Philippines Taal Volcano Spews Mega Ash Cloud - Evacuations Underway, Flights Canceled 

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) has raised the alert level on Sunday after a volcano south of the Philippine capital of Manila erupted, prompting evacuations and canceled flights, reported Reuters.

PHIVOLCS raised the alert level at Taal Volcano from Alert Level 1 to Alert Level 2 at 2:30 p.m. Sunday – then several hours later, raised the alert level to Level 3, indicating "magmatic unrest" that could destabilize the region in the coming days. The highest level is 5, and that is when a magmatic eruption is underway.

"Taal Volcano Main Crater has escalated its eruptive activity, generating an eruption plume 1 km [3,280 feet] high accompanied by volcanic tremor and felt earthquakes in Volcano Island and barangays of Agoncillo, Batanga. Ashfall is currently being showered on the southwest sector of Taal," PHIVOLCS said in a statement.

The country's National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) has already started to evacuate communities situated around the volcano. 

The eruption has already triggered a massive plume of volcano ash that is upwards of a mile high.

NDRRMC said 8,000 residents had been asked to evacuate on a Level 3. The number could significantly increase if the alert level is elevated to 4 or 5. 

All flights at Ninoy Aquino International Airport have been suspended due to the volcano ash that lingers in the atmosphere. 

Renato Soldium, PHIVOLCS officer-in-charge, told CNN Philippines that "magma is intruding from below. If eventually, this will continue to move up, then there can be a magmatic eruption which is more dangerous." 

Watch live coverage of the volcano via ABS-CBN News: