LOOK: M7.0 quake damages heritage structures, churches

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 27 2022 11:27 AM | Updated as of Jul 27 2022 01:26 PM

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MANILA (UPDATE) — A 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck Abra province Wednesday morning inflicted damage on heritage sites in parts of northern Luzon.

In Bantay, Ilocos Sur, the historic Bantay Bell Tower almost collapsed in the quake as shown in videos circulated on social media.

The centuries-old church belfry previously served as a watchtower for the town and for the nearby capital city of Vigan during the Spanish colonial period, protecting both areas from pirates and other enemies, according to the Department of Tourism.

Also damaged in Ilocos Sur were the Vigan Cathedral and several houses and structures in Vigan City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site for having preserved much of its Hispanic colonial character that dates back to the 16th century.

"Lord, cover us with Your precious blood," the Vigan Cathedral wrote on Facebook.

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In Ilocos Norte, the Sarrat Church, the heritage building of Sarrat Municipal Hall and the sinking bell tower in Laoag City were also damaged in the quake, according to Sen. Imee Marcos.

Meanwhile, some parts of Santa Catalina de Alejandria parish church in Tayum, Abra caved in after the strong tremor.

The shallow but powerful quake also left a trail of damage in houses and buildings in Abra.

Residents in Bangued, Abra also rushed out of their homes and office buildings in droves when the quake occurred. 

Vendors and marketgoers in the town's public market also scampered for safety.

"Ang naramdaman ko na lang po ay kaba at takot habang naluluha dahil sa pagkagulat sa mga pangyayari," Richard Santos, a vendor, told ABS-CBN News.

M7.0 quake damages heritage structures, churches 1
M7.0 quake damages heritage structures, churches 2

Vigan Cathedral in Ilocos Sur. Courtesy of Vigan Cathedral SocCom

Vigan Cathedral in Ilocos Sur. Courtesy of Vigan Cathedral SocCom

M7.0 quake damages heritage structures, churches 3
M7.0 quake damages heritage structures, churches 4
M7.0 quake damages heritage structures, churches 5

Old structure in Gov. A Reyes St, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur. Courtesy of Kervin King

Old structure in Gov. A Reyes St, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur. Courtesy of Kervin King

Old structure in Gov. A Reyes St, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur. Courtesy of Kervin King

The Philippines is regularly rocked by quakes due to its location on the Pacific "Ring of Fire," an arc of intense seismic activity that stretches from Japan through Southeast Asia and across the Pacific basin.

Wednesday's quake was the strongest recorded in the Philippines in years. 
 

In October 2013, a magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck Bohol Island in the central Philippines, killing over 200 people and triggering landslides.

Old churches in the birthplace of Catholicism in the Philippines were badly damaged. Nearly 400,000 were displaced and tens of thousands of houses were damaged. 

The powerful quake altered the island's landscape and a "ground rupture" pushed up a stretch of ground by up to three meters, creating a wall of rock above the epicenter. 

In 1990, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake in the northern Philippines created a ground rupture stretching over a hundred kilometers. 

Fatalities were estimated to reach over 1,200 and caused major damage to buildings in Manila.

The nation's volcanology and seismology institute regularly holds quake drills, simulating scenarios in the nation's active fault lines. 

During major earthquakes, the agency said people would find it difficult to stand on upper floors, trees could shake strongly, heavy objects and furniture may topple and large church bells may ring. 

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—With reports from Elaine Fulgencio-Español, Hernel Tocmo, Grace Alba, Gracie Rutao, Katrina Domingo, Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News; Agence France-Presse