Life Lessons from Taal Eruption

Life Lessons from Taal Eruption

Jan 15, 2020

I know I said I will talk about some tips on how to keep your WHR (Waist to Height Ratio) this week but the current condition affecting a lot of us right now made me write about the eruption of Taal Volcano.

Taal is the second most active volcano in our country. The top eight according to volcanic activity are as follows:

1. Mayon in Albay

2. Taal in Batangas

3. Kanlaon in Negros Island

4. Bulusan in Sorsogon

5. Smith in Calayan

6. Hibok-hibok in Camiguin

7.Pinatubo in Zambales

8. Musuan in Bukidnon

Going through the above reminded me a bit about my own Social Studies lessons, and later on the Araling Panlipunan lessons of my sons when I tutored them.

When it comes to volcanic eruptions, what I really remember is the Pinatubo eruption on June 15, 1991. A lot of people were surprised to learn that Mount Pinatubo was not a mountain after all, but a volcano. It’s just that the last eruption happened 600 years ago.

When it erupted in 1991 my oldest son Martin had just turned one year old. It was the first time I experienced ashfall and it sounded out of this world because it reached as far as Singapore and other neighboring countries. In fact, the effect of Pinatubo eruption was global, reportedly decreasing global temperature by one degree.

I remember Martin and myself getting sick. I also remember his yaya writing her name on the ashfall that settled on our Toyota liftback, permanently leaving the mark there until the car was repainted. I also remember that a few years later when we started building our house, we used Pinatubo sand.

On Sunday we all saw photos of Taal volcano’s phreatic eruption being shared on social media. On Monday school and work were suspended and the public was advised to stay home, except for those in the front line of essential services.

Everyone was warned about the dangers of inhaling the ashfall that masks immediately became out of stock! There was confusion about the use of air conditioners. While some said, “Don’t use.” Others argued that it’s okay to use. Still others said, “I’d rather risk my AC unit than my family’s health.”

Lessons we can learn from Taal’s eruption:

Amidst all these, there are lessons we can learn that can be applied in the many aspects of our life:

1. Learn from history. It’s important that we look at the past and see what we can learn from it so we avoid making the same mistakes. I guess the memory of Pinatubo almost 29 years ago has made us become more vigilant about the dangers of the ashfall.

It’s interesting to note that the last major eruption of Taal was in 1977, some 43 years ago, when majority of our young population has not yet been born. In the other aspects of our life like the way we govern and choose our leaders, we are better off studying history so we do not make the same mistakes over and over again.

2. Listen to warning signs. It is always a problem to make people evacuate early as most would ignore early calls from the agencies in charge. They would wait until the last call making it more difficult for everybody, and oftentimes endangering lives. I am reminded of the call to save and invest which oftentimes fall on deaf ears during the younger years, the time when it is best to start doing this financial obligation to oneself and to society. Then a few years before retirement, most people scramble on how to prepare for old age. The same goes for health, relationships and other important aspects of life. We usually wait until the “last call” before we do the right thing, usually when it’s too late.

3. Beware of over-reaction. In instances like this, we are also prone to fall prey to wrong decisions due to availability heuristics. This is a mental shortcut studied in Behavioral Economics which is our tendency to rely on immediate examples that come to mind when evaluating something. It’s possible that real estate prices in the region may plummet because of this natural disaster. If you own a property in the beautiful Tagaytay or its nearby areas affected by the eruption, be careful not to panic-sell your property just because of what’s happening now. This is similar to panic selling a stock because of an unfavorable news that’s not going to last forever.

4. This too shall pass. This is related to no. 3. As in any calamity, we have to remember that there is an ending to it. If you’re undergoing any difficulty in life right now – be it about your career, relationship, money, etc., bear in mind that you can still do something about it. Muster your AQ (Adversity Quotient) so you can get through this difficulty instead of giving up and doing something stupid that’s regrettable and irreversible.

5. We don’t have control of everything. Even the best-planned life can still go awry. Such is life. But this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do anything anymore and just wait for fate to write the story of our life. We can and should prepare for emergencies, especially if we have dependents. Know what insurance, emergency funds we have to prepare for. Then go back to nos. 1 until 4 again. Learn from the past, listen to warning signs, do not over-react, remember that this too shall pass. And since we are aware that we don’t have control of everything, let’s all pray.

I hope you are all safe while reading this piece.



1. The biggest Financial Literacy Summit in the Philippines is finally back this April 2020 in Manila as we feature more than 30 speakers in the business and investment scene to share how we can grow our hard earned money. Register now!

2. Mom and Son Podcast – Year 2 Episode 2 (LESSONS FROM THE ASHFALL)

With the recent eruption of Taal Volcano, the entire nation is panicking. We recall the eruption of Pinatubo decades ago and analyze to see what lessons we can learn from this calamity. We share safety tips on dealing with the ash, etc.

Our prayers go out to everyone, especially those heavily affected and we pray that we stand together as a nation through these hard times.




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Originally uploaded on Anton Fausto’s YouTube Channel:

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Rose Fres Fausto is a speaker and author of bestselling books Raising Pinoy Boys and The Retelling of The Richest Man in Babylon (English and Filipino versions). Click this link to read samples – Books of FQ Mom. She is a Behavioral Economist, Certified Gallup Strengths Coach and the grand prize winner of the first Sinag Financial Literacy Digital Journalism Awards. Follow her on Facebook & YouTube as FQ Mom, and Twitter & Instagram as theFQMom. Her latest book is FQ: The Nth Intelligence.

Image Attribution:

Photos from, Wikipedia,,,,, and, John Ray Ebora, Gary Varvel, modified and used to help deliver the message of the article.