MANILA: A strong earthquake set off landslides and damaged buildings in the northern Philippines on Wednesday, killing at least five people and injuring dozens.
In the capital, hospital patients were evacuated and terrified people rushed outdoors.
The 7-magnitude quake was centred in a mountainous area of Abra province, said Renato Solidum, the head of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, who described the midmorning shaking as a major earthquake.
"The ground shook like I was on a swing and the lights suddenly went out. We rushed out of the office, and I heard screams and some of my companions were in tears," said Michael Brillantes, a safety officer of the Abra town of Lagangilang, near the epicentre.
"It was the most powerful quake I've felt and I thought the ground would open up," Brillantes told The Associated Press by cellphone.
At least five people died -- mostly in collapsed structures.
One villager died when hit by falling cement slabs in his house in Abra, where dozens of others were injured.
In Benguet province, a worker was pinned to death after a small building that was under construction collapsed in the strawberry-growing mountain town of La Trinidad.
Hundreds of houses and buildings had cracked walls, including some that collapsed in Abra, where President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who took office less than a month ago, planned to travel Thursday to meet victims and local officials.
Marcos Jr. told a news conference he was in his office at the riverside Malacanang presidential palace complex when the chandeliers began swaying and making clanking sounds.
PHILIPPINES: A 7.3 magnitude earthquake hit the Abra Province. 4 dead, dozens injured.
Praying for the Philippines from Israel.