MANILA, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) on Friday lowered the alert level of Mayon Volcano in Albay province to level 2, which means the volcano is now in a "moderate level of unrest."
The downgrade came almost six months after it was raised to level 3 in a five-step warning system on June 8 due to an increased tendency towards a hazardous eruption.
"The lowering of the alert status should not be interpreted to mean that the volcano's unrest has ceased, considering that the edifice is still inflated and sulfur dioxide emission remains high relative to baseline levels," the institute said.
It also warned the people to stay vigilant and avoid the 6-km-radius permanent danger zone due to sudden explosions, rockfalls, and landslides.
The volcano's unrest affected more than 38,000 people living nearby, the regional disaster risk management authorities said.
Mayon Volcano, a popular tourist destination due to its cone shape, is the country's most active volcano, having erupted more than 50 times in the last 400 years.
The Philippine archipelago straddles the Pacific "Ring of Fire" and is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. ■