The photo was taken about 3.30pm local time on 13/1, hours before airspace over Manila and surrounding areas was shut down at 7pm.
The pilot's daughter, Sydney woman Anna Mendoza, said the flight crew weren't immediately aware it was a volcano they could see.
"They weren't informed about the eruption," Ms Mendoza told 9news.com.au.
"They thought it was a massive rain cloud and only found out it was a volcanic plume when they got closer.
All departing and arriving flights were later cancelled at Manila's international airport due to volcanic ash in the air and on runways.
The blast also triggered dramatic volcanic lightning.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has raised the danger level around the volcano to Level 4, indicating "a hazardous eruption may happen within hours or days".
There have been no immediate reports of widespread damage but more than 6000 villagers were evacuated from the island in the middle of a lake where the volcano lies, about 60km south of Manila.