DAVAO, Philippines – A 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck off Davao Occidental on Saturday, triggering panics among locals very early in the morning.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said the earthquake that struck at 4:23 a.m. in the municipality of Sarangani, Davao Occidental had a depth of 57 kilometers and was tectonic in origin.
The quake prompted the government to release a tsunami advisory, advising the public to be alert for unusual waves.
In Davao City, the earthquake was felt at intensity 4 level.
“I was awakened by the feeling that I was in a rocking cradle,” Suzette Dispo told Pinoy Legacy. “When I heard the clanging of the wine glasses, that’s when I realized it was an earthquake. I had to gather my kids right away scared that it could grow stronger,” she added.
Myrna Tioaquen, 37, said she scampered down the house with her husband Jojo and their two kids in panic.
“I could not remember for sure how we got downstairs that fast. The quake woke all of us and sent us outside right away,” she said.
In the advisory, Phivolcs said coastal areas in provinces facing the Celebes Sea are expected to experience wave heights of less than one meter above the normal tide levels. It also said that the first tsunami waves were expected between 4:28 a.m and 5:23 a.m and that it may continue for hours.
Intensity 5 was felt in General Santos City; Koronadal City; Santa Maria, Jose Abad Santos, Don Marcelino, Balot Island, Davao Occidental; Polomolok, Tupi, South Cotabato; Alabel, Malapatan, Glan, Sarangani; Palimbag, and Sultan Kudarat.
Meanwhile, aside from Davao City, intensity 4 was felt also in Cotabato City, Zamboanga City. Intensity 3 was felt in Cagayan De Oro City and intensity 2 in Kidapawan City.
Tsunami Advisory Cancelled
In another advisory issued at 6:54 a.m. Saturday, Phivolcs canceled its tsunami alert saying “there is no longer a tsunami threat for this event.”
According to the advisory, the occurrence of sea level disturbance was confirmed by records of the Sarangani sea level monitoring station showing a drop of approximately 30cm and a maximum rise of approximately 10cm wave height relative to normal sea level.
It added that the continuing sea level fluctuations in the area associated with this event will no longer exceed the recorded wave height.
“This will be the final tsunami information issued for this…,” Phivolcs further stated.
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