Tens of thousands of people were forced to evacuate on Sunday after a small volcano near the Philippine capital erupted with a massive plume of ash and steam. The Taal Volcano in Batangas province south of Manila draws several tourists for its picturesque setting.

The eruption forced Manila's international airport to shut down as ash clouds went up to 6 to 9 miles into the sky. The volcanology institute raised the danger level around Taal three notches on Sunday to level 4, indicating "a hazardous eruption may happen within hours or days," said Renato Solidum, who heads the volcanology institute. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Taal Volcano
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Authorities evacuated more than 6,000 villagers from an island in the middle of a lake, where the volcano lies. Tens of thousands more were evacuated from nearby coastal towns, officials said.

"We have asked people in high-risk areas, including the volcano island, to evacuate now ahead of a possible hazardous eruption," Solidum said.

Tensions increased as the state-run Philippines News Agency reported that minor earthquakes have also been recorded.

This is a developing story.