MANILA: A 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck in the ocean off the coast of the eastern Philippines on Tuesday, the US Geological Survey said, with local authorities warning of aftershocks and possible damage.
The shallow quake hit around 9:00 pm (1300 GMT) about 120 kilometres (74 miles) from Catanduanes Island, off the main island of Luzon, the USGS said.
Shallow quakes tend to cause more damage than deeper ones, but so far there have been no immediate reports of damage on Catanduanes.
“It wasn’t that strong to generate damage,” said Prince Obo, a disaster officer in Gigmoto municipality.
Obo said he was at home when the quake struck. He waited until the building stopped shaking before joining his neighbours outside.
“I have action figures in my cabinet which moved, but they didn’t fall,” he told AFP.
Quakes are a regular occurrence in the Philippines, which sits along the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, an arc of intense seismic and volcanic activity that stretches from Japan through Southeast Asia and across the Pacific basin.
Most of the earthquakes are too weak to be felt by humans, but strong and destructive ones come at random with no technology available to predict when and where they will happen.
The nation’s civil defence office regularly holds drills simulating earthquakes along active fault lines.
The last major quake was in the northern Philippines in October.
The 6.4-magnitude earthquake hit the mountain town of Dolores in Abra province, injuring several people, damaging buildings and cutting power to most of the region.
A 7.0-magnitude quake in mountainous Abra last July triggered landslides and ground fissures, killing 11 people.