Are you preparing for “The Big One”?

For those not yet aware of what ‘The Big One” is. then it is high time to know because it can spell a big difference in our lives – of being safe or not when the ground shakes and the earthquake comes at the least expected time.

According to the Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (DOST-PHIVOLCS), the Big One or an earthquake with a magnitude of no less than 7.2 in the Richter scale may be experienced in our lifetime. Also, there are specific locations that are considered most vulnerable to said earthquake because of their proximity the so-called West Valley Fault. 

The West Valley Fault system is an imaginary line marking the area where the different fault systems are located underground and are actively moving from where a big earthquake may originate. 

The VFS is an active fault system composed of two fault segments: the 10-km long East Valley Fault (EVF) in Rizal and the 100 km long West Valley Fault (WVF) that runs through different cities and towns of Bulacan, Rizal, Metro Manila, Cavite, and Laguna. The WVF can generate a large earthquake with a magnitude of 7.2 or commonly known as “The Big One” which poses threat to people, livelihood, buildings and infrastructures.

DOST-PHIVOLCS studies and researches on these fault system resulted in a collection of maps called the Valley Fault System (VFS) Atlas. This is a printed  handbook of large scale maps showing in detail areas traversed by the Valley Fault System.

The good news is that the atlas can now be downloaded from the website of DOST-PHIVOLCS for easier access. The download is for free.

“The VFS Atlas, a tedious work done by our geologists from DOST-PHIVOLCS, was launched and distributed to local government officials on May 18, 2015. It shows areas traversed by the Valley Fault System. Since information on geological hazards is very important for disaster planning, we have been giving free copies of the VFS Atlas in CD form to different stakeholders upon request at the DOST-PHIVOLCS Main Office,” according to DOST Secretary Mario G. Montejo.

Montejo further said that the VFS Atlas may now be downloaded from DOST-PHIVOLCS’ website at  As of December 2015, DOST-PHIVOLCS counted 99,609 registered downloads. PHIVOLCS has likewise given out 1,506 soft copies. Through these media, the DOST-PHIVOLCS is able to disseminate the information to as many people and generate awareness for the need to prepare.

Dr. Renato U. Solidum, Jr., director of DOST-PHIVOLCS, says that the “key to people’s awareness and preparedness for earthquakes, appropriate land use, contingency planning for disaster response, and design of houses, buildings and infrastructures, is the location of active faults. The Valley Fault System Atlas was conceptualized as a handy reference for everyone to serve as a guide in making sure that areas traversed by active faults are avoided as sites of houses and structures and considered in various mitigation and response actions to enhance the safety and resilience of communities to strong earthquake events.”

The VFS Atlas will serve as a tool for disaster preparedness and management, an advocacy espoused by the DOST and its warning agencies to make communities safer in times of calamities. This initiative by DOST-PHIVOLCS strengthens the efforts of the department to make information readily available to all to help communities prepare in advance.

“The VFS Atlas will be our guide to making our communities safe and secure from the possible negative effects of an earthquake; by making our people aware of the hazards they can plan and implement preparedness programs like earthquake drills and retrofitting their houses. In so doing the DOST-PHIVOLCS is empowering our communities and our people to embrace a culture of safety because we cannot stop natural hazards from coming but we can definitely prepare to avert disasters from happening,” concluded Montejo. 

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