Natural/Geophysical Hazards in the Philippines


Thunderstorm Protection Guide

  1. The best defense against thunderstorms is to stay inside a sturdy building or shelter that can protect you from deadly lightning, large hail, damaging winds, flooding rain, and tornadoes.
  2. Once in a shelter, stay away from windows and avoid electrical equipment and plumbing.
  3. Postpone outdoor activities until the storms have passed.
  4. If caught outside, take shelter in a sturdy enclosed building or hard top automobile immediately. Avoid open spaces, isolated objects, high ground, and metallic objects.
  5. Get out of boats and away from bodies of water. Remember, if you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning.
  6. If a tornado is spotted, act quickly and move to the lowest basement level of your shelter, putting as many walls between yourself and the outside as possible.
(Source: "Severe Thunderstorm Safety Rules." National Oceanic and Monospheric Administration - National Weather Service (NWS), 8 Sept. 2015,


Most Notorious Typhoons of the Philippines from 1970 to Present (Those typhoons labeled as "worst", "strongest", "deadliest", and "most destructive" among those that struck the Philippines from 1970 to present)
Name of typhoon Dates covered Maximum wind velocity (kph) Casualties Destruction caused
Dead Missing
Sening (Joan) to 275 768 Floods, flying debris, falling trees/posts and houses knocked down by very strong winds in the Bicol Region.
Titang (Kate) to 240 631 284 Storm surge, violent rains and winds brought death and injury to many residents of southern Mindanao.
Yoling (Patsy) to 150 611 Caused the collision between USS President Taft and Greek vessel Alikimon in Manila Bay; thousands of homes were destroyed or damaged.
Kading (Rita) to 220 200+ 354 Communication links and power supply were cut off in Manila and Southern Luzon; homes, infrastructure and agricultural crops were destroyed by torrential rains and violent wind gusts.
Anding (Irma) to 260 595 Storm surges and tidal waves hit 4 towns of Camarines Norte; flying debris and collapsing houses brought more deaths/injuries on affected areas.
Nitang (Ike) to 220 1363+ Floods and strong winds brought massive deaths and destruction of property in Northern Mindanao and Central Visayas especially Negros Occidental.
Undang (Agnes) to 230 895 Floods, powerful waves, and strong winds toppled houses, buildings, trees, and electric posts in the Visayas.
Gading (Peggy) to 220 422+ Landslides in Baguio and surrounding towns; drowning or electricution in floodwaters in parts of Northern/Central Luzon and Metro Manila
Unsang (Ruby) to 215 288 Thousands lost their homes, especially in Marikina, Metro Manila; passenger ferry MV Doña Marilyn sank in the Visayan Sea.
Sisang (Nina) to 240 929+ Storm surges; flash floods; ferocious winds carrying flying debris caused loss of lives or property in the Bicol Region, Marinduque, Oriental Mindoro, and Batangas.
Ruping (Mike) to 220 748 Floods, violent winds, and heavy rains in the Visayas; also caused the sinking if the ship MV Doña Roberta.
Uring (Thelma) to 95 5,101 3,000+ Floods and landslides in Samar, Leyte, Cebu, and Negros; worst hit was Ormoc City
Kadiang (Flo) to 130 576 Hit northern Philippines as a minimal typhoon; deaths due to heavy flooding
Rosing (Angela) to 260 936 Storm surge, floods, and landslides devastated Catanduanes, Quezon, Metro Manila, and Central Luzon.
Loleng (Babs) to 250 303 Floods and devastating winds in the Bicol area, Quezon, Polilio island, Nueva Ecija, and Pangasinan
Winnie (Tropical Depression) 55 1,600+ 751 Torrential rains, flooding, and landslide, especially in Central Luzon caused numerous deaths.
Milenyo (Xangsane) to 180 231 Several provinces in northern/central Luzon as well as Manila experienced overflowing rivers which caused widespread landslides and impassable roads, toppled trees and billboards, and stranded people/vehicles in ports and terminals.
Reming (Durian) to 320 1,399 Extensive flash floods, powerful winds/sea waves in Northern Samar, Bicol Region, and Quezon plus lahar in Albay.
Frank (Fengshen) to 172 938 87 Floods in Iloilo, Aklan, Capiz, and Antique; ferry MV Princess of the Stars capsized killing 846 out of 922 passengers.
Ondoy (Ketsana) to 130 464+ 37 Extensive flooding in Metro Manila and Central Luzon due to nonstop rains
Pepeng (Parma) to 120 492 Landslides in Baguio, Benguet, Mountain Province, Ifugao, and Abra; floods on Pangasinan and Ilocos Region; storm surges and floods in Cagayan
Sendong (Washi) to 95 1,439+ Flash floods caused by floodwaters rushing from mountainsides and swollen rivers; devastated Cagayan de Oro and Iligan, both coastal cities
Pablo (Bopha) to 259 1,901 Landslide in Andap, New Bataan, Davao de Oro
Yolanda (Haiyan) to 315 6,300 1,061 Massive destruction of lives and property caused by high-velocity and deadly winds, storm surges and flying debris especially in Samar and Leyte
TS Vinta (Tembin) 164 176 Tropical Storm Vinta (Tembin) triggered mudslides and flashfloods in the southern Philippines from 22 to 23 December 2017.
Ompong (Mangkhut) to 285 127 111 Landslides in the mining town of Itogon, Benguet


  • Flores, Marydel Mitch. "Top 15 Strongest Typhoons to Hit in the Philippines.", 8 Sept. 2017,
  • Sophie, Brown. "The Philippines Is the Most Storm-Exposed Country on Earth.", 11 Nov. 2013,
  • Warren, Professor James. "Typhoons in the Philippines: a historical overview." ArcGIS Online, History and Southeast Asian Studies Asia Research Centre, Accessed 24 July 2019.
  • "Typhoons in the Philippines." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc, 4 Mar. 2006, Accessed 24 July 2019.

Tropical Cyclone Protection Guide


  1. Monitor the news for weather updates, warning and advisories.
  2. Know the early warning and evacuation plan of the community.
  3. Check the integrity of your house and repair weak parts.
  4. Prepare your family's GO BAG containing items needed for survival.
  5. When notified, immediately go to the designated evacuation center.


  1. Stay calm. Stay indoors and tune in for latest news and weather updates.
  2. Turn off main electric switch and water valve.
  3. Use flashlight or emergency lamp. Be cautious in using candles and gas lamps.
  4. Stay away from windows.


  1. Wait for authorities that it is safe to return home.
  2. Stay way from fallen trees, damaged structures, and power lines.
  3. Do not go sightseeing as you may hinder the work of the emergency services.
  4. Be cautious in checking and repairing the damaged parts of your home.
  5. Check for wet or submerged electrical outlets and appliances before turning on electricity.
  6. Throw away rainwater in cans, pots, and tires to prevent breeding of mosquitoes.

Storm surge

Storm Surge Color-Coded Warning System (DOST-PAGASA)
Storm Surge Warning Level Expected height Action to be taken
Take action
above 3 meters Storm surge is catastrophic. There is significant threat to life. Mandatory evacuation is enforced.
1.1 to 3 meters Storm surge is expected. Conditions could become life-threatening.
0.5 to 1 meter Stay away from the coast or beach. Preparation measures must be carried out.
No alert
No action required.

Storm Surge Protection Guide

  1. Listen and follow the officials. Follow weather updates from PAGASA and other assisting government agencies via the radio, television, or internet.
  2. Be ready for the possibility of evacuating to a more elevated area or evacuation center even before the storm surge happens.
  3. Always be calm and composed. Prepare and bring the following with you: clothes, food and water, first aid kit, flashlight, and battery-operated radio.
  4. Evacuate to a more elevated place. Keep at least 500 meters distance from a flat coast if the storm will pass directly your area which will cause storm surge in your community.
  5. Before evacuating, search the house and fix its weak parts. Tightly close the windows and turn off the electrical main switch. Place your important belongings in a high place.
(Source: "What You Need to Remember About Storm Surges." Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines, Accessed 24 July 2019.)


Flood Protection Guide

Before the flood

  1. Find out how often your location is likely to be flooded.
  2. Know the flood warning system in your community and be sure your family knows it.
  3. Keep informed of daily weather condition.
  4. Designate an evacuation area for the family and livestock.
  5. Assign family members instructions and responsibilities according to an evacuation plan.
  6. Keep a stock of food which requires little cooking and refrigeration; electric power may be interrupted.
  7. Keep a transistorized radio and flashlight with spare batteries, emergency cooking equipment, candles, matches, and first aid kit handy in case of emergency.
  8. Store supplies and other household effects above expected flood water level.
  9. Securely anchor weak dwellings and items.

When warned of flood

  1. Watch for rapidly rising flood waters.
  2. Listen to your radio for emergency instructions.
  3. If you find it necessary to evacuate, move to a safe area before access is cut off by flood waters.
  4. Store drinking water in containers; water service may be interrupted.
  5. Move household belongings to upper levels.
  6. Get livestock to higher ground.
  7. Turn off electricity at the main switch in the building before evacuating and also lock your house.

During the flood

  1. Avoid areas subject to sudden flooding.
  2. Do not attempt to cross rivers of flowing streams where water is above the knee.
  3. Beware of water-covered roads and bridges.
  4. Avoid unnecessary exposure to the elements.
  5. Do not go swimming or boating in swollen rivers.
  6. Eat only well-cooked food. Protect leftovers against contamination.
  7. Drink clean or preferably boiled water only.

After the flood

  1. Re-enter the dwellings with caution using flashlights, not lanterns or torches. Flammables may be inside.
  2. Be alert for fire hazards like broken wires.
  3. Do not eat food and drink water until they have been checked for flood water contamination.
  4. Report broken utility lines (electricity, water gas, and telephone) to appropriate agencies/authorities.
  5. Do not turn on the main switch or use appliances and other equipment until they have been checked by a competent electrician.
  6. Consult health authorities for immunization requirements.
  7. Do not go in disaster areas. Your presence might hamper rescue and other emergency operations.


Major landslides in the Philippines (from 1991 to present)
Location Date Cause Casualties
Ormoc City, Leyte Mudslides and flashfloods carrying debris and trees caused by Tropical Storm Uring (Thelma) 6,000 people killed
Cherry Hills Subdivision, Antipolo City The heavy rains and Typhoon Ising (Olga) weakened the foundation of the subdivision which slid down the hill and caused houses to be toppled and buried under the landslide. 60 people died
San Ricardo and Liloan towns in Panaon Island, Southern Leyte A low pressure area triggered multiple landslides in Panaon Island. at least 160 people died
Real, Infanta, and General Nakar in Quezon province to early Tropical Depression Winnie brought continuous strong rains which made sand, thick mud, rocks/boulders, and felled trees travel down the Sierra Madre slopes, turning flood waters into thick mud. nearly 1,500 dead and missing
Guinsaugon, Saint Bernard, Southern Leyte Intense rainfall and a mild earthquake caused mountainside to collapse, turning it into an avalanche that buried the village of Guinsaugon. 139 dead and 973 missing and presumed dead
Bicol Region Volcanic ashes found on Mayon's slopes were washed down by intense rains of Typhoon Reming (Durian) turning these into lahar that rampaged into the villages at the foot of Mayon volcano, burying them. over 1,200 residents were killed – many of whom were missing and presumed dead
Napnapan, Pantukan, Davao de Oro Rainsoaked soil turned a hillside into a landslide which buried shanties and a bunkhouse for gold miners. 26 dead and 19 others reported missing
Cordillera Region Typhoon Pepeng (Parma) set off numerous landslides in Baguio City, Benguet, amd Mountain Province. at least 120 in Benguet, 25 in Baguio, 23 in Mountain Province
Pantukan, Davao de Oro Heavy rains and a mild earthquake caused a landslide burying the houses belonging to the miners. at least 128 died and 450 went missing
Catbalogan, Samar and 2 towns in Leyte Strong rains induced by Tropical Storm Seniang (Jangmi) caused multiple landslides that buried houses. 10 in Samar and at least 9 in Leyte died
Naval/Caibiran/Almeria towns in Biliran Tropical Storm Urduja (Kai-tak) produced continuous rains that led to a number of landslides in the province. at least 42 died; 14 went missing
Itogon, Benguet Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut) caused a massive landslide that buried residents alive while they were sleeping. at least 58 dead
Naga City, Cebu Heavy monsoon rains and, as claimed by affected residents, the quarrying operations going on near the site of the landslide 29 killed
Natonin, Mountain Province Typhoon Rosita (Yutu) brought powerful rains that triggered many landslides in the area, the largest of which buried, among others, 3 government buildings where workers sought refuge. 7 bodies retrieved and 21 others are still missing and believed to be dead
Bicol Region Tropical Depression Usman brought widespread flooding and several landslides in the region. NDRRMC data: 105 deaths broken down into: Albay (18), Camarines Sur (57), Camarines Norte (15), Sorsogon (8), Masbate (7)


  1. Bueza, Michael. "LIST: Deadly Landslides in the Philippines." Rappler, 22 Sept. 2018,
  2. Agoot, Liza. "No More Signs of Life; 21 Still Missing in Natonin Landslide." Philippine News Agency, 2 Nov. 2018,
  3. DOST-PHIVOLCS official website
  4. Bagayaua-Mendoza, Gemma. "After the Storm." Rappler, 31 Jan. 2005,
  5. Pagulong, Charmie Joy. "History of Landslides in Compostela Valley." The Philippine Star, 6 Jan. 2012,
  6. Tomacruz, Sofia. "NDRRMC: At Least 122 Dead Due to Tropical Depression Usman." Rappler, 3 Jan. 2019,
  7. Lagmay, A.M.A., "Scientists Investigate Recent Philippine Landslide." Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union. vol. 87, no. 12, 21 March 2006. pp. 121. 124.

Landslide Protection Guide


  1. Know the landslide risk in your area.
  2. Learn about the types and signs of landslides common in your area.
  3. Know your community's landslide evacuation plans.
  4. Gather supplies in case you have to leave immediately or if services are cut off. Keep in mind each person's specific needs, including medication.
  5. Avoid building in areas at risk for a landslide, such as steep slopes or property close to cliffs, or near drainage ways or streams.
  6. Plant ground cover and build walls to direct the mudflow around buildings.
  7. Keep important documents in a safe place.


  1. Monitor the area for signs of potential slide activity. These can include cracks or bulges in the ground, street pavement or sidewalks; soil moving away from foundations; broken water lines or leaning telephone poles, trees, or fences.
  2. Evacuate an area immediately after authorities tell you to. Signs of a landslide may not be visible, but the danger still exists.
  3. Watch for flooding. Floods sometimes follow landslides because they may be started by the same event.
  4. Listen to national or local alerting systems for current emergency information and instructions.


  1. Listen to authorities to find out if it is safe to return home.
  2. Save phone calls for emergencies. Phone systems are often down or busy after a disaster. Use text messages or social media to communicate with family and friends.
  3. Stay away from downed power lines and report them immediately.


Earthquake Protection Guide

Before – Know the hazards in your area.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the following:
    • Fire extinguisher
    • Medical kit
    • Exit routes
    • Evacuation plan
  2. Check your house and have it repaired if necessary.
  3. Store harmful chemicals and flammable materials properly.
  4. Secure heavy furniture and hanging objects.
  5. Prepare your family's GO BAG containing items needed for survival.
  6. Participate in office and community earthquake drills.

During – When inside a building, stay calm and duck, cover, and hold.

  1. Duck under a strong table and hold on to it. Stay alert for potential threats.
  2. Stay away from glass windows, shelves, and heavy objects.
  3. After the shaking stops, exit the building and go to designated evacuation area.

When you are outside, move to an open area.

  1. Stay away from buildings, trees, electric posts, and landslide-prone areas.
  2. If you're in a moving vehicle, stop and exit the vehicle.

After – Stay alert for aftershocks.

  1. Assess yourself and others for injuries. Provide first aid if necessary.
  2. Prioritize the needs of older people, pregnant women, PWDs and children.
  3. If in a coastal area and there is a threat of a tsunami, evacuate to higher ground immediately.
  4. Check for spills of toxic and flammable chemicals.
  5. Stay out of the building until advised that it is safe to return.
  6. Check for damages in water and electrical lines, and gas or LPG leaks.


Natural Signs of an Approaching Tsunami

  1. A felt earthquake
  2. Unusual sea level change
  3. Rumbling sound of approaching waves
(Source: "Introduction to Tsunami." PHIVOLCS, Accessed 24 July 2019.)
Recent Tsunamis in the Philippines (from the 1960's to present)
Date of occurrence Places hit Maximum Wave Height (m) Deaths Cause
Coastal areas facing the Pacific Ocean 1.5 21 Magnitude 9.5 earthquake in southern Chile (called Valdivia earthquake)
Areas bordering Taal Lake in Batangas 4.7 355 Taal volcano eruption
Casiguran, Aurora 0 1 Magnitude 7.3 earthquake in Casiguran, Aurora
Calauag/Lopez/Guinayangan, Quezon province 1.3 0 Magnitude 7.0 earthquake in Ragay Gulf
cities/provinces along the coast of Moro Gulf especially Pagadian City 9 4,381 7.9 magnitude earthquake in Moro Gulf, Mindanao
Davao Oriental/Surigao del Sur, eastern Mindanao 6 0 2 large earthquakes, separated only by 26 minutes, off the eastern coast of Mindanao along the Philippine Trench with magnitudes 7.1 and 7.5
Baco and Verde Islands plus coastal places of north-eastern Mindoro 7.3 30 7.1 magnitude earthquake in Mindoro
Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani provinces 3 0 7.5 magnitude Palimbang earthquake


  1. Article entitled '"Prepare for Tsunami," urges USec Solidum.' DOST-PHIVOLCS official website
  2. "Tsunamis in the Philippines.", Accessed 24 July 2019.
  3. "1973 March 17 Ms7.0 Ragay Gulf Earthquake." PHIVOLCS, Accessed 24 July 2019.
  4. Besana, G. M., et. al. "The May 17, 1992 earthquake in southeastern Philippines." Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 31. 30 December 2004.

Tsunami Protection Guide

  1. All earthquakes do not cause tsunamis, but many do. When you know that an earthquake has occurred, stand by for a tsunami emergency message.
  2. An earthquake in your area is one of nature's tsunami warning signals. Do not stay in low-lying coastal areas after a strong earthquake has been felt.
  3. Tsunamis are sometimes preceded by a noticeable fall in sea level as the ocean retreats seaward exposing the seafloor. A roar like an oncoming train may sometimes be heard as the tsunami wave rushes toward the shore. These are also nature's warning signals.
  4. A tsunami is not a single wave, but a series of waves carrying a massive volume of water that can flood and inundate land for hours. The first wave may not be the largest. Stay out of danger areas until an "all-clear" is issued by a recognized authority.
  5. A small tsunami at one point on the shore can be extremely large a few kilometers away. Don't let the modest size of one make you lose respect for all.
  6. All warnings to the public must be taken very seriously, even if some are for non-destructive events.
  7. All tsunamis are potentially dangerous, even though they may not damage every coastline they strike.
  8. Never go down to the shore to watch for a tsunami. When you can see the wave, you are too close to outrun it. Most tsunamis are like flash floods full of debris. Tsunami waves typically do not curl and break, so do not try to surf a tsunami.
  9. Sooner or later, tsunamis visit every coastline in the Pacific and all oceans. If you live in a coastal area, be prepared and know nature's tsunami warning signals.
  10. During a tsunami emergency, your local civil defense, police, and other emergency organizations will try to save your life. Give them your fullest cooperation.
(Source: "Safety Rules." International Tsunami Information Center (ITIC)/A UNESCO/IOC-NOAA Partnership (Hawaii), Accessed 24 July 2019.)


Volcano Eruption Protection Guide

Before the eruption

  1. Know your area's risk from volcanic eruption.
  2. Ask local emergency management for evacuation plans, and for potential means of protection from ash.
  3. Learn about community warning systems.
  4. Get necessary supplies in advance in case you have to evacuate immediately, or if services are cut off. Keep in mind each person's specific needs, including medication. Do not forget the needs of pets.
  5. Keep important documents in a safe place.

During the eruption

  1. Listen to alerts. Follow evacuation orders from local authorities. Evacuate early.
  2. Avoid areas downwind, and river valleys downstream, of the volcano. Rubble and ash will be carried by wind and gravity.
  3. Take temporary shelter from volcanic ash where you are if you have enough supplies. Cover ventilation openings and seal doors and windows.
  4. If outside, protect yourself from falling ash that can irritate skin and injure breathing passages, eyes, and open wounds. use well-fitting, certified facemask.
  5. Avoid driving in heavy ashfall.

After the eruption

  1. Listen to authorities to find out when it is safe to return after eruption.
  2. Send text messages or use social media to reach out to family and friends. Phone systems are often busy after a disaster.
  3. Avoid driving in heavy ash. Driving will stir up volcanic ash that can clog engines and stall vehicles.
  4. If you have any breathing problems, avoid contact with ash. Stay indoors until authorities say it is safe to go outside.
  5. Do not get on your roof to remove ash unless you have guidance or training. If you have to remove ash, then be very careful as ash makes surfaces slippery. Be careful not to contribute additional weight to an overloaded roof.
(Source: "Volcanoes.", Official website of the Department of Homeland Security, Accessed 24 July 2019.)
(Back to top)