Mayon volcano spews ash as lava cascades down its slopes during an ash explosion in Legazpi city, 500 km (310 miles) south of Manila December 18, 2009. Soldiers and police will forcibly evacuate thousands of residents who refused to leave their farms near the Mayon volcano in Albay province, government officials said on Thursday. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
MANILA, Dec. 18 (Xinhua) -- The most active volcano in the Philippines grew more restless on Friday, spewing ashes and lava as authorities started to forcily move out thousands of local villagers who were reluctant to leave their farms at harvest.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology reported that Mayon volcano, which is located in eastern Albay province or about 360 kilometers southeast of Manila, was rocked by 248 quakes in the past 48 hours. Fifty were classified as the "explosive" type.
The institute said these explosions produced dark gray to dark brown ash columns that reached a maximum height of up to 1000m above the 2,460-meter-high summit.
It said the advancing lava flow has reached approximately 3 kilometers downslope from the crater while incandescent fragments from the lava pile continuously roll down reaching about 3-4 kilometers downslope.
In Albay, the local government has evacuated 35,000 residents but are trying to move out thousands of others who refused to leave at the first place. Governor Jose Salceda has imposed a curfew in the area. No one was allowed to enter the "dangerous zone" in a radius of eight-kilometer around the volcano.
The volcano was placed under two stages below the level of hazarous eruption earlier this week.
"So we are all pretty ready for whatever might happen. I am not sure we can do anything more than what's already been done in terms of preparing ourselves, getting people out of harms way and prepositioning relief assets in the worst cases," Deputy presidential spokesman Gary Olivar told reporters Friday.
The perfect cone-shaped volcano, a tourist spot, has erupted 48 times, killings at least thousands. Its latest eruption was in 2006 but no one was killed.