World

Wedding goes on despite Taal volcano eruption

CAVITE, THE PHILIPPINES: In what has made for dramatic shots that have since gone viral on social media, Filipino couple Chino and Kat Palomar exchanged vows in Cavite province on Sunday under a cloud of smoke and ash from Taal, one of the world's smallest active volcanoes.

"The mood was surprisingly calm despite the large billows of smoke that were already prominently visible in the ceremony area," said Mr Randolf Evan, the wedding photographer.

He said the volcano began erupting an hour or two before the wedding, and ash began to fall on the party towards the end of the ceremony.

Social media users responded with amazement to the shots of the bride and groom and their party in a white canvas tent lit with fairy lights under billowing clouds streaked by lightning.

"Kudos to the wedding planner," one jokey comment said.

TREMBLE

The volcano trembled constantly yesterday, possibly portending a bigger and more dangerous eruption, as tens of thousands of people fled villages darkened and blanketed by ash.

More than 24,000 people have been forced to evacuate their homes from Luzon, the volcanic island on which Taal is located south of central Manila, and in the area around it - normally a popular tourist spot.

Government work was suspended and schools were closed in a number of towns and cities, including Manila, because of the health risks from the ash.

The continuous restiveness of the Taal volcano and several new fissures cracking the ground nearby likely means magma is rising and may lead to further eruptive activity, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said.

The volcano was spurting fountains of lava 800m into the sky, and the massive column of ash and volcanic debris at times lit up with streaks of lightning.

The alert level since the eruption began on Sunday has been 4, indicating a hazardous eruption is possible in hours to days. Level 5, the highest, means such an eruption is under way.

At least 10 flights between Singapore and Manila were cancelled or rescheduled, a check with Changi Airport's website showed. Several airlines - including Scoot, Jetstar Asia, Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific Air - were affected, The Straits Times reported.

This is despite flight operations at Manila's airport having partially resumed on Monday.

While SIA was among the carriers with affected flights on Monday, it said it had no flight disruptions yesterday.

WORLD