August 01, 2020

I spent last Christmas break back home in the Philippines. Since I go to college in America, it was nice to be back home for the holidays. I spent time with friends and family I haven't seen for months, and nothing terrible happened. I was not expecting anything terrible to happen and things were good—until the day before I had to go back to the US.

On January 12, 2020, the day before my flight, a volcano erupted. Being in the Pacific Ring of Fire, the Philippines has a lot of volcanoes and they erupt sometimes, that's what volcanoes do. But this eruption was bad—people had to be evacuated and ash rained down over a large part of the island of Luzon. In my 20 years of life, I had never experienced such an eruption which led to cancelled classes, and—most importantly for me at the time—cancelled flights.

photo from https://news.abs-cbn.com/business/01/12/20/taal-ash-explosion-causes-brownouts-in-nearby-provinces

(photo from ABS-CBN News) At least it was pretty, I guess

The ash-fall was so bad that entire airports were closed due to the amount of ash on the runways. People had to wear masks when going outside because it could cause damage to the lungs (a prelude to events which were soon to come).

Stuck in my own country with no idea what to do, I was stressed. I did eventually get a flight about a day after and only missed one day of classes, but you bet I was stressed the entire 24-hour trip from my home to my dorm.

Even the check-in line at the airport was crazy because of the volcano

At least this was the only notable thing to happen in 2020 (not even close), and I did not end up stuck in the US because of flights being cancelled due to another natural disaster (I did).


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