Whenever the subject of travel to or residing in the Philippines comes into conversation, it’s inevitable that the topic will turn to safety, perhaps even focus there. So, what is it about safety that warrants so much attention? Well, the first thing that people say is terrorism, or crime. Are those a concern? Hey, I feel that no matter where you go in the world today, terrorism is something to consider! I do not feel that terrorism is any more of an issue in the Philippines compared to New York, Madrid or London.
There is an issue, though, that I believe should be considered when it comes to safety, actually, I think there are two related issues to consider. What are they?
Why are these issues so important? Well, remember that the Philippines sits right on top of the “Ring of Fire” that basically encircles the Pacific Ocean. This ring of fire is an area where seismic activity is very common, even likely. The map at left shows the Philippines. The darker red you see, the more likely a serious earthquake is. The area where I live is the second most dangerous when it comes to earthquakes.
Have there been serious quakes in the Philippines in recent history? You better believe that there have been! Let’s have a look at some significant events that have occurred:
- In 2004 there was a 6.5 magnitude quake in Mindoro.
- In 2003 there was a 6.5 magnitude quake in Samar.
- In 2002 there was a 7.5 magnitude quake here in Mindanao, resulting in 15 deaths.
- In 2001 there was a 7.5 magnitude quake here in Mindanao.
- In 1990 there was a 7.7 magnitude quake in Luzon, resulting in 1,621 deaths.
- In 1976 there was a 7.9 magnitude quake in Mindanao, resulting in 8,000 deaths.
Those are some serious events! During the 7.5 event in Mindanao in 2001, I experienced it! The quake happened at around 5am local time, and we were shook out of bed. Honestly, I thought I was going to die that day, it was that strong. After the quake, I drove around town to survey the damage, and a number of buildings fell, fences collapsed and such. It was a serious quake.
How about you, have you planned for this contingency if you decide to move here? It is something to take seriously. You and your family should probably have a plan together for what to do when an earthquake strikes.
How regular are earthquakes here? Well, here in Davao, I guess that I feel a quake at least once per month on average. There are many quakes that pass without being felt too.
I’ll have a look at volcanoes soon! That is perhaps an even bigger threat than earthquakes here in the Philippines!