On Wednesday morning, a strong earthquake hit northern Philippines. The tremor was initially classified as Magnitude 7.3 with the epicenter recorded in Tayum, Abra according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs). Later, it was revised to a Magnitude 7.0 tremor. Footage of the destruction to households, streets, establishments, and even world heritage sites in the north circulated online.
Bantay Bell Tower crumbles
A netizen captured this video of Bantay Bell Tower in Ilocos Sur swaying and crumbling from the quake while tourists run away from the centuries-old church belfry.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites damaged
Structures damaged in UNESCO World Heritage Site of Vigan, Ilocos Sur after the magnitude 7.2 earthquake earlier this morning. Photo from Arlene Alegre Gajeton. pic.twitter.com/TX55TQ6Ean
— Berniemack Arellano (@habagatcentral) July 27, 2022
Early photos from Vigan residents showed how other UNESCO World Heritage Sites fared. In Ilocos Norte, Sen. Imee Marcos confirmed that a few heritage sites were damaged: Sarrat Church, Laoag Bell Tower, Sarrat Heritage Municipal Hall, Vigan Calle Real houses, and other properties.
More damage to Vigan City
— Empress K (@EmpressKxxx) July 27, 2022
This video showed what the quake did to a grocery store 45 kilometers from Vigan City. Almost all the products toppled over and fell on the floor.
More photos of post-earthquake Vigan being circulated via Messenger. Images are forwarded many times it’s difficult to name a taker, except ctto.
But can confirm: those streets are Vigan’s.
— Ash Presto 💜 (@sosyolohija) July 27, 2022
Photos passed around in messaging apps and social media showed ruined houses, damaged cars, and roads blocked with debris.
The impact in Abra, the quake epicenter
Abra Rep. Ching Bernos shared initial photos of the destruction in the province: fallen properties, cracks in establishments, damage to vehicles, streets, and more. According to reports, as of 1 P.M. on July 27, one Abra resident died from a fallen slab in his house and 25 others are injured.
The destruction in Baguio
The quake was categorized as Intensity V in Baguio. It lasted for a few minutes causing dangerous landslides in some areas. Authorities had to close Kennon Road, Benguet-Vizcaya Road, and Benguet-Bua-Itogon Road to traffic for fear of even more landslides.
In Baguio City, stores, properties, and roads were affected. Mayor Benjamin Magalong also ordered the cancellation of work and classes at all levels.
This footage at Baguio Public Market showed products scattered on the floor and merchants weeping in the background.
Certain areas in La Trinidad, Benguet were also severely impacted. The Bureau of Fire Protection had to issue a retrieval and rescue operation to save residents from the rubble. Unfortunately, reports say that a construction worker in Barangay Buyagan in La Trinidad perished from falling debris from a building. Combined with the casualty in Abra, the earthquake has now claimed two lives.
Baguio residents couldn’t help but recall the violent July 16, 1990 Luzon earthquake that caused devastating damage to the city. That quake had lasted for 45 seconds, destroying structures and taking the lives of 1,621 individuals. As of this writing, at least one person has been reported dead after this recent earthquake.
In La Union, locals observed high water levels
Residents in La Union had to evacuate after authorities noticed a recession in water levels along the coast. Some captured footage of a high wave surge in Luna, La Union carrying with it small boats anchored along the shore. Later, however, authorities clarified that there is no tsunami threat to the area.
Meanwhile, in NCR, buildings were evacuated
LOOK: After a magnitude 7.3 quake, some residents of a condominium in Quezon City stay outside.
Pet owners also secure their dogs. pic.twitter.com/aFNjHziRoD
— Reiniel Pawid (@PawidReiniel) July 27, 2022
Cities in the National Capital Region also felt the shake which prompted evacuation from high-rise condominiums, schools, and other establishments. Authorities ordered the suspension of operations for MRT-3, LRT-1, and LRT-2.
Officials, faculty, staff, and clients inside the PUP Main Campus evacuate to designated areas.
Thomasians gather outside the buildings.
Patients and employees in hospitals in Manila forced to evacuate.
Employees at a BPO company in Quezon City evacuate to the streets.
Did you feel the Magnitude 7.0 earthquake?