'Night of death': Newspaper clip details horrors of Taal's 1965 explosion

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 20 2020 05:33 PM | Updated as of Jan 20 2020 10:54 PM

MANILA — On a "night of death" almost 55 years ago, an eruption of Taal Volcano buried parts of Batangas province under tons of ash and red-hot rocks, and supposedly claimed some 1,500 lives, according to a newspaper report of the disaster.
 
An entire barrio of the province's San Nicolas town was wiped off the map, while 10 other villages were destroyed when Taal exploded before dawn of Sept. 29, 1965, the Manila Times reported that day.

"Most of those who perished were believe trapped by onrushing lava and crushed by huge boulders," read Jose Burgos Jr. and Hoover Domine's banner story.

This photo from social media shows a page from the Manila Times' Sept. 29, 1965 issue. Courtesy of Derik Cumagun

In another article titled, "A night of death in eruption's wake", a resident of Agoncillo town shared his account of the "nightmarish 75-minute interlude of terror he experienced as Taal volcano sent balls of fire into the sky."

"My ears split as two horrible thunderous sounds broke the night. As the skies flashed with blinding brightness, I thought the world was ending," Placido Matienza was quoted by Burgos and Domine to have said.

This photo from social media shows a page from the Manila Times' Sept. 29, 1965 issue. Courtesy of Derik Cumagun

This photo from social media shows a page from the Manila Times' Sept. 29, 1965 issue. Courtesy of Derik Cumagun

This photo from social media shows a page from the Manila Times' Sept. 29, 1965 issue. Courtesy of Derik Cumagun

This photo from social media shows a page from the Manila Times' Sept. 29, 1965 issue. Courtesy of Derik Cumagun

This photo from social media shows a page from the Manila Times' Sept. 29, 1965 issue. Courtesy of Derik Cumagun

This photo from social media shows a page from the Manila Times' Sept. 29, 1965 issue. Courtesy of Derik Cumagun

This photo from social media shows a page from the Manila Times' Sept. 29, 1965 issue. Courtesy of Derik Cumagun

This photo from social media shows a page from the Manila Times' Sept. 29, 1965 issue. Courtesy of Derik Cumagun

This photo from social media shows a page from the Manila Times' Sept. 29, 1965 issue. Courtesy of Derik Cumagun

This photo from social media shows a page from the Manila Times' Sept. 29, 1965 issue. Courtesy of Derik Cumagun

The newspaper clipping was preserved in the family chest of Lipa City resident Derik Cumagun, who shared it with ABS-CBN News.

The yellowed and tattered pages survived "almost six decades of humidity, three house moves, at least one flooding, and termites," Cumagun said in a Facebook post.

Taal Volcano exploded anew on Jan. 12, belching an ash cloud that affected the capital Manila, displacing more than 112,000 people, and leaving at least P3.2 billion in damage to crops and livestock.

The volcano remains under Alert Level 4, the second-highest in a 5-step warning system, meaning a "hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days," the state seismology agency said.

In his Facebook post, Cumagun said, "The stories and photos within are vivid and grim reminders of the destructive potential of the very same volcano we are dealing with today."

He notes that while authorities now place the death toll of the 1965 eruption only at 200, "the stories themselves, however, are undeniable statements."

With a report from April Rose Magpantay, ABS-CBN News