Not All Heroes Wear Capes: Civilians Come to the Rescue Following Taal Volcano Eruption

We'd like to believe this crisis is bringing out the best in people.

Despite news of opportunists jacking up prices of badly needed masks, the number of good Samaritans is outweighing the bad as hundreds are coming to the rescue of the evacuees, affected communities, and even animals—all of whom have been impacted by Taal Volcano’s ash explosion and continuing volcanic activity.

The local government units (LGU) in Batangas and parts of Laguna and Cavite are working around the clock to house and help the evacuees running from Taal’s ashfall. Meanwhile, regular citizens are going out into the streets to hand out free masks; local businesses are offering food and goods for free; and animal lovers are braving the ashy streets to rescue the pets left behind.

These compassionate men and women are proof that not all heroes wear capes. Some happen to be your neighbor.

In GMA, Cavite, just 30 kilometers from Taal Volcano, while unscrupulous characters were selling masks at jacked up prices, this man was handing them out for free.


This man stood on a roof to hose down the ashy window shields of random vehicles driving by. He not only cleaned their cars but saved them from potential accidents.

In Bauan, Batangas, this Batangueño’s family eatery is offering free food and drinks to evacuees, many of whom left their homes with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

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This convoy of Angkas drivers came down all the way from Metro Manila to Silang, Cavite, where ash has covered entire towns. The Angkas drivers are giving out free masks to anyone asking for them.

In Manila, this disabled man was giving away free face masks to passengers and motorists driving by to protect them from Taal’s ashfall.


This woman was determined not to leave her pets behind as she was evacuating from the towns surrounding Taal. An undetermined numbers of pets and strays were left behind in the rush to evacuate.

This dog lover went on a mission, using his own funds and that of donors, to go to the most affected areas, like Talisay and Laurel, to rescue as many animals as he can. Netizens are also helping his mission by guiding him to animal shelters in Batangas and sending money to buy animal food and water.


This private company is prepping and donating hundreds of bags of food and tanks of water for the evacuees. This is just the first batch of their donation.

Another private company is stepping up. Uratex donated countless foam mats so evacuees don’t have to sleep on concrete during their stay in an evacuation center in Lipa City, Batangas.


This woman’s mother didn’t know how she could help until she realized she could put her skills to good use by sewing reusable face masks for people in need.

A group of civilians joined forces to rescue abandoned animals in one of the worst hit areas in Batangas—Talisay.


Batangas residents returned to Taal to rescue the horses left on the island. The horses were often used to guide tourists to the top of the crater, but many were left behind as they couldn’t ride on the small boats.

And perhaps the most moving moment of humanity in this entire fiasco is this: How the Kapampangan people are “paying back” for all the relief they received when Mt. Pinatubo erupted in 1991. According to the Governor of Pampanga, Dela Pineda, the provincial government is sending a 50-vehicle convoy with medical teams, social workers, and search and rescue personnel with 8,500 food packs.


We hope these stories of humanity will also encourage you to help in whatever way you can.

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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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