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Magnitude 7 quake jolts Abra, felt in NCR, other areas

A magnitude 7 earthquake jolted Abra on Wednesday morning and was felt in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), the quake (earlier reported as magnitude 7.3) occurred at 8:43 a.m. and was located at 17.64°N, 120.63°E - 003 km N 45° W of Tayum in Abra. It had a depth of 17 kilometers.

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. will fly to Abra immediately "as soon as the all clear is given," Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said at a press briefing.

National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) spokesperson Mark Timbal said a construction worker was reportedly killed in La Trinidad, Benguet, due to fallen debris, but this is still being verified.

Intensity felt

The quake, which was tectonic in origin, was felt at the following intensities:

  • Intensity VII - Bucloc and Manabo, Abra
  • Intensity VI - Vigan City, Sinait, Bantay, San Esteban, Ilocos Sur; Laoac, Pangasinan; Baguio City;
  • Intensity V - Magsingal and San Juan, Ilocos Sur, Alaminos City and Labrador, Pangasinan; Bambang, Nueva Vizcaya; Mexico, Pampanga; Concepcion, and Tarlac City, Tarlac; City of Manila; City of Malabon;
  • Intensity IV - City of Marikina; Quezon City; City of Pasig; City of Valenzuela; City of Tabuk, Kalinga; Bautista and Malasiqui, Pangasinan; Bayombong and Diadi, Nueva Vizcaya; Guiguinto, Obando, and San Rafael, Bulacan; San Mateo, Rizal
  • Intensity III - Bolinao, Pangasinan; Bulakan, Bulacan; Tanay, Rizal
  • Intensity II - General Trias City, Cavite; Santa Rosa City, Laguna

Damage and aftershocks are expected due to the earthquake, PHIVOLCS said.



Magnitude 5.4 in Bucay town

At 3:38 p.m., PHIVOLCS recorded another earthquake in Abra province, this time in Bucay town which registered a 5.4 magnitude.

PHIVOLCS said the tectonic quake has a depth of focus of 10 kilometers. Its epicenter was located at 4 km South 78° West of Bucay (Abra)

Intensity IV was monitored in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur while Intensity II was felt in Sinait, Ilocos Sur and Laoag City, Ilocos Norte. Intensity I, meanwhile, was reported in Baguio City, Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte and in the municipalities of Gonzaga and Penablanca in Cagayan.

Intensity IV was recorded in the municipalities of Cagwait, Bayabas and San Agustin while Intensity III was felt in Bislig City and Hinatuan in Surigao del Sur and in Rosario, Agusan del Sur.

No aftershocks and damage are expected due to the tremor, the agency added.

Intensity VIII?

Meanwhile, PHIVOLCS chief Renato Solidum said some areas "most likely" felt Intensity VIII.

"[Intensity] VII pa lang ang confirmed... tinitignan natin, most likely, ay puwede magkaroon diyan ng Intensity VIII," Solidum told Super Radyo dzBB in a separate interview.

He also said that individuals in areas who felt Intensity V may already return to their workplaces or homes.

"Yung Intensity V... puwede silang bumalik na kung wala naman talagang damage na nakita," he said.

Damage reported

Interviewed on Super Radyo dzBB, Mayor Joseph Bernos of La Paz, Abra, said he has received reports of damaged buildings in the province, including churches.

"Sobra mga damages sa Abra," he said.

In a statement, Abra Representative Ching Bernos said the quake "caused damages to many households and establishments" in the province.


"We are monitoring the situation on the ground and gathering information on the extent of the damage to the province," she said.

In Dolores, Abra, which also felt the full force of the quake, terrified people ran outside their buildings and windows of the local market were shattered, Police Major Edwin Sergio told Agence France Presse.

"The quake was very strong," Sergio said, adding there were minor cracks in the police station building.

Senator Imee Marcos said several heritage sites and main roads in Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur were damaged after the strong earthquake.

"Mga antique bell towers ng Bantay [Ilocos Sur] at Laoag nasira, pati Sarrat [at iba pa]. Heritage houses sira, iba natumba," Marcos, former Ilocos Norte governor, said in a text message to reporters.

"Ganun din [infrastructure] roads [including] Kennon, Paraiso Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte- Apayao, pati electrical transformers, lines, etc. kaya may brown out na," she added.

In a virtual interview, Marcos said roads going to nearby provinces such as Kalinga and Cagayan provinces are also affected.

In a separate Super Radyo dzBB interview, Jeric Venus of the Abra Provincial Police Office said some buildings sustained cracks while some houses were damaged.

"'Yung mga building namin merong mga cracks. Tapos 'yung lugar, karamihan may gumuho na bahay [Some of our buildings have cracks. Then most of the houses were damaged]," said Venus, citing photos posted on Facebook.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) said it is coordinating with frontline government agencies in responding to quake-hit areas.

"As of now, our priority is to respond to various reports regarding those individuals who are affected by the effects of the strong quake," said Police Colonel Jean Fajardo, PNP spokesperson, in a statement.

"Coordination is also being made with other frontline government agencies and responders who are on top of the situation."

Trains stopped

In Metro Manila, operations of the Metro Rail Transit-Line 3 and Light Rail Transit Lines 1 and 2 were temporarily halted on Wednesday morning, after the earthquake was felt in Metro Manila.

The Philippine National Railways also said its trips for Metro North and Metro South Commuter Service will be temporarily suspended until their Engineering Departments certifies that the tracks are safe. 

Other effects

In Baguio City, Mayor Benjamin Magalong suspended work and classes in public and private sectors following the earthquake.

The Public Information Office of Baguio City said no damage or fatality has been reported so far in the area.

In Benguet, the Andres Acop Cosalan Road in Poblacion, Bokod, was temporarily not passable due to heavy landslide caused by the quake.

"Likewise,  power interruption, poor internet connection and poor cellular phone network is being experienced," according to the provincial office.

Meanwhile, there were no reported damage in Regions 2, 3, 4A, 4B and Metro Manila, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

Power transmission services

For its part, the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) said its services remain up and running despite the strong earthquake.

"Power transmission services of NGCP remain normal despite the 7.3 magnitude earthquake which occurred in Lagangilang, Abra at 8:43 a.m. today, 27 July 2022," the NGCP said.

"The Luzon Grid remains intact, but we monitored a rise in frequency, which indicates load tripping," it said.

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. 

On July 16, 1990, a magnitude 7.7 hit Luzon, leaving over 2,000 people dead. Baguio City suffered the most damage. 

The 'Big One'

In a separate press conference, Solidum also clarified that each area has its own earthquake scenario or the "Big One" amid concerns and fear from the public.

He said the "Big One" refers to a strong earthquake that may affect a large number of people by causing damage or fatalities.

"Marami tayong earthquake scenario sa paligid. 'Yung the 'Big One' sa Abra isa na rin 'yun sa paggalaw ng Abra River Fault. 'Yung 'Big One' sa Mindanao, Visayas, iba din," he said.

"Importante po na malaman natin, ng ating mag kababayan, ng local government, na ang bawat lugar ay may kanya-kanyang earthquake scenario," he added.

Meanwhile, Solidum said the most recent earthquake is the second strongest land earthquake following the magnitude 7.2 quake that hit Bohol in 2013.

"Ang last na malakas na damaging earthquake, may kaunti sa Masbate nu'ng August 2020. So kung on land na malakas, ito po talaga 'yung sunod sa Bohol earthquake, 'no? The magnitude 7.0 na nasa lupa," Solidum said.  with Sundy Locus/ Agence France-Presse/KBK/KG/RSJ, GMA News