Top Ten Most Active Volcanoes in the Philippines
The Philippines, being part of the so-called “Pacific Ring of Fire”, has numerous volcanoes and there are scores of active volcanoes in the country. Here are the most active volcanoes in the Philippines.
1.) Mount Mayon – Albay
Mount Mayon, one of the most impressive Philippine landmarks, with an elevation of 2,462 meters, and is the most active volcano in the Philippines. Based on recorded history of the country, this almost perfect cone volcano in Albay erupted at least 51 times from 1616 up to present. The first recorded eruption of Mount Mayon was seen in February 1616 by Dutch explorer Joris Van Spilbergen.
One of the most remarkable and most devastating eruptions of Mount Mayon was its eruption in 1766 that erased the town of Cagsawa in the Philippine map. Only the bell tower of Cagsawa Church remained above the new surface. This 1766 volcanic eruption killed 2,200 people in Albay. Though other estimates put the death toll at 1,200 people killed. Ash was reported to be as deep as 30 feet (9 meters).
Its last eruption was in January 2014.
2.) Taal Volcano – Batangas
Taal Volcano, situated within Taal Lake, has always been known to be one of the most active volcanoes in the country and in fact tagged as the world’s most active smallest volcano. This volcano located in Batangas province had erupted 33 times from 1572 to the present.
Taal Volcano had its largest eruption in 1754 that lasted from May through December.The January 1911 eruption of the Taal Volcano is considered as one of the most devastating of the volcano’s history killing a reported 1,335 lives. This volcanic explosion was heard over 600 miles away.
Its last eruption occurred in July 2009 and is currently closely monitored for its abnormal activities which may result to another eruption of this small but very active volcano. It has an elevation of 400 meters.
There has not been an actual eruption of Taal Volcano since 1977, there are many earthquakes in the area and the volcano is off limits to the public. The main today is that there could be steam explosions.
3.) Mount Kanlaon – Negros Oriental
With an elevation of 2.435 meters, one of the most active Philippine volcanoes is Mount Kanlaon or Kanlaon Volcano. It had erupted at least 28 times already from 1886 up to present. It last major eruption happened in 1996. This August 1996 volcanic eruption trapped 24 hikers on the mountain, when the Kanlaon Volcano erupted without any warning, killing 3 of these hikers.
Kanloan Volcano last erupted in 2016. This 2016 eruption produced a thunderous boom shooting a smoke plume into the air for 1500 meters above the crater. Fireballs also shot out of the crater causing brush fires in the area
4.) Mount Bulusan – Sorsogon
This volcano with an elevation of 1,565 meters had erupted more than 20 times already from 1886 up to 2016. It has been closely monitored since its last eruption. This active volcano is located in the so-called “little Switzerland of the Philippines” – the province of Sorsogon. Mount Bulusan last erupted in December 2016, sending an ash plume over 6,500 feet, (2,000 meters) into the air. it also erupted in June of 2016, and also in 2015, and 2014. Mount Bulusan is a very active volcano.
5.) Mount Makaturing – Lanao del Sur
Not as popular as the Taal and Mayon volcanoes but Mount Makaturing, one of the ‘top ten highest mountains in the Philippines’, is also one of the most active volcanoes in the country. It has an elevation of 1,940 meters and had erupted 10 times since 1882. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology states this volcano last erupted in 1882.
6. - a) Musuan Volcano - Bukidnon
Another not-so-famous volcano is Musuan Volcano located in the province of Bukidnon. With an elevation of only 646 meters, it is one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines and had erupted 8 times in a span of 21 years from 1866 to 1887. Its last threatening activity of strong seismic swarm occurred in 1976 but has not erupted since then.
b) Mount Ragang – Lanao del Sur
Mount Ragang in Lanao del Sur, which is another tall mountain in the Philippines, is another active volcano that had erupted 8 times and tied with Musuan Volcano as the countries 6th most active volcano. Its last recorded eruption happened in 1916 or more than a century.
7. -a) Didicas Volcano - Cagayan
One of the smallest and most active volcanoes in the Philippines is Dicicas Volcano located in Cagayan province. With an elevation of 244 meters only it had already erupted 7 times from 1773 up to 1990.
b) Hibok-Hibok – Camiguin
Mount Hibok-Hibok, one of the most popular volcanoes in the Philippines, had already erupted 7 times since the recorded history of the Philippines. With an elevation of 1,552 meters, this volcano’s first recorded eruption was in 1827 and the last was in 1952. It is tied with Didicas as the 7th most active volcanoes in the Philippines.
8.) Smith Volcano - Cagayan
Mount Smith in Cagayan province with an elevation of 688 meters above sea level had erupted 6 times already and the last known eruption of this active Philippine volcano was recorded in 1924. This beautiful volcano is also known as Mount Babuyan.
9. -a) Babuyan Claro – Cagayan
Babuyan claro, an active volcano in Cagayan province, has an elevation of 1,080 meters above sea level. It erupted in 1831, 1860, 1913 and its last eruption was in 1917.
b) Mount Banahaw – Quezon
Tied at 8th place as the most active volcanoes in the Philippines is Mount Banahaw in Quezon province. It has an elevation of 2,158 meters and had erupted 4 times since 1730 up to 1909. The mountain is considered 'sacred' by the residents of the area.
10. a) Dequey – Batanes
Dequey Volcano, an underwater volcano, is located in the smallest province of the Philippines – Batanes. With an elevation of -24 meters above sea level, it has been known to have erupted 3 times - 1773, 1850 and 1854. It is considered as Philippine most active undersea volcano.
b.) Mount Parker – Cotabato
And for the last spot as the Philippines most active volcanoes is Mount Parker, an active volcano located in Cotabato. With an elevation of 1,824, its earliest known recorded eruption occurred in 1800 BCE and its last major eruption was in 1641.
Mount Pinatubo, which is located in the province of Zambales in Central Luzon, was reawakened in 1991 producing the 2nd largest eruption in the 20th century. Two milder eruptions followed in 1992 and 1993. Its last eruption prior to 1991 is unknown. It has an elevation of 1,486 meters.
In July of 1990, a large 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit the Mount Pinatubo area, which reawakened the volcano. This was first known activity in the Mount Pinatubo area for 500 years, which is how long this volcano had been quiet.
Throughout April and May 1991, molten rock started to rise inside the volcano from 20 miles down. On June 15, 1991, the volcano erupted in a huge explosion, sending an ash cloud up to 20 miles into the air. At this time there was also a typhoon in the area. Many roofs collapsed due to so much ash mixing with the rain on roofs. Eruptions of ash did continue through October 1991.
At this time, the United States had Clark Air Force Base and Subic Bay Naval Station in the area. These bases were heavily damaged and Clark Air Force base was evacuated as was Subic Bay Naval Station. Thankfully, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology and the U.S. Geological Survey had sent out warnings before this large eruption of Mount Pinatubo, which is how everyone at the bases knew to evacuate.