News Release

Greater Manila, Philippines, Threatened by Volcanic Ash

Elder Cook’s ministry impacted by volcano eruption

The Taal Volcano, located about 35 miles south of Manila, Philippines, is spewing a large plume of ash, steam and rocks up to nine miles in the sky posing serious threats to residents. It is the first time in 43 years the volcano has erupted. 


Residents throughout the greater Manila, Philippines, area are preparing for risks associated with the volcanic eruption, and members and friends of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are gathering in local meetinghouses for precautionary measures. Such precaution is being taken in the cities of Lipa, Tanauan, Balayan and Agoncillo. All missionaries in the impacted area are safe and have been relocated or are staying in their homes. Government officials have issued a level 4 alert ( 5 is the highest level), meaning moderate volcanic ash is threatening the warned area. That area includes the greater Manila area, the capital city of the Philippines with a population of more than 21 million people.

Elder Quentin L. Cook, an apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, arrived Saturday with his wife, Mary, to spend a week ministering to Church members and leaders, and to meet with top religious leaders, members of the media, government officials and humanitarian partners and recipients. His scheduled participation in today’s Light the World humanitarian aid donations in the Philippines has been postponed.

Elder Cook met with prominent Manila-area interfaith leaders at a luncheon at the Philippine Area Office on Monday,, January 13, and “expressed our concern as a Church over the Taal [Volcano]. We’re concerned about everybody that’s affected and we hope that we can contribute to anything that’s necessary to bless all faiths. They have our prayers and our faith.”

Prior to the escalated threat from the volcano, Elder Cook praised the resilience of Filipinos in the face of frequent Philippine Islands disasters at a special devotional held for members and friends of the faith from the Mandaluyong-area congregations on Sunday, January 12, 2020.

He said, “I know that there are a lot of trials and hardships. The Filipinos have always faced those in such a glorious way. I was here not too long after Mount Pinatubo [1991] had blown up and almost a million people had to leave their homes. But there is something about Filipinos that even when bad things happen, they rally, and they lift their spirits and they smile and they go forward.”

He blessed them with “the assurance of the Savior’s atonement, which gives peace regardless of what we are faced with.”

Newsroom will continue to update this story.

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