MANILA - A potentially destructive magnitude 5.5 quake rattled Leyte province and nearby areas, and triggered aftershocks before dawn on Monday, state seismologists said.
The tremor struck around 5 a.m., with its epicenter located 8 kilometers southeast of Leyte town, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said.
At a depth of 9 kilometers, the tectonic quake was felt at a "strong" intensity 5 in Leyte, Kananga, Capoocan, and Pastrana towns in Leyte; and Tacloban and Ormoc cities, said Phivolcs.
This intensity can make hanging objects swing violently and cause rocking felt throughout buildings, said the agency.
Intensity 4, which may feel like a passing of heavy truck, was reported in Leyte's Palo, Dulag, Babatngon, Alang-alang and Palompon towns; Mandaue and Cebu cities, and Naval in Biliran, added Phivolcs.
Intensity 3, which can cause nausea for some people, was felt in Lapu-lapu City and Lawaan, Eastern Samar, the agency said.
Phivolcs initially reported the tremor's magnitude at 5.7, which it later downgraded to 5.5.
The quake has triggered 5 aftershocks, with magnitudes between 1.4 and 3.1, as of 7 a.m., Phivolcs science research assistant Joel Oestra told ABS-CBN News.
The quake is expected to spawn damage, said Phivolcs.
The Philippines straddles the Pacific Ring of Fire, a belt that runs around the Pacific Ocean that is home to most of the world's active and dormant volcanoes and is where the vast majority of earthquakes occur.