Magnitude 5.5 quake rocks Batangas

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 04 2017 09:26 PM | Updated as of Apr 05 2017 10:25 AM

(9th UPDATE) A magnitude 5.5 earthquake jolted Batangas province and other areas on Tuesday night, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said.

The earthquake was previously recorded at magnitude 5.4 but was later upgraded to 5.5.

Its epicenter was located 7 kilometers northwest of Tingloy town, Batangas. It struck at 8:58 p.m.

The tremor was felt as Intensity 4 in Makati City and Obando, Bulacan, and Intensity 3 in Mandaluyong City, Quezon City, General Trias and Dasmariñas in Cavite, Santa Ana in Manila and in Lucena City in Quezon.

It was felt as Intensity 2 in Talisay, Batangas, and Pasig City.

Phivolcs describes Intensity 4 as "moderately strong." It can be felt like the passing of a heavy truck and can rattle wood-framed buildings, the agency said.

Intensity 3, meanwhile, is described as "weak" and may cause hanging objects to swing moderately.

The earthquake was also felt in some areas of Mindoro, Batangas, and Cavite, said Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum.

Phivolcs said no major damage was expected from the earthquake but warned of aftershocks.

At least 40 aftershocks, with magnitudes between 2.0 and 4.9, have been recorded in Batangas as of 6:41 a.m. Wednesday.

FRIGHTENED RESIDENTS, DAMAGED BUILDINGS

Evangeline Garcia, Tingloy Municipal Disaster Officer head, said residents of affected barangays went out of their houses after the earthquake.

"Nasa labas ang mga tao sa bahay, nakikiramdam at in-advise namin na maging kalmado," Garcia said.

A DZMM report said residents started returning to their homes around 3 a.m. Wednesday.

Local authorities have also started inspecting reported minor damages on several buildings, including the centuries-old Taal Basilica, whose church bell fell during the earthquake,

A photo taken by Retsie Cabrera showed debris from the old basilica scattered on the ground.

Debris from the old basilica are seen scattered on the ground in this photo from Retsie Cabrera.

The earthquake also caused cracks at the pediatric ward of the Batangas Medical Center, prompting doctors and nurses evacuate patients to tents outside the hospital.

ALLAYING TSUNAMI FEARS

State meteorologists sought to dispel fears that the earthquake may cause a tsunami.

"Ang characteristic po ng pagkilos ng fault diyan sa Batangas-Mindoro area ay horizontal. Hindi po 'yan nagpapa-angat ng tubig para mag-cause ng tsunami," Phivolcs' Solidum said.

Phivolcs research specialist Erlington Olavere added the earthquake was not powerful enough to displace water in nearby coasts.

Tuesday's powerful tremor may have been caused by a movement of the Lubang Fault, which extends from Batangas to the Mindoro islands, Olavare said.

AID FOR QUAKE-HIT RESIDENTS

Batangas Governor Hermilando Mandanas said the provincial government is ready to send help to residents affected by the quake.

"Meron tayong calamity fund na halos P200 milyon at siyempre nakahanda tayo dito sa equipment at training," he told DZMM.

Tingloy Mayor Mark Alvarez also said the residents of his town know what they should do during and after earthquakes.

"Halos taon-taon po kami nagsasagawa...last week lang po nagsagawa kami ng earthquake drill. Alam po ng mga kababayan natin, may mga trumpeta po tayo para marinig nila ang mga dapat gawin, alam po nila saan pupunta sa mga ganitong pagkakataon," he said.

The Tingloy Municipal Disaster Officer advised residents to stay calm and be prepared.

SOCIAL MEDIA BUZZ

Filipinos took to social media to post about the earthquake.

Some poked fun at how people seemed to prioritize social media posts over safety.

Others also joked about the earthquake related to the ongoing Coldplay concert at the SM Mall of Asia Concert Grounds.

The topics "earthquake" and "Batangas" trended on Twitter until Wednesday morning.