The Philippines lies along the Pacific Ring of Fire, which causes the country to have frequent seismic and volcanic activity. Many earthquakes of smaller magnitude occur very regularly due to the meeting of major tectonic plates in the region. The largest was the 1918 Celebes Sea earthquake with Mw8.3.
An intensity VI quake struck Manila on June 25, 1599. The quake had damaged many private buildings and the city and ruined the roof of Old Santo Domingo Church.
An intensity VIII quake struck Manila on January 2, 1600.
A quake struck Manila on January 16, 1601. The earthquake lasted about 7 minutes, and aftershocks were experienced the whole year.
An intensity VII quake struck the municipalities of Dulag and Palo, Leyte on December 3, 1608.
An intensity IX quake struck Manila in November 1610. It was a terrible quake that progressed from east to west.
An intensity IX quake struck Panay Island in 1620. A great number of casualties were reported in Capiz and Iloilo provinces. The earthquake changed the course of the Aklan River and damaged stone churches and their façades in Passi, Iloilo.
A magnitude 7.5 quake struck Luzon on November 30, 1645. The earthquake was then the strongest to hit the Islands since the Spanish conquest. It had greatly damaged newly constructed churches and Manila Cathedral, along with residential villas and buildings in the city and nearby provinces. Some 600 people were reported dead.
An intensity VIII quake struck Luzon on December 5, 1645. It was a major aftershock of the November 30, 1645 Luzon earthquake, and it had further destroyed remaining buildings in Manila and nearby towns. Aftershocks ceased around March 1646.
An intensity IX quake struck Southern Luzon in 1648. It was a very violent earthquake that wrecked many buildings.
An intensity VI quake struck Manila on May 1, 1653.
An intensity IX quake struck Southern Luzon on August 20, 1658. It was comparable to the 1645 Luzon earthquake, but had caused less damage on building and was less proximity from the epicenter. It had destroyed the Royal Monastery of Santa Clara, several monasteries of the Dominicans and Recollects, the Jesuit College and episcopal palaces.
A magnitude 5.5 quake struck Manila on June 19, 1665. Only a Jesuit church experienced great damage. 19 were reported dead.
An intensity VIII struck Isla Verde Passage in February 1675. The quake destroyed many buildings in northern Oriental Mindoro and southern Batangas provinces. This led to occurrences of landslides, opening of ground fissures, and subsidence of beaches along the coast of Mindoro.
An intensity VII struck Manila on August 24, 1683.
An intensity VII struck Lake Bombon (now known as Taal Lake) on September 24, 1716. It was connected with the eruption of Taal volcano; the constant volcanic activity in the area of Taal caused seismic movements.
An intensity IX struck Tayabas (now known as Quezon) in 1730. It had ruined the churches and convent in Mauban and several other churches in the province of Tayabas and Laguna.
The belfry of Manila Cathedral after the series of destructive earthquakes of July 1880.
A magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck Surigao with a Mercalli intensity of X (Extreme), causing widespread damage. Many homes in Surigao, San Francisco and Butuan were seriously damage or collapsed.
An intensity X quake struck Luzon on July 14 to 25, 1880. The quake caused severe damage to these major cities in Luzon, most significantly in Manila where a lot of buildings collapsed. Number of casualties are unknown.
Two earthquakes struck near Basilan Island near Mindanao on September 20 and 21, 1897. Both earthquakes triggered tsunamis, with the second being quite destructive, with a maximum run-up of 7.0 m. At least 13 died as a result of the second tsunami, with a hundred or more casualties also being reported.
The Mw 8.3 Celebes Sea earthquake occurred on August 15, 1918 with a maximum Mercalli intensity of X (Extreme). The offshore shock affected the southern Philippines with high intensity shaking and a destructive tsunami that left 52 people dead.
An intensity VII earthquake struck Luzon, mainly Isabela on December 29, 1949. Starting at 11:05 am, it lasted for two-and-a-half minutes. The damage was moderately destructive, causing landslides and rough waves capsizing boats, as well as fissures that spat out black water. The intensity ranged from IV to VII throughout Luzon.
A magnitude 7.6 earthquake struck Casiguran, Aurora, on August 2, 1968, at the depth of approximately 31 km (19 mi). It was considered the most severe and destructive earthquake experienced in the Philippines during the last 20 years. 270 people were reported dead and 261 were injured.
A magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck Baler, Aurora, on April 7, 1970, at 1:34 p.m. PST at the depth of approximately 25 km (16 mi). 15 people died and around 200 others were injured. The earthquake damaged or destroyed buildings especially in Manila, where a school collapsed.
The damage caused by a tsunami at Barangay Tibpuan, Lebak, Mindanao after the 7.9 Moro Gulf Earthquake on August 16, 1976.
A magnitude 8.0 earthquake struck Mindanao on August 16, 1976. The quake caused a devastating tsunami that had hit the 700 km coastline of the island of Mindanao bordering Moro Gulf in the North Celebes Sea. An estimated 5,000 – 8,000 people died. The major cause of the great number of casualties during the event could be attributed to the fact that the quake happened just after midnight when most people were sleeping; and a great tsunami was spawned, struck the coasts from different directions and caught the people unaware.
A magnitude 6.5 earthquake struck Laoag on August 17, 1983, at a depth of 42 km (26 mi). The quake has caused the deaths of 16 and injured 47 people.
A magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck Mindoro on June 20, 1988, at a depth of 16.7 km (10.4 mi). The quake has caused the deaths of 2 and injured 4 people.
A magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck Bohol on February 8, 1990. Six fatalities were reported and more than 200 were injured in the event. About 46,000 people were displaced by the event and at least 7,000 among them were rendered homeless. Estimated damage to properties is amounting to ₱154-million.
A magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Luzon on July 16, 1990. It caused severe damage to major cities in Luzon: Dagupan City (soil liquefaction), Baguio, and Cabanatuan City; Hyatt Terraces Baguio collapsed. 1,621 were reported dead. Damage to buildings, infrastructures, and properties amounted to at least ₱10-billion, a part of which was caused by ground rupturing. However, some houses within 1–2 m on either side of the ground rupture survived owing to their light-weight construction while those built of reinforced concrete within this zone suffered partial damage. Damage beyond 2m depended mainly on the structural integrity of the building and effects of local topography and ground conditions.
A magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck Mindoro on November 15, 1994 at depth of 15 km (9.3 mi). The quake caused a tsunami killed 41 people, injured 250, and destroyed 1530 houses.
A series of large earthquakes struck Samar on April 21, 1995, with four of the largest earthquakes being near magnitude 7 and the largest one registering at magnitude 7.3. The earthquakes also resulted in a small tsunami that was recorded in Legazpi, Albay. The area was hit by another earthquake of magnitude 7.0 on May 5 of the same year.
A magnitude 5.6 earthquake struck Bohol on May 27, 1996 at a depth of 4 km (2.5 mi). The earthquake did not cause major damage to properties. Damage was confined to poorly built structures and/or old wooden, masonry, limestone walls of houses and buildings, generally due to ground shaking.
From the table, some of the largest (per year) of Philippine earthquakes since 2001. Note the western cluster near the Cotabato Trench under the Moro Gulf/Celebes Sea, and the eastern cluster near the southern portion of the Philippine Trench.
As the Philippines is subject to most seismic activity, to keep this list manageable, only strong earthquakes after 2001 are prioritized (those with M < 6 are discouraged), unless the event has other noteworthy qualities such as causing fatalities, significant damage, or other notable consequences.
A magnitude 7.5 quake struck Mindanao on January 1, 2001 at a depth of 33 km.
A magnitude 6.2 quake struck Masbate on February 15, 2003 at a depth of 22 km. The quake damaged major infrastructures in Masbate.
A magnitude 6.5 quake struck Can-avid, Eastern Samar on November 18, 2003. A five-year old child died, crushed by a falling wall, while 21 others, including his mother, suffered injuries. Many structures were damaged or destroyed in various parts of the province, including a school. A landslide occurred in the town of Taft. Power outages occurred throughout Eastern Samar.
A magnitude 6.5 quake struck Nasugbu, Batangas on October 8, 2004. Although no damage was reported, power was knocked out in parts of Manila.
A magnitude 5.7 earthquake hit Sultan Kudarat on September 18, 2009. At least 91 people were injured and 76 houses, 2 commercial buildings, and a fence of a high school were damaged in the province as well in neighboring South Cotabato. In the town of Norala, two houses were totally destroyed.
A magnitude 6.6 quake struck Moro Gulf on October 4, 2009.
A magnitude 5.2 quake struck Valencia City, Bukidnon on November 8, 2011 at a depth of 1 km. 39 people were injured, and several establishments were damaged.
A magnitude 6.9 quake struck Negros, the rest of Central Visayas, and some parts of Mindanao on February 6, 2012, at a depth of 20 km. The quake killed people, caused major damage on infrastructures, and buildings. A tsunami alert level 2 was raised due to the quake. The quake also caused a landslide, burying a barangay. More than a thousand of aftershocks were recorded by PHIVOLCS within 2 days since the quake occurred. According to National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, as of February 18, 2012, the death toll have risen to 51 with 62 people still missing, and injuring 112 people. Most deaths came from the city of Guihulngan and La Libertad where landslides occurred. 63, 697 from provinces in Region VII were affected by the quake. 15, 483 houses were partially or totally damaged, and a total of ₱383-million worth of damage to buildings, roads and bridges, and other infrastructures were recorded.
A magnitude 5.9 quake struck Surigao City on March 16, 2012. Many were injured in the city for that certain day was the grand opening of Gaisano Capital Surigao. An estimated 6,000 people were in Gaisano when the earthquake happened. The earthquake caused a stampede which injured people.
A series of earthquakes, struck cities of Malaybalay and Valencia, and the sitio of Musuan, Maramag in Bukidnon last September 3–4, 2012. The first quake has a magnitude of 3.4 and was felt at 06:48 pm, and was followed by magnitude 4.0 at 07:45 pm, and 4.7 at 09:21 pm. Hours after the first three, a series of quakes occurred in 03:44 am and in 03:52 am. The first quake had a magnitude of 5.6 with a depth of focus of 3 km; while the second one was recorded at a magnitude of 4.9 with a depth focus of 3 km. The quake was felt as far as Cagayan de Oro, Kidapawan, Butuan, and Cotabato cities. A nun was injured in Barangay Lourdes in Valencia City after the incident. Valencia City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported that 144 houses and structures were destroyed. Mayor Ignacio Zubiri of Malaybalay City reported no casualties nor damage in his city. The quakes were of tectonic in origin. A total of 131 aftershocks were recorded after the 5.6 quake on September 4, 2012.
A 6.2 earthquake struck off the coast of Southern Mindanao on February 16, 2013, 28 kilometers southeast of Caburan, Davao del Sur. According to the United States Geological Survey, the quake struck at a depth of 98.2 km.
A 5.7 earthquake struck the island of Mindanao on June 1, 2013. The quake's epicenter was located in Carmen, Cotabato and struck with a depth of 5 kilometers. The said quake injured six people, 4 of them were children, and fully or partly destroyed several houses, and some school buildings. It also damaged a bridge at Barangay Kimadzil, and another one at Barangay Kibudtungan. The quake was followed by 15 aftershocks, the last one was followed by a 4.3 quake on June 2, 2013. The quake caused ₱71-million worth of damage. Another quake jolted the said town after 4:00 am on June 3, 2013. The quake was recorded at 5.7 and struck at a depth of 3 kilometers. The newest quake further injured 8 more people, and damaged more houses. Classes which was slated to open on June 3, 2013, were cancelled due to a series of quakes that hit the town since June 1, 2013.
Batangas experienced an earthquake swarm in April 2017. A magnitude 5.5 earthquake struck 5 km W of Batangas on April 4, 2017, 8:58 pm at a depth of 82 km. Twin earthquakes with magnitudes of 5.6 and 6.0 hit the barangays of Bagalangit and Tanauan, both in Mabini, Batangas respectively on April 8, 2017, 3:07 and 3:09 pm at a depth of 40.4 km. Damages on some buildings and houses have been reported. Several aftershocks followed.
A magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck 47 km S 26° W of Sarangani and Davao Occidental provinces on April 29, 2017 at 4:23 am at a depth of 57 km. Five people were injured.
A magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck off northeast of Governor Generoso, Davao Oriental on December 29, 2018 at 11:39 am at a depth of 49 km. Tsunami warnings were raised at Tsunami Level 1 and waves were expected to be less than one meter.
A magnitude of 6.6 earthquake again struck in Tulunan, Cotabato on October 29, 2019, with some reports stating that this earthquake felt much devastating as the previous earthquake that took place on October 16, 2019. Nearby towns such as those in Kidapawan, North Cotabato and Davao city were also affected.
A magnitude 6.5 earthquake struck Tulunan, Cotabato for the third time on October 31, 2019, Death toll amongst towns and cities nearby has increased; CNN Philippines reporting increased fatal casualties risen to 10 during live news broadcast. Revised body count reports 24 fatal casualties in total including the numbers from the two consecutive earthquakes that took place on October 29 and 31, with more than 500 people being injured and three reported missing.
A magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck in Kibawe, Bukidnon on November 18, 2019. Phivolcs said that the earthquake happened 9:22 pm, with the epicenter located in Kadingilan, Bukidnon. The earthquake, which was tectonic in origin, had a depth of 10 kilometers and was felt in the following areas.
A magnitude 6.6 earthquake struck off the coast of Calatagan, Batangas on July 24, 2021, at 4:49 a.m. (PhST). A 5.5 magnitude aftershock struck off the same area shortly afterward. PHIVOLCS also reported several aftershocks with magnitudes ranging from 1.7 to 3 hours later. The earthquake caused a landslide in Calatagan and damaged houses in Lubang, Occidental Mindoro.
A magnitude 6.4 earthquake hit off the coast of Lubang, Occidental Mindoro, on March 14, 2022 at 5:05 am (PhsT). The epicenter was located 110 km north of Lubang, at the depth of 29 km. At least two houses were slightly damaged after the quake.
The table below is a tally of the ten deadliest recorded earthquakes in the Philippines since the 1600s:
Ten deadliest recorded earthquakes in the Philippines since the 1600s