JUST A THOUGHT: Let’s live each day like the finest bamboo, bending when winds are strong but not breaking, trusting that God is with us all the time.

Volcanoes are among the most revered but also among the most feared creations of nature.

Mount Mayon in Albay province, crowned by a perfect cone, is a layman and photographer’s delight.

Taal Volcano in Batangas is another. Closer to Manila, it is considered the country’s second most active volcano.

It is also among the world’s smallest.

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RESTIVE TAAL VOLCANO – Smoke billows from the crater of Taal Volcano, as the active volcano’s alert level was raised from 1 to 4 by Phivolcs staff Sunday afternoon (Photo Jansen Romero/Manila Bulletin)

Last Sunday, Taal proved she’s indeed true to what people say about her. Taal is small but terrible.

Almost without warning, Mount Taal erupted, blowing tons of ash fall everywhere to as far as Central Luzon.

Taal Volcano has recorded some of its most hazardous eruptions in the past.

These were observed in 1977, 1965, 1911, and 1754.

For all its romantic yet mysterious image — the volcano sits on a giant lake spanning several towns in Batangas — it’s surprising that Mount Taal hasn’t been used as backdrop of a movie story about volcanic eruption.

I can’t remember a Filipino movie mining any of Taal’s major eruptions as setting when these have spawned so many stories of tears and drama.

Friends from Taal tell me how they lost relatives fleeing from Volcano island during the 1965 eruption. Their uncles and cousins were riding boats that capsized when giant rocks, hot as burning coal, fell on them as they tried to escape to the mainland, causing their death.

Taal Lake itself is associated with myth and folklore. It is said to claim lives every year, residents swear.

I do remember a local film about a volcano erupting that intrigued me as a youth faithfully watching movie reruns on afternoon TV.

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Back in the ’60s and ’70s, TV networks would run old Filipino films sourced from the Big Three production houses: Sampaguita, LVN, and Premiere.

It was called “Anak Ng Bulkan,” produced by Premiere Productions in 1959. The movie starred Fernando Poe Jr. and Edna Luna.

“Anak Ng Bulkan,” set in a remote volcanic island, tells of the friendship between a boy and a giant bird named Goliat. The bird, designed like a fire-spitting dragon, emerged from the erupting volcano, only to sow fear among the barrio folk.

The boy was played by then seven-year old Ace York, who in his adult years took on the screen name, Ace Vergel, the action-drama star of the ’70s and ’80s. His tormentor in that film was ace character actor Bruno Punzalan.

“Anak Ng Bulkan,” presented as an epic-adventure movie, was directed by Emmanuel Rojas, based on a komiks serial in Liwayway magazine by Jose Domingo Karasig.

When family members of the Santiago clan tried to revive Premiere Productions in the ’90s, they picked one film from their vaults to remake.

It was “Anak Ng Bulkan,” all over again, inspired by more or less the same story, updated to suit modern times.
Directed by Cirio Santiago, the film starred Tom Taus as the boy, Amy Austria, Bembol Roco, Lloyd Samartino, and Beth Tamayo cast as TV reporter.

Tom has grown to become a musician and club jockey.

Hollywood has had more experience with disaster movies, a constant in its repertoire of box office-hit bound films.

Some of the city’s celebrated volcano-inspired films are “The Last Days Of Pompeii,” which actually had three versions – in 1913, 1935, and 1959.

It tells the story of class struggle when volcanic mayhem leads to the destruction of evil Romans.

“Krakatoa, East Of Java”(1969) is based on a true story of a disastrous eruption in Southeast Asia.

“When Time Ran Out”(1980), starring Paul Newman, is based on the 1902 eruption of Pelée.

“Dante’s Peak”(1997) had Pierce Brosnan as a geologist checking out the rumbling going on at a volcano called Dante’s Peak. The film also stars Linda Hamilton.

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