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Twenty-two years ago today at exactly 4:26 p.m., the biggest and deadliest earthquake to date in Philippine history hit Baguio City and provinces around the Cordillera and Central Luzon.
Known as the 1990 Baguio City Earthquake, it measured 7.9 magnitude on the Richter scale in 45 seconds, killing an estimated 1,621 people and causing damages worth P15 billion in 1990.
The earthquake and the ensuing aftershocks covered a 125 kilometer area, running from Dingalan, Aurora to Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija.
An aftershock occurred two days later on July 18th with a 5.3 magnitude. The quake also destroyed buildings, including the Hyatt Hotel in Baguio where 80 died. Six of those who were rescued survived hunger and dehydration by drinking their own urine and rainwater.
The University of Baguio building reported 23 casualties and Christian College of the Philippines in Cabanatuan with 154 casualties.
A 20-year-old high school student named Robin Garcia was able to save trapped civilians during two attempts to rescue survivors from the rubble but was killed during the aftershock.
He has then been posthumously awarded by the Boy Scouts of the Philippines and late President Corazon Aquino’s Grieving Heart Award.
In history, however, the Philippines is not alien to hard-hitting earthquakes as it is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire.
Following the 1990 earthquake is the 2010 Mindanao Gulf earthquake with a magnitude of 7.6 which is part of a series of earthquakes during that day (August 17).
However, in 1976 an earthquake of magnitude 7.9 hit the Moro Gulf, killing 6,000 people by a tsunami. In 1968, a magnitude 7.3 earthquake hit Casiguran, Quezon, killing 270 people.