A PARISH councillor from Oxfordshire is stranded in the Philippines after the country’s second most active volcano erupted, grounding all international flights.

Philip Blazdell, 48, from Bicester, flew out to the country two weeks ago for a holiday with his friends in the province of Batangas in Lipa.

While on his way back to Lipa after a day spent out on Sunday, he drove past Taal Volcano - which is on an island surrounded by Taal Lake

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Once Mr Blazdell got to Lipa, which is about 57km away from the volcano, he saw it erupt with thick plumes of ash billowing into the sky and later blowing across the area.

He said: “The sound of the eruption was quite spectacular. It sounded like really loud thunder - it was electric. I saw massive plumes of ash as well as lightning and there were after-shocks from about 2am to 3am on Monday morning. It was really interesting.

“It’s crazy because we’d only been talking about hiking the volcano earlier that day.”

Mr Blazdell, who is a parish councillor at Ambrosden Parish Council and owns a consultancy business, said locals where he is staying are 'surprisingly' calm and that emergency services are doing their best to make sure everyone is safe.

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He said: “The emergency response here is very good, no one is panicking, and everyone is doing the right thing. You would think people would start panic buying, but that’s not happening here at all.”

The councillor, who grew up in South London and has lived in Bicester for 12 years, has stocked up on canned food with his friends and although he is on the edge of the safe area, an area close by has been evacuated and so it is possible that he could be evacuated soon too.

People have been advised through a public service announcement to stay indoors as there are large amounts of ash being blown across the region and that, if they do go outside, they must wear face masks – which Mr Blazdell is doing too.

He said: “I went for a 10km run this morning and I could see the thick ash. It’s on the ground, on cars, on buildings - it's everywhere - and there’s definitely a sulphuric smell in the air too.”

Mr Blazdell was due to fly home on Sunday, but all flights from Manila International Airport, which is north of the Taal Volcano, were grounded.

He said: “I'm not even trying to get to the airport. However roads are so quiet for once. I guess I will wait it out. I have a huge interest and passion for the Phillipines. It’s a beautiful part of the world.”

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So far, 13,000 villagers in Batangas province and nearby Cavite have been moved to evacuation centres and thousands more are expected in the coming days.

A lot of people, however, do not want to be moved because they do not want to leave their farms.

Following the first eruption of ash on Sunday, lava started gushing out of the volcano this morning.

There have been no reports of casualties or major damage from the eruption, however authorities have warned of a possible 'volcanic tsunami'.