The quake struck north of Luzon Island, the country’s most populous island, at 8:43 a.m. local time (8:43 p.m. ET), according to the US Geological Survey. The agency determined the quake to be 7.1, before lowering it to 7.0.
The epicenter was about 13 kilometers (8 miles) southeast of the small town of Dolores, Abra County, with a depth of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles), according to the USGS.
The impact of the earthquake was felt in the capital, Manila, more than 400 kilometers (about 250 miles) away, as workers and residents were evacuated from buildings and gathered in the street.
The quake also triggered landslides, as images showed large boulders and boulders falling on a road in the town of Boko, south of the epicenter. Other photos show people clearing rubble.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said citizens should prepare for any aftershocks, but added that it had not issued any tsunami warnings because they were detected inland.
Abra is a landlocked region famous for its deep valleys and mountainous terrain.
In a statement, Representative Cheng Bernos, a member of Congress for Abra County, said the earthquake “caused damage to many homes and institutions,” and “was felt in different areas of Luzon and activated preventive measures in many places.”
Pictures from Abra show buildings damaged by the earthquake and debris covering the ground. One of the buildings is seen with cracks along the walls, while another is lying on its side.
Byrnos said her office was monitoring the situation and assessing the extent of the damage, urging residents to remain alert “in light of the potential aftershocks”.
Philippine President Ferdinand “Bong Bong” Marcos Jr. has ordered immediate rescue and relief teams to Abra, and will visit the affected areas once he “gets all clarity,” his press secretary said at a press conference on Wednesday.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled the position of Ching Pernus. She is a member of Congress from Abra Governorate.
Correction: An earlier version of this story got it wrong when the earthquake occurred. It was Wednesday in the Philippines.
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