Strong Earthquake Shakes Philippines

An earthquake of 6.9 magnitude rocked the Bicol region southeast of Manila late Monday, the U.S. Geological Survey said. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Philippine scientists put the preliminary magnitude at 6.5.

The quake was felt in Legazpi city in Albay province, site of the restive Mayon volcano, and southern Leyte province. There were unconfirmed reports of a power outage.

The quake hit at 10:11 p.m. with an epicenter in the ocean 114 miles northeast of Catarman in Northern Samar province, at a depth of 35 miles, said Ishmael Narag, head of the seismology section of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.

No tsunami warning was issued because of the depth of the quake, Narag said.

Edna Meregildo, a government social worker who lives in Catarman, said she was washing the dishes when the ground shook, followed by a power outage.

"It was quite strong. I exclaimed, 'God, please stop this,'" Meregildo told The Associated Press by telephone.

Arvin Unay, a staffer of Northern Samar's provincial disaster management unit, said the quake toppled a vase in his office but no damage was reported in his province.

Cedric Daep, an Albay provincial disaster-response official, said he ordered his men to check for possible landslides triggered by the quake in mountainous areas and in villages at the foot of Mayon volcano, but had heard of no immediate problems.