THE magnitude 7.2 earthquake that hit Bohol and Cebu on Oct. 15, 2013 threw a curve at residents, but data from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) show that, in fact, sizeable earthquakes in the country aren’t unusual.
From 2011 to 2013 alone, the Philippines had 187 earthquakes at least 5.0 in magnitude, of which 18 were 6.0 to 6.9 in magnitude, and three at least 7.0 in magnitude.
Of the 21 quakes at least 6.0 in magnitude, five each occurred in Luzon and the Visayas, while 11 hit Mindanao.
Those with epicenter in the Visayas were the magnitude 6.2 earthquake west of Cauayan, Negros Occidental on July 12, 2011; the M6.9 and M6.2 temblors near Tayasan town, Negros Oriental on Feb. 6, 2012; the M7.6 temblor near Guiuan, Eastern Samar on Aug. 31, 2012; and the M7.2 temblor near Sagbayan, Bohol on Oct. 15, 2013.
The last four of these were felt strongly in Cebu. (See box of destructive earthquakes in the Philippines.)