STORY: The 7.1 magnitude quake rattled the northern Philippine island of Luzon on Wednesday (July 27) morning, damaging homes and buildings, including heritage structures and centuries-old churches. Seismologists have since recorded close to 800 aftershocks.
"The earthquake was very strong, I can see buildings moving. Everything's moving, our plates were breaking, our lights were swaying. We were terrified. Even soft drinks in our fridge fell out because the tremor was so strong," said Elma Sia, 52, a resident of Vigan City known for its historical sites.
The Philippines is prone to natural disasters and is located on the seismically active Pacific "Ring of Fire," a band of volcanoes and fault lines that arcs round the edge of the Pacific Ocean. Earthquakes are frequent and there are an average of 20 typhoons each year, some triggering deadly landslides.