My youngest brother was only a week old when the first major eruption of Mt. Pinatubo occurred. I can’t remember the exact date if it was June 12. Definitely, it was June of 1991.
I was hanging the clothes at our backyard when I noticed a big mushroom-like formation in the sky. I called my mother who was then busy attending the baby. She went outside and told me that the volcano somewhere in between Zambales and Pampanga probably had a major eruption. There were news before the major eruption that Mt. Pinatubo, considered as an inactive volcano, had signs of activation. I had no idea about volcanic eruptions then. I thought, well, that was cool!
At 10:30 AM, that mushroom-like formation rapidly conquered the skies of Bataan. It didn’t look like 10:30 AM that time…well, I thought that maybe, that was just the way it should be.
“There will be an ashfall later. Get yourself prepared,” my mother said in a still very calm voice.
I sensed that it was not normal to have a dark sky at 10:30 AM even if there’s an approaching typhoon. I sensed that that ash fall could cause harm to the people. What about my youngest brother? What about us?
1:30 PM, I received a telephone call from Shellah to inform me of the little granites that were falling along with the volcanic ash. We were neighbors so we agreed to meet outside our house to witness that “spectacular” event.
Under our umbrella, we were happily chatting as if we were in the middle of a snowy field. The ashfall was just spectacular (our sunflowers wouldn’t agree as they were the first casualties of the ashfall!)
We noticed that our neighbors were sweeping the ashfall on their roof. We didn’t do the same thing. Fortunately, our roof was strong enough to hold the weight of the ashfall.
Classes were suspended afterwards. Our sunflowers died because of chemical reaction, I guess. My skin was irritated and so were my eyes. This was not fun anymore!
A lot of people lost their livelihood. Some people lost a family member. From an innocent happy experience, I became very upset about how this volcano was affecting the lives of the people in Central Luzon.