10 Most Active Volcanoes in the Philippines

A volcano is an opening in a planet or moon’s crust through which molten rock, hot gases, and other materials erupt. Volcanoes often form a hill or mountain as layers of rock and ash build up from repeated eruptions. Active volcanoes have a recent history of eruptions; they are likely to erupt again. Some volcanic eruptions are explosive, while others occur as a slow lava flow. Volcanic eruptions can create colorful and dramatic displays. Now, let’s know the 10 Most Active Volcanoes in the Philippines.

  1. Mayon in Albay

Considered to be one of the most beautiful volcanoes in the world because of its almost perfect conical shape, Mt. Mayon is also the most active volcano in the Philippines. It is located in the province of Albay in the Bicol region.

Mayon has erupted at least 47 times in the last 500 years, the one in 1814 being the most destructive. The eruption buried the town of Cagsawa, leaving over a thousand people dead. The church tower in most photos of Mt. Mayon is a reminder of the catastrophic event.

  1. Taal in Batangas

Known as a volcano island inside a lake in a bigger volcano, Taal is definitely the most interesting volcano in the Philippines. It is also the deadliest. It is located in Batangas, just hours from Manila. Taal is a breathtaking attraction viewed from Tagaytay. Trekking along the volcano was also a popular activity.

Taal has erupted at least 34 times; its latest was in early 2022. The recent eruptions were destructive, affecting the entire region, Metro Manila, parts of Central Luzon, and even as far as Pangasinan in Ilocos. The towns have since recovered from the effects of the eruptions and but a number of people lost their lives because they refused to evacuate.

The eruptions expelled most of the water out of the main crater’s lake but quickly reformed when the rainy season began. Taal volcano remains to be a beautiful natural attraction with plenty of hotels, cafes, and restaurants surrounding it.

  1. Mt. Kanlaon

The third most active volcano in the Philippines is Mt. Kanlaon in Negros Oriental. It has erupted at least 30 times but most of them have only been mild. It only spewed lava during its eruption in 1904.

There have been activities recorded for Mt. Kanlaon in recent years including volcanic earthquakes and mild eruptions involving ash columns and loud booming sounds. None of these eruptions were destructive.

Mt. Kanlaon is the highest point in the Visayas with an elevation of about 8000 feet above sea level. It is an extremely popular destination for mountain climbers and relaxation seekers. Hot springs around the volcano like Mambucal, Bucalan, and Bungol are just a three-hour scenic drive from Bacolod City.

  1. Mt. Bulusan

Mayon’s southern neighbor, Mt. Bulusan, is also an active volcano. It is located in Sorsogon, a coastal province on the southernmost tip of Luzon island.

Although it is the fourth most active volcano in the Philippines with at least 15 recorded eruptions, these have only been mild. Locals are used to ash explosions from the volcano which can last for years. Bulusan’s worst eruption involving lava flows and landslides lasted from 1918 to 1922.

Mt. Bulusan has four craters and several hot springs that draw tourists in. Hiking is also very popular as the trail provides commanding views of the sea and surrounding area. A sea of clouds also envelope the volcano on some days.

  1. Smith in Calayan

Smith Volcano, also known as Mount Babuyan, is a cinder cone on Babuyan Island, the northernmost of the Babuyan group of islands on Luzon Strait, north of the main island of Luzon in the Philippines. The mountain is one of the active volcanoes in the Philippines, which last erupted in 1924.

The volcano is politically located in the Municipality of Calayan, Cagayan province, the town that has jurisdiction over the Babuyan Islands except Fuga Island.

  1. Hibok‑Hibok in Camiguin

Rising 1,332 meters above sea level, Mount Hibok-Hibok – also known as Catarman Volcano – is the most active of at least 14 volcanoes found in the Philippines’ second-smallest province of Camiguin. No wonder the province is dubbed the “Island Born of Fire”!

The volcano’s name is derived from the Kamigin word that means “to heave” in reference to the mountain’s restless nature. Mt. Hibok-Hibok erupted five times in recorded history, most notably from 1871 to 1875, which formed the volcanic cone Mt. Vulcan and destroyed Catarman town, leaving behind the Sunken Cemetery and Gui-ob Church Ruins – now famous tourist landmarks on the island.

The latest eruptions were from 1948 to 1952, which killed more than 3,000 people and prompted the establishment of the Commission on Volcanology (COMVOL), predecessor of Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS).

  1. Pinatubo in Zambales

Mount Pinatubo is an active volcano located on the island of Luzon in the Philippines, at the intersection of the borders of the provinces of Zambales, Tarlac, and Pampanga. Before 1991, the mountain was inconspicuous and heavily eroded. It was covered in dense forest which supported a population of several thousand indigenous people, the Aeta, who had fled to the mountains from the lowlands when the Spanish conquered the Philippines in 1565.

The volcano’s eruption in June 1991 came after 500 years of dormancy, and produced one of the largest and most violent eruptions of the 20th century. Successful predictions of the onset of the climactic eruption led to the evacuation of tens of thousands of people from the surrounding areas, saving many lives, but as the surrounding areas were severely damaged by pyroclastic flows, ash deposits, and later, lahars caused by rainwater remobilising earlier volcanic deposits, thousands of houses were destroyed.

  1. Musuan in Bukidnon

Considered by many as an ordinary mountain or hill (not a volcano) in Bukidnon is the Musuan Peak. This is where many students of the nearby Central Mindanao University visit more often for research and relaxation. Musuan Peak is also known as Mount Musuan or Mount Calayo which literally means “Mountain of Fire”. Not known by many, Musuan Peak is an active volcano in the island of Mindanao, the second largest island, in the Philippines. It is about 26 kilometers south of Malaybalay, the main city of the province of Bukidnon, about 5 kilometers south of the City of Valencia. It is one of the active volcanoes in the Philippines, which all belong in the Pacific ring of fire.

Musuan Peak is a lava dome and a tuff (hard volcanic rock composed of compacted volcanic ash) dome. It has an elevation of 646 meters above sea level and has a base diameter of 3 kilometers. According to Phivolcs (Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology), Mount Musuan has erupted in 1866 and 1867. A strong seismic (subject to or caused by an earthquake or earth vibration) swarm occurred near Musuan in 1976.

  1. Mount Isarog in Camarines Sur

Mount Isarog is an active stratovolcano located in the province of Camarines Sur, Philippines, on the island of Luzon. The mountain has active fumaroles and hot springs. It has an elevation of 2,011.6 m (6,600 ft) above mean sea level.

The broad isthmus between Lagonoy Gulf and San Miguel Bay is occupied by the isolated Mount Isarog volcano.

The volcano has a 2,500 m (8202 ft) crater that is breached to the east along a narrow valley drained by the Cabongaan water stream. A major debris avalanche deposit extends northwest to the coast and into San Miguel Bay.

  1. Mount Matutum

Mount Matutum is an active stratovolcano, is the highest point in the province of South Cotabato in the Philippines, with an elevation of 7,500 feet (2,286 metres) above sea level, approximately 5.7 kilometres (3.5 mi) from Acmonan, Tupi, South Cotabato. Matutum and its foothills are predominantly inhabited by indigenous Blaan families. 

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