MANILA: The threat of a volcano eruption did not stop a couple from getting married near Taal island, the Philippines on Sunday (Jan 12).
Photographer Randolf Evan told CNA that he was taking photos of the preparations at about 2pm when the wedding party started noticing unusual activity from the Taal volcano.
The volcano was 20km away from Savanna Farm by Solange in the town of Alfonso, Cavite, where couple Chino Vaflor and Kat Palomar were set to get married.
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“We pushed through, thinking it might not escalate, but made sure to monitor what was happening via social media,” said the 30-year-old Mr Evan, who has been a professional wedding photographer for eight years.
The team also conducted discreet discussions on what to do in case of a worst-case scenario, but the ceremony went on as planned, said Mr Evan.
In one of the photos he shared on Facebook, thick clouds of ash could be seen in the background as the couple smiled at each other. Another photo showed their wedding reception in full swing as lightning flashed overhead.
The Taal volcano island is situated in the middle of a picturesque lake about 70km south of central Manila. Typically a picture of beauty and serenity, it is a popular spot for tourists.
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But on Sunday, the volcano belched clouds of ash into the sky, sending the particles raining onto nearby towns and even across the Philippine capital.
Thousands were forced to evacuate their homes as seismologists warned an eruption could happen at any time, potentially triggering a tsunami.
Mr Evan said he initially thought they were “pretty safe” from volcanic activity – save for a “light rain of ash” – as Savanna Farm was located on elevated ground.
Ms Palomar and Mr Vaflor managed to exchange vows, have their first dance and give speeches, said the photographer.
The reception was halted as the ash fall became “heavier and mud-like”.
The couple had opted for an intimate wedding and most of the guests, made up of family and close friends, stayed until the end.
“Their wedding was eight years and two kids in the making, so we understood how special this day must have been,” said Mr Evan.
“It was a truly memorable wedding for us.”