The Taal Volcano may have been releasing weaker emissions, but there has been continuous activity underground which has already altered the landscape surrounding the volcano since it first erupted on January 12, 2020.

"The island has slightly tilted while being pushed," said PHIVOLCS Director Dr. Renato Solidum. "Some portions int he northeastern side are sinking. Maybe the houses there are already under water." [via Philippine Star]

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In a bulletin dated January 21, PHIVOLCS reported that based on data from the Taal Volcano Network for the past 24 hours, there have been "448 volcanic earthquakes, including 17 low-frequency earthquakes."

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Taal's pre-eruptive baseline, or when the volcano is deemed quiet, is zero to five earthquakes a day.

"Such intense seismic activity likely signifies continuous magmatic intrution beneath the Taal edifice, which may lead to further eruptuve activity."

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While many of these earthquakes are not felt, PHIVOLCS warns residents against returning to the Taal area.

"Maraming nangyayari sa ilalim ng magmatic system," said Volcano Monitoring and Eruption Prediction Division chief Mariton Bornas during a January 21 briefing. "We record earthquakes still... The volcano is inflated. We just received processed GPS data on the ground—this is kaugnay sa satellite data—confirming na nag-i-inflate pa yong volcano. So meron pang tumutulak na magma pataas."

PHIVOLCS maintains Alert Level 4 over Taal Volcano, and reiterates total evacuation of the 14-kilometer danger zone.

Earlier, Talisay Vice Mayor Charlie Natanauan criticized the decision during a January 20 DZMM interview: "Ang plano ko as vice mayor ay ako ay humihingi ng kuwan kay Presidente Duterte na kung maaari 'yong opinyon ng PHIVOLCS ay medyo baguhin kasi masyado niyang (Solidum) pinalala ang sitwasyon ng balita." [via ABS-CBN]

Solidum responded, "I'm just commenting on the basis of observations. I think you know all the details." [via Manila Bulletin]

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Bornas shared the same sentiment during her January 21 press update: "With all due respect to the Vice Mayor, we can understand that he is under so much stress... We would like to respect 'yong feelings ni Vice Mayor.

"At the same time we are firm in our science. We are doing our best so that we can inform. We are working doubly hard so we can give them the best information."

Watch the full briefing here: 

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If you wish to help those affected by Taal's eruption, click here for a list of institutions that need volunteers and accept donations.

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