident. Numbers were bloated as many were not yet accounted for in the panic of the aftermath and the missing were presumed dead. The final number of casualties of the 1965 eruption is estimated to be around 200.

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However, the photographs and personal accounts can't be denied. 

“The stories and photos are vivid and grim reminders of the destructive potential of the very same volcano we are dealing with today,” said Cumagun.

The images are also a reminder that we’re not out of danger yet as Taal Volcano still remains at Alert Level 4, and everyone within the 14-kilometer radius is being ordered to evacuate.

Read the accounts of the 1965 eruption down below:

Photo by Derik Cumagun.
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Photo by Derik Cumagun.

Photo by Derik Cumagun.
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Photo by Derik Cumagun.

Photo by Derik Cumagun.
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Photo by Derik Cumagun.

Photo by Derik Cumagun.
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Photo by Derik Cumagun.

Photo by Derik Cumagun.
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Photo by Derik Cumagun.

Photo by Derik Cumagun.
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Photo by Derik Cumagun.
Photo by Derik Cumagun.

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Photo by Derik Cumagun.

Photo by Derik Cumagun.

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Photo by Derik Cumagun.

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About The Author
Anri Ichimura
Staff Writer, Esquire Philippines
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