The earthquake triggered nearly 60 landslides and made highways and roads impossible in the northern Philippine region. At least three bridges in Abra province, the quake's epicenter, were damaged. The quake affected three northern Philippine regions, including 15 provinces, 15 cities, 218 municipalities, and 6,756 villages.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) said the epicenter was located at Tayum town, with a depth of 17 km. The tremor was felt in many areas at Luzon Island, including Metro Manila, where high-rise buildings swayed and train transport suspended operation.
In the capital region, panicked employees in offices, including the presidential palace, ran out of the buildings. Mayor of La Paz town in Abra province Joseph Bernos said the quake damaged many concrete houses, buildings and infrastructure in the province.
The tremor also caused damages to the century-old structures in Vigan City, in Ilocos Sur province, a tourist destination known for its preserved Spanish colonial and Asian architecture on the west coast of Luzon island.
Philippine President Marcos, who postponed his visit to the devastated region for Thursday, sent Social Welfare Secretary Erwin Tulfo to the quake-hit region to attend to the victims.
PHIVOLCS chief Renato Solidum warned the tectonic quake would trigger aftershocks and could cause damage such as landslides. He urged the people and the local government officials to be vigilant.
"Make sure to inspect the buildings for cracks and watch out for landslides, especially when it rains," he told a news conference, urging villagers to leave areas prone to landslides.
The Philippines has frequent seismic activity due to its location along the Pacific "Ring of Fire." In July, 1990, northern Luzon was shaken by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake that caused a 125-km-long ground rupture that stretched from Aurora province to Nueva Vizcaya, killing around 1,200 people and damaged scores of buildings and houses.